Wrapping up Year One of Into the Mix
Our Into the Mix Project has been running for over a year now! You may remember that this two-year project was running at Hyde & Alder High Schools with two different groups of students. Students were trained as peer-mentors to support transition to High School, and engaged in social action projects. The programme has run in a few stages, and provided different outcomes across the schools, so here's our run-down of how those projects ran and concluded!
Alder High School welcomed Seamus Mannion to run the project. Here is his overview and recap of his time there:
First up, the group created videos of the peer mentors introducing themselves, which we then shared with primary schools. I visited one school before the summer self-isolation disruption. Then we produced a tour of the building in which every peer mentor had a part in front of camera showing the Y6s the school grounds - which they had not seen because transition and open days had been remote!
The social action project was a challenge due to further periods of self-isolation, however the Y7 and peer mentors were already having regular meet ups and had built a strong bond quite early in September and worked well on the social action project to develop resources for social media and a community litter pick - video link. Sadly, Storm Eunice caused even further disruption, postponing the litter-pick event!
The project was a definite success despite the numerous and continuous challenges due to lockdown and staff/ student absences throughout the year. The two main outcomes of: supporting vulnerable young people to have as smooth a transition to secondary school and producing a social action campaign were both achieved. Staff and young people all felt that the project helped them to consider new ways of doing things in the future!
The young people are flourishing and have an excellent relationship with key staff and positive role models in the years above them, which would almost certainly not have happened without the programme. Well done to all the students at Alder - what a great achievement!
Hyde High School worked with PIE's Beth & Caroline, here is Caroline's summary of the final part of the project!
We have very sadly come to the end of our time working with our Into the Mixers at Hyde High School as part of their transition project.
The final part of this brilliant transition project started in November – yet again delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions. We worked with some of the original Into the Mixers who are now very grown up Year 8’s and also some really keen Year 7’s who we will be encouraging to become the peer mentors of the future after Easter.
During this last part of the project we looked at the U.N. SDG’s and linked these to issues which were of interest to the students either within school or their local community. The theme of health and wellbeing was chosen as the basis for their projects.
We then looked at planning using SMART targets and budgeting skills for project management. Using this valuable tool showed them that setting achievable goals was really important as they had some very big ideas about developing the school allotment sites which was not an attainable goal!
As we had a limited amount of time leading up to Christmas the group decided on a Random Act of Kindness within their local community as their mini project. They planned, budgeted and created 60 sweet cones filled with Christmas goodies which was then given to the local Food Bank to distribute.
The group really enjoyed doing this and they certainly felt it promoted their sense of wellbeing and improved that of the recipients too.
After Christmas we began to think about a project which could improve health and wellbeing within school; again, some of the ideas had to be scaled down but they eventually came up with 2 fantastic ideas. The first was to produce a video which promoted health and wellbeing which could be shown on the school TV screens and potentially in form time. They have started the planning for this and trialed some different digital software to create this. The students also created and used digital branding for their project to promote this further. As the students were really keen to see this happen and we had limited time in our after-school sessions we have planned a hack day for March 24th when the students will be visiting a digital workspace in Manchester and working with one of our partner organisations to create the final project! Keep your eyes peeled!!
To complete their work in school the students decided to create some wellbeing packages for students. Once again, they were developing those life skills including budgeting and organisation. They created a pack containing a seed bomb, stress ball, scented candle and a healthy snack we also included their logo in each pack – they were thrilled to see their digital logo come to life and being used.
The group chose to give 10 of the wellbeing packs to each Head of Year within school to give out to those they felt would benefit most from them.
As you can see this links with all 5 PIE ‘slices’: Communication with each other and within the school environment, Digital, Project Management and Community all as part of their community social action projects which also challenged them to look outside their day to day life – experiencing cultural capital! We hope that this opportunity has helped to support the young people in their initial phase at high school and that it has equipped them with leadership and communication skills to help them continue to flourish throughout their time at school and beyond.
We are so pleased with the success of both groups of Into the Mix Students! Well done to everyone involved, we can't wait to see how the project develops in its' second year!