Taking a whole school approach to wellbeing

We often think city schools are where innovation in education is most likely to occur, only afterwards trickling down to their more rural counterparts. But step inside Ansford Academy, an 11-16 school in Castle Cary, Somerset, and you will witness a leadership team and teaching staff proud to do things differently.

Led by inspirational Headteacher and resident blogger for Teaching Times, Shonogh Pilgrim, Ansford has adopted Persona Life Skills e-learning as a whole school wellbeing resource. Shonogh said on Twitter, “Very glad to have been introduced to this fantastic resource. There is no greater gift we can give to our students than the skills to truly know themselves. Persona is a great way to give that gift.”

Ansford launched Persona Life Skills in early November 2020, collapsing the timetable to give over half a day of curriculum time for Year 9-11 students to focus on themselves, an illustration of the school’s strong determination to prioritise the wellbeing of their community. Over 350 students found it easy to sign in to their personalised Persona Life Skills accounts, using an array of devices to access the web app, from Chromebooks and tablets to mobile phones.

Student- and teacher-led
Ansford teachers are encouraged to follow their own style to deliver learning, in the same way students influence their own learning. Whilst some practitioners led from the front, guiding students through each activity, others enabled greater agency, allowing students to work independently and at their own pace, coming together at the end of the session to share and reflect on what they had learnt.

A great start for the Ansford-Persona partnership, and our biggest single school roll-out to date!

Tutor and coaching follow-ups
So where next?

Ansford has chosen different modes of delivery for different year groups, from tutor time and PSHE lessons, to cross-curriculum delivery for specific activities that fit well within a subject area. Ansford will also be using its fortnightly one-to-one coaching sessions to discuss with students their unique mix of personality and communication styles revealed by Persona Life Skills.

This tutoring and coaching will help students with self awareness and understanding their experiences in different situations. They will be better able to identify sticking points, and how they might adapt to reach more positive outcomes, using their new-found insights into their own ‘Persona’ – and importantly, other people’s.