Developing Mettle at Essa Academy

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What do you get if you combine a 5 hour car journey, many cups of coffee, and a team of keen Spark+Mettle Founding Associates in front of a group of enthusiastic young people? A very successful workshop, we dare say!

On an early, chilly morning in October, two Founding Associates (Hasmita and I) and Programme Manager Anna made our way to sunny Bolton. Our mission was to run an exciting interactive workshop with young people from Essa Academy. The workshop themes were Mettle, Positive Relationships and Confidence, and the experience certainly helped us to develop these strengths in ourselves!

Essa Academy is a digital school—each student has their own iPad and they are all super tech-savvy. The hedges are even in the shape of QR codes! We were all very impressed. The participants were a mix of Year 8 and 9 students; they were a very eager group. Their willingness to participate and their knack for asking great questions was a blessing for us, helping us deliver the workshop more effectively. The staff member who coordinated the workshop was called Egle—a member of Spark+Mettle’s large family of awesome alumni.

Being the observer and workshop assistant gave me the chance to experience the workshop delivery up close, and instilled in me the confidence to be able to take the lead next time. It was inspiring to watch Anna and Hasmita as the co-facilitators, feeding off each other’s confidence and presence; something that I intend to use to improve my own facilitation techniques.

We are delighted that, as a result of the workshop, students reported an increase in their awareness of the strengths we focused on.

 Successes at a glance:

67% of the young people felt that they had experienced and increased their Mettle during the workshops.

53% of the young people felt that the workshop helped to increase their feelings of confidence.

73% of the young people felt that the workshop enabled them to understand and explore positive relationships

We are very proud of these results and we are grateful to Egle and Essa Academy for the opportunity to share Spark+Mettle’s philosophy with their young people. We look forward to more opportunities to work with them, as well as bringing our workshops to more young people in 2016.


Written by Tasmia Tahia