October 9, 2023
Are you considering joining the Wellbeing Ambassadors programme but feeling unsure if it's right for you? If so, we understand and want to help alleviate your concerns. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common worries that teachers, school principals and pastoral leaders have about becoming a Wellbeing Ambassadors programme facilitator. With detailed advice from those already in the programme, as well as tips on how to get started and succeed, we'll explore how joining this innovative scheme can be beneficial to both you and your students.
Our Wellbeing Ambassadors Programme has been created by psychologists and is grounded in evidence-based approaches from the field of positive and coaching psychology to improving young people's wellbeing and preventing mental health problems. It has been developed with and for children and young people, drawing upon direct partnership work with mental health support teams schools and settings.
Feedback from young people is positive, with many reporting that the programme is effective and helpful.
“Being a wellbeing ambassador has genuinely changed me as a person. Before the project I couldn’t imagine anything worse than talking to an audience or to strangers. Now, I take an active role in student voice programmes such as a school council and I regularly speak in public and to strangers. During exam season I used the tools and techniques to help relax myself and stop myself getting too stressed.”
We have created a diagram to help explain our programme's impact on the ambassadors themselves, their peers and the wider school community. The programme works to develop skills for wellbeing that build positive peer relationships, and create a sense of belonging and connection to school that protects mental health. The programme explicitly teaches coping skills that improve mental wellbeing, coping and resilience and help prevent stress
For more detail on the impact of the Wellbeing Ambassadors Programme download our Free Impact Report.
One of the major reasons why schools or settings join the Wellbeing Ambassadors programme is to save them time in resource development so they can quickly get a programme up and running and make a difference to pupils. In order to deliver the programme facilitators undertate online training in how to understand, run and embed the programme.
To support you to feel confident to deliver the programme directly to children and young people programme you access is a short online training programme. The training facilitators undergo takes around 2.5 hours to complete, there is also some time required to read and look at the materials and resources. This trains you in how to deliver a workshop to a group of young people, this workshop is designed to be 3- 5 hours long depending on the ages or needs of the pupils.
Once trained we advise you to meet with your ambassadors on a regular basis, this varies between school or setting and can be as often once a week for around half an hour. We recommend you meet up with your team of ambassadors a minimum of once every half term to help the programme maintain momentum and ensure your ambassadors are supported.
We understand that the Wellbeing Ambassadors programme may seem like a significant time commitment, but we have created it to allow you to invest approximately 2.5 hours initially to complete the online training and access the resources. This investment of time will ultimately save you a significant amount of time in the future, here's how.
The current shortage of staff time and capacity in schools is a significant problem. Low-level disruptions and behaviour incidents often lead to teacher time and workload issues. These issues can be linked in many cases to the limited capacities of the students to deal with day to day stresses of school life. To help schools address this, training groups of students to provide peer support and share wellbeing strategies can increase the capacity to alleviate many low-level wellbeing issues such as friendship fallouts, misunderstandings, lack of confidence, as well as day-to-day worries and upsets.
The online training has been designed to be worked through step by step in bitesize chunks, with a series of short videos that are supported by an in-depth facilitators manual that explains how to deliver every activity and resource in the programme in detail. You can literally pick up the programme and start delivering it.
Georgina Walker from Burley Oaks Primary recently completed the training and gave us this feedback on her concerns prior to starting the programme
It was just the time really because it's so busy in school at the moment with needs cropping off and my job is to be there when the children need me. And so I was thinking, this is going to be tricky, but actually, it was just one of those things where you just have to set the time aside, get on with it, and it has to be worth it because we've got this team [of Ambassadors] here now.
We put all our best ideas, practical resources, tools and simple strategies into two different versions of the Wellbeing Ambassadors programme. Providing simple solutions that help you learn how to offer a structured peer-to-peer support programme for children or young people.
Both primary or adolescent versions of the programme draw on the same underpinning evidence-based frameworks for developing wellbeing based on positive psychology and coaching.
The two different versions of the Wellbeing Ambassadors programme have been developed differently as the wellbeing needs of children and young people vary depending on their age and developmental stage. Both programmes have been co-produced with schools and children/young people to ensure the programme is appropriate and beneficial.
The adolescent or secondary aged version of the programme has been developed for young people 13+ and focuses on developing positive relationships, reducing barriers to accessing support for mental health, reducing mental health stigma and developing positive coping strategies that improve wellbeing and manage stress. The programme trains young people to be effective communicators and act as role models for their peers.
The primary version is aimed at primary-aged children between the ages of 5-11. The programme includes core resources that focus on developing positive emotions, self-awareness, confidence and communication skills plus additional build activities for older children and practical creative and fun activities to share with younger children.
We suggest you choose the programme based on the ages of the children or young people that will be using the programme.
We offer a Specialist Support package to run the programme for you. This package includes everything available in the practitioner programme, either primary or secondary versions, plus expert help from our team of psychologists and consultants. Schools usually choose this package for three reasons.
However, this may not be feasible due to budgets and we have designed our Wellbeing Ambassadors programme as a train-the-trainer programme so that schools learn how to run the training themselves using our resources and support.
