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‘Development Squad’ Improves St Stephen’s Pupils’ Resilience

20 January 2022

Pupils at St Stephen’s Primary School have been developing their personal qualities through the Development Squad intervention, offered as part of Preston North End Community and Education Trust’s [PNECET] Premier League Primary Stars programme.

The Primary Stars programme reaches primary school children in PNECET’s partner schools across Preston, by utilising the power and appeal of Preston North End, through cross-curricular learning in a number of interventions, combining topics such as maths, English and PSHE with PE.

Development Squad is a six-week entire class intervention that encourages children to develop their resilience, leadership, behaviour, teamwork, confidence and communication through lessons with PNECET.

Lessons through the Development Squad intervention task children with setting up games and activities and learning about the traits of a positive leader, which they can then take back onto playground at break times to help and aspire younger children at the school.

Children on the programme are assigned a play buddy from a younger year group to help them to put the skills they have learned from Development Squad into practise.

St Stephen’s Year 5 and 6 teacher Mrs Devitt said: “We thought this would be an ideal opportunity for them to develop their leadership skills and thinking skills around the activities that they were doing.

“It’s giving children the chance to develop their communication skills, teamwork and resilience. If something in their game doesn’t quite go how they want it to, they can think about developing it to make it a better game for the younger children.

“We’re seeing the impact of that where we have much more active lunchtimes through the children leading that and not just staff.

“The children are really enjoying the interaction from Preston North End and the leadership from Jack and Dane.It gives them something that they can aspire to, it’s great to see sports coaches coming in and working with children so they can see it’s not just us teaching them and they learn from all different areas of life.”

Across Year 5 and Year 6, 24 pupils completed the Development Squad, providing children with the ideas and confidence to plan, design and deliver their own playground games.

Upon completion of the programme, 81 per cent of children became more confident communicating with their peers, 90 per cent developed their ability to work within a team and 77 per cent became more confident in giving feedback to their peers.

Pupils Veronica, Mohammed and Rylan are just some of the pupils who have completed the Development Squad programme.

Veronica said: “We have been picking our play buddies and we have been learning about how to make games for the little children. I’ve learnt how to communicate with children more and how to instruct games more clearly.

“I usually just talk in my lunch but now I have ideas of what to do when we’re playing with smaller children or my friends.”

Mohammed said: “We’ve been doing what makes a good and bad teacher and done good and bad sessions and looked at how we can improve it.

“I do different activities now [at lunchtime] and sometimes we do the same games that we do in the PE lessons.”

Rylan added: “We do different activities on the playground now. We do different games because I have got lots of new ideas from when we were playing outside [in lessons].”

For more information about the Development Squad intervention, please email jack.mountain@pne.com.


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