Strengthening family relationships, improving school motivation and supporting emotional wellbeing are just some of the aims of Motivate to Education (M2E), which works holistically with school pupils both and school and out. Here, Ayodele* and Dayo explain how the programme has made a difference to their lives.  

“Dayo has really improved at school and at home. He’s learnt how to express himself more when he’s angry and hasn’t had an emotional outburst in a long time - that’s what the teacher told us.” 

said Ayodele.

With strong academic performance and the ability to achieve “remarkable outcomes”, Dayo was initially referred to M2E over concerns for his emotional wellbeing. Having expressed concern about Dayo’s temper, which had often led to violent outbursts and fighting with other students, the school was keen to support Dayo in managing his emotions and fulfilling his potential.

As a proactive pupil and the eldest child of four, Dayo wanted to find ways of coping with his anger and talk to someone about life at home and how he would often feel left out. He began seeing Gail, our M2E practitioner at Chisenhale Primary School, who started showing him different ways of dealing with his emotions and anger, as well as building his emotional awareness.

Dayo benefitted from the combination of individual, group and family sessions that were built into the intervention. The individual sessions looked at strategies for dealing