Image of primary school pupils sat down

How to Build Resilience Through the Primary Curriculum

By Georgina Frost, Principal of Park Hall Academy and Michelle Johnstone, Lead for School Improvement for The Orchard Community Trust

As members of the Headteachers’ Prevent Board in Stoke-on-Trent, we recognise the importance of equipping children with the skills and tools they need to maintain a positive mindset when faced with challenges in their lives. We aim to ensure all children across our city and beyond see their futures as being full of possibilities. Together we build inclusive and caring communities, where every child is valued and understands that they are special and important. In turn, our children learn to value themselves and others, recognising their responsibilities towards one another.

Our primary curriculum builds resilience across our diverse communities by:

  • building positive relationships within and beyond our school communities.
  • promoting shared values to create a sense of purpose and belonging.
  • creating a safe and nurturing environment where children are able to be inquisitive and their voice is heard.
  • fostering curiosity, providing opportunities to discuss challenging questions about the world around us.
  • educating our children to know we are all unique and enabling children to develop an adaptive response to change and challenge.

Using the Prevent Audit tool (a self-assessment tool created for our City by the Board to aid compliance with the Prevent Duty), we were able to identify many areas of good practice across our schools. It was important for us to be able to share our learnings with educators in a creative way to ensure children across Stoke-on-Trent benefit from the sharing of best practice. This has included a multi-academy trust creating a parliament, with elected representatives from each school being able to network and discuss ideas, and another school hosting a ‘faith trail day’ with pupils visiting different places of worship and having talks from faith leaders.

With the support of school leaders across Stoke-on-Trent, we created a video to showcase innovative practice. This has allowed schools to share their ideas and use the video as a training resource to support an individual school’s journey in building resilience.

We hope the video will become a series of resources to support educators in their drive to create confident, resilient and respectful communities in Stoke and beyond.

The Stoke-on-Trent Headteachers’ Prevent Board was established in 2015 as a unique collaborative partnership and is the first group of its kind in the country. The focus of the group is teacher directed improvement and development of the Prevent strategy within the City’s schools, colleges and alternative and specialist providers.

Next steps:

  • Check out British Values Games – a set of three lessons on fundamental British values which aims to build resilience for KS1 pupils.
  • Visit Getting on Together – a programme of lessons for KS2 which help to promote tolerance and fundamental British values.

Please note, the resources above and any associated products have not been produced by DfE. Schools should always assess resources produced by external agencies carefully to ensure they are in line with your school’s policies.

Popular Resources

Debating can enable young people to engage with a broad range of social, scientific and ethical issues facing society today. It can provide students with the opportunity to learn how to argue and defend points of view. Debating Matters provides guides and resources for setting up debate clubs in schools, together with details on the Institute of Ideas’ National Debating Matters Competition.

A 15-hour programme of creative activities for young people to develop awareness, skills and knowledge related to democracy and voting, thereby supporting the promotion of British values. It is likely to be most effective when used with young people whose engagement with politics and the democratic process is relatively low, but who have some interest in social and community issues and who care about making a positive change in their communities and beyond. The programme helps to make ideas about democracy accessible. Information and activities can be adapted so they are relevant and appropriate for each group of young people.

Through a series of hard-hitting films of real people affected by radicalisation, Extreme Dialogue enables teachers to show young people all the faces of extremism. It equips young people to challenge extremism, helping them navigate core themes and questions using films, educational resources and training. Videos are accompanied by interactive presentations (Prezis). The downloadable resources are all modular and are informed by more than 20 years of research and experience in managing global and community conflict. The seven true stories include a mother whose son died fighting in Syria and a former member of a far-right terrorist group. You will need to give your email address to Extreme Dialogue when downloading the below resources.

Magistrates visit schools, colleges and community groups to discuss how our justice system works, including how verdicts and sentences are decided. Teams of magistrates give a presentation and discuss a range of topics, including how magistrates are appointed, what kind of cases they deal with, how guilt or innocence is decided and sentencing when guilt is established. The presentations are tailored to suit different audiences and requirements. These visits can support schools in promoting fundamental British values by giving students the opportunity to learn about and engage with the rule of law.