Tooled Up Member Webinars
The home of evidence-based resources on all aspects of parenting, education and family life
Schools that are part of our Tooled Up Education community can provide their parents and teachers with access to Dr Weston’s exclusive resources, covering areas such as aspiration, resilience, mental health and behaviour.
As a member of the Tooled Up community you will have access to a whole host of evidence-based resources, which will enable you to support your children or students in a way that makes their lives and educational journeys both easier and more enjoyable.
Dr Weston's Wednesday Wisdom
In an ever increasingly busy and demanding world, Wednesday Wisdom provides a reflective 2 minute read every week that readers constantly tell us they look forward to. Full of topical and relatable experiences that help provide reflection, motivation and support in achieving a balanced family life.
Over the years, thousands of people have benefitted from, and continue to enjoy, the parenting and educational talks from Dr Kathy Weston at Tooled Up Education and have subscribed to Wednesday Wisdom. Join now for free to get your own weekly digest of motivating, interesting, and thoughtful parenting advice from Dr Weston herself.
“I just wanted to say how grateful I am to read your Wednesday Wisdom email. Perfect size for the time I have to engage and reflect and think about the topics you touch on. It helps me to evaluate my parenting and take a step back to look at scenarios that play out.”
Parent – October 2020
The last two weeks have gone by in a blur of summer term school activity; leavers’ parties, balls, prize-givings and school discos. Exam season is over. People are tired, but also enjoying the reverie of being free to socialise in full again, particularly whilst the sun is shining. School reports will soon be landing on mats or in inboxes, signalling the close to the academic year. We will read about our children’s progress, take pride in their successes and learn more about the areas that they need to work on.
Parenting Question of the Week
Our Promise: We will answer all questions, and, whilst we may share your question and answer to help others, we will never declare who asked it.
Researcher of the Month
Tom King, PhD Student, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health at University College London
University College London
Tom King’s PhD focuses on integrated healthcare for children and young people experiencing physical and mental health conditions. He has previously investigated the mental health outcomes of peer support interventions in schools.
Many schools throughout the world have implemented different peer-led interventions, with mixed results. This includes approximately 62% of schools in England. However, the evidence base on their effectiveness as mental health interventions remains limited. Tom King’s paper, published in 2021 and co-authored with Professor Mina Fazel, reviews the existing literature to map out different peer-led interventions in schools worldwide, examines the quality of the evidence, and evaluates their impact.
Tom’s review includes studies which reported on a peer-led intervention that aimed to address a mental health or wellbeing issue, using a peer from the same school setting. The vast majority of interventions were used in secondary school settings.
Tom found that, despite widespread use of peer-led interventions, the evidence base for mental health outcomes is sparse. However, the small number of included studies means that any conclusions about effectiveness are tentative. Counterintuitively, there appear to be better documented benefits for those who are trained to be a peer leader/supporter than for recipients, and impacts varied significantly. Some recipients reported improvements in self-confidence and quality of life, though in one study they reported an increase in learning stress. In some studies, peer supporters showed significant improvements in self-esteem and social stress, but in one study they felt high levels of guilt. Some interventions did not seem to have significant impacts on wellbeing measures.
Further, rigorous research is needed with a focus on establishing best practice for peer selection, training, supervision and delivery. Future studies should assess the impact of these interventions, to ensure that they target those children most likely to benefit.
Implications for schools – Settings making use of peer-led wellbeing interventions should seek to evaluate how effective they are for their specific community and ensure that any risks are being carefully considered. This kind of intervention is highly varied, in both implementation and content, and there is currently little evidence to support specific methodologies.
Interventions are more likely to be effective if schools implement clear and realistic plans, are flexible and allow schemes to change and develop over time. Tom encourages schools to plan carefully for recruitment to the scheme, training, delivery and supervision. Peer supporters may feel a strong sense of responsibility for the outcomes of the intervention. School staff should understand the limitations of interventions and encourage peer leaders to understand their own limits too.
Schools might be interested in reading a government review of peer support interventions, which identifies potential risks and mitigations.
Tooled Up News
Every day, we’re surrounded by the ubiquity of digital technologies – whether it’s social media, the work zoom call or numerous entertainment channels on our phones, tablets and TVs. The pandemic has only accelerated the process of omnipresent digitalisation and lockdowns led to many of our children spending more time
School mindfulness lessons don’t work for teenagers, study says. Here at Tooled Up Towers, we love to see how interventions work in real life. It isn’t easy to prove if something works, so we were excited to learn that a randomised control trial has been carried out on teaching mindfulness in schools. Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of what is happening in the present moment. It is a way of reducing how much we worry about the future or ruminate on the past. A therapy based on teaching mindfulness skills to stay well has been proven to reduce depression in adults. So, what would happen if we taught mindfulness in schools?
"I thought the talk last night was absolutely fantastic. It really helped us to have a vision and how we can support [Child] to develop his resilience."Parent
"So informative - lots of food for thought as a teacher and a parent of two girls. Thank you."Parent
Merchant Taylor's School
"So informative, thought-provoking, practical, awesome!"Parent
South Hill School
"Thank you so much for such a wonderful Q&A, it was so informative and rich with information. I am certain our parent community will use all these resources!"School Welfare Counsellor
St. Catherine's British School
"Expert and engaging, Kathy gives rich, evidence-based guidance. You will come away inspired and empowered"
Dr Johnny Noakes
"It is no exaggeration to say that Dr Weston’s input into our pastoral programme has been transformational. Her presentation to more than two hundred staff was the most inspirational – and practical – training we have received on how to support adolescents through the changes of the teenage years."
Francis Holland School
"Kathy’s talk was engaging, interesting and highly informative throughout. She balanced factual information with personal advice and practical tips to ensure that the talk was relevant and accessible from the outset."
Sarum Hall School
"Just to say you are amazing at what you do.. really really informative and helpful to parents and can’t recommend tooled up highly enough!"
"I just wanted to say that it was great to meet you yesterday. Thank you so much for giving such an impressive and insightful talk. We have had lots of positive comments today about it. You struck just the right tone, and I know that the advice will have been invaluable to so many of our parents. It’s such a vital and important message and we are very grateful to you for sharing your knowledge and insights."
"Thought provoking, deeply engaging and totally relevant to every aspect of my work. Thanks so much for your passion and drive."
Stopsley Community Primary School
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