One of the main advantages of the train-the-trainer model is its ability to efficiently teach new knowledge and skills to many students for several years. Additionally, it provides a valuable chance for the professional growth of the staff taking part in programme delivery. However, there are other benefits to this training model that your school can benefit from.
Internal Wellbeing Ambassador facilitators know your school's community and culture, along with how the programme fits in with the ongoing work you are doing to develop school mental health and wellbeing. This knowledge allows staff to tailor the content of the programme to meet the school's needs and fit with wider strategic plans and objectives.
Providing ongoing professional development is highly appreciated by school staff. By learning how to deliver the Wellbeing Ambassadors program, staff can gain confidence in facilitating wellbeing and mental health programmes while also developing professionally. After finishing the online training, facilitators can download a training certificate for their professional development records. When facilitating the workshop for students, facilitators have a chance to practice coaching skills taught in the program's structure and approach.
Here is feedback from one of our Wellbeing Ambassador Facilitators
“The privilege of working with kind, selfless and hardworking young people and proudly being their voice and champion. Learning new skills and tools to share across the school community that will continue to give over the school years.Being part of a hardworking and passionate team, striving for positive change and working at reducing the stigma of mental health that we still experience today.”
Providing training to make subject matter experts of your staff - who can then pupils as much as you want for three years- is much cheaper than hiring us to provide this training each year. We have also designed our programme to provide access for two members of staff which can be easily changed if someone leaves or changes role.
For us, it helps us have a greater legacy and reach as our programme has trained Wellbeing Ambassadors in over 120 schools and 9 countries around the world an impact we could never have if we still ran the programme going into schools ourselves.
The most popular programme option is the Practitioner Programme which costs £895 +VAT for primary and £995+VAT for secondary-aged pupils. This provides access for three years for two people from each school. Here are some sums to demonstrate value for money based on the secondary version cost of £995
£995 ÷ 3 years = £331.66
£995 ÷ 3 years = £331.66
£331.66 ÷ 2 facilitators = £165.83
£995 ÷ 3 years = £331.66
£331.66 ÷ 16 students = £20.72
*many more than 16 students can be trained, this is a recommended minimum not a maximum.
If these 16 students then improve school culture for all students and you have 1000 students currently in your school the cost will be 0.33 pence per student per year! (This is a bit of a rough costing but it illustrates the cost-effectiveness of the programme)
One of the main inspirations for how the programme has been designed is directly from student feedback. We used to run the programme ourselves in schools and leave schools to continue their own Wellbeing Ambassadors project, in some cases due to the business of secondary schools and logistical issues some just lost momentum and didn't go much beyond the training workshop for the students. This not only disappointed the students but didn't have the desired impact and was not a cost-effective use of school funding or time.
When staff are trained to facilitate the programme themselves they have ownership, since your staff have learned how to run the programme and have trained the pupils themselves they will be invested in it being successful so it has a wide-reaching impact which becomes sustained over time.
The standard approach to the train-the-trainer model means that facilitators within your school are given training and then deliver that same training to students. This means that the same skills and information will be disseminated and learned by different co-horts of students, for example, one school we worked with trained over 70 Wellbeing Ambassadors in 3 co-horts in the first year of their programme.
The school or setting that purchased the programme is the licence holder. Each school or setting purchasing either specialist support or practitioner programmes will have two facilitator licences. These can be transferred to other staff members with a click of a button. This will transfer the login details to another member of staff who can complete the online training and access all the materials start working through the online learning and ‘take over’ the programme.
Our aim is that schools implement the Wellbeing Ambassadors programme and integrate it into school ethos over multiple school years. To support this the programme is accessible for an initial period of three years.
Three-year access provides schools and settings with the opportunity to truly develop an effective peer-to-peer support intervention over time, so it becomes truly embedded in your setting and an integral part of targeted support for mental health.
As your programme evolves you can train up several cohorts of students to become ambassadors. These ambassadors then can support you to recruit and train cohorts of peers in order to embed a culture of wellbeing across the school. You can run the ambassadors programme as many times as you like to as many students as you like as long as you retain your licence.
The aim of the programme is to create a generation of wellbeing ambassadors who are able to support their peers and promote positive mental health throughout the school community even if some of your first cohort of ambassadors leave during the three-year period.
Although Wellbeing Ambassadors is mainly delivered in primary or secondary schools, you can be confident that the programme is perfectly tailored for children's, youth and young people's organisations, youth groups, or local authorities. The coaching approach underpinning the programme and flexible delivery options enables them to create projects for Wellbeing Ambassadors in their own settings, while fostering better mental health among youth outside of the school environment.
The Wellbeing Ambassadors Programme is a powerful initiative which can truly make a difference to preventing mental health problems in your setting. As mentioned throughout the blog post, there are many considerations and worries that come with any kind of programme like this – but do not let those concerns prevent you from joining and being part of something amazing!
Joining this programme is undoubtedly a great opportunity that could truly benefit a child or young person's life as well as their school or setting. So don't hesitate to join the Wellbeing Ambassadors Programme here today - you won't regret it!
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