Schools are using outdoor activities to grow student confidence in hopes of higher exam success.
Studies show that mental toughness at school could affect exam results by up to 25%, with positive behaviour and wellbeing also have strong links as schools hope to use programs to boost confidence and mental health.
Focussing on developing life skills, teaching focus and even helping control anxiety, intensive schemes can give children and teenagers a break from school to hone skills when they return to the classroom.
One scheme is Kingswood’s ‘Realise Your Potential’, a 5-day intensive outdoor activity course in Kent which aims to measure control, commitment, challenge and confidence.
Through the use of physical and adventurous challenges, these courses can replicate stressful situations in a controlled and safe environment, followed by a chance for the students to reflect and analyse how they felt and reacted, identifying their performances.
“I wanted this group of students to ultimately realise that they did, indeed, have potential!” explained Director of Inclusion, Kelly Jacques, from Ormiston Sudbury Academy, a Suffolk state school that recently took part in the program.
Taking groups of Year 9 and Year 11 students, Ms Jacques hoped the course would boost the self esteem of the younger students, and let the older groups increase their confidence by becoming role models.
“This has allowed me to have difficult conversations with some of them, in an easier, safer way,” she explained, “One of our students is now receiving literacy support after six months of refusing “I don’t need it!” now she feels empowered to say ‘I can achieve, but I need this support to help me'”.