Our Research

Research is at the heart of our work and one of our core principles. Research allows us to understand and learn. We have over ten years’ experience of translating what the research tells us about building resilience into practical ways to use the learning in and around schools. 

View findings on PRP

A team of psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States developed a curriculum called The Penn Resilience Programme (PRP). PRP builds resilience and promotes realistic thinking, adaptive coping skills and social problem solving in children, and has been extensively evaluated in over 25 controlled studies. It refreshingly came to the UK with a strong evidence base when compared to other programmes of the same type and length. PRP has been taught in the UK for the past 10 years. Research in the UK found similar results to preceding findings.

  • Secondary School Findings

    The UK findings of the 3-year study involving 4000 pupils, taught universally (not targeted) at 21 secondary schools in Manchester, South Tyneside and Hertfordshire.

    The quantitative work found a significant improvement in:

    • pupils’ depression symptom scores
    • school attendance rates
    • academic attainment in English
    • anxiety scores
    • maths attainment concentrated in a few groups of pupils
    • anti-bullying

    The impact varied by pupil characteristics with a larger impact for:

    • pupils entitled to free school meals
    • those who had not attained the national targets at Key Stage 2
    • those who had worse initial symptoms of depression or anxiety
    • teachers were extremely positive about the ideas underlying the programme and about the training they had received. Most reported that they used the skills themselves
    • pupils were positive about the programme and were using the PRP skills in real life situations
  • Primary School Findings

    The UK findings from three Hertfordshire primary schools are in line with other studies – pupils’ wellbeing and behaviour were improved as a result of PRP. Results are as follows:

    • significant improvement in pupils’ depression symptom scores
    • significant improvement on the anxiety scores
    • suggestion that the depression and anxiety improvements were slighter better for girls than boys
    • a sizeable positive impact on behaviour scores for both boys and girls
    • the results did not show an impact on prosocial behaviour

    Teaching the PRP curriculum once won’t see this impact last forever.  The research illustrated this point at the 3 year follow up. This is in-line with findings in similar programmes/interventions monitored beyond a 3 month follow up.  We are realistic about the need for reinforcement because, like any good habits, you need reminding of them. That said, we see real value in these significant, yet relatively, short term outcomes. They enable young people to develop self-efficacy, manage early difficulties, build empathy and peer support. Furthermore, the skills decrease the risk of mental illness.

    Become a PRP teacher

    The full research report on the PRP in the UK is available online

Healthy Minds

The national research project Healthy Minds examined how students can be helped to develop emotional resilience and self-efficacy alongside their academic development. Healthy Minds is a four-year curriculum that provides lesson materials each week from years 7 to 10. The curriculum covers topics focusing on important resilience skills, an understanding and awareness of the usage of social media, mental illness, parenting and the practice of mindfulness. The project finished in July 2018. The educational trial shows how personal, social, health subjects can be taught successfully. The results of a trial show that the Healthy Minds curriculum increases pupils’ satisfaction with their lives as much as when an adult finds a life partner. The new curriculum was launched at the House of Commonsby Lord Richard Layard, on Thursday 29 November.

Bounce Forward directed the project, working with Lord Richard Layard, Professor John Coleman and the PSHE Association. With funding from the Education Endowment Foundation. The research was jointly led by the London School of Economics (LSE) and the National Institute for Economic and Social Research. The interim paper can be viewed here with the final paper that will include the impact results on academic attainment, will be ready in 2020.

The study tracked 11,000 students and schools involved in the study taught Healthy Minds as part of the core curriculum. The results come at an important time with new policy directives such as the proposals to make Health Education (including teaching mental resilience), and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) statutory in secondary schools from 2020. And, Ofsted’s focus in the updated inspection framework on personal development. 

We will be supporting schools who want to follow the curriculum, either as a whole or using individual elements to respond to the need in their school.


A Case Study using the PRP in transition to Secondary School

Download the case study provided by Monk’s Walk, a secondary school in Hertfordshire with creative PRP Teachers. They designed and delivered a successful session as part of their transition day that illustrates the opportunities for using the skills and knowledge of the PRP beyond the lessons.

View video made by teachers

“Healthy Minds is the most ambitious life-skills curriculum in the world!”

Lord Richard Layard

London School of Economics

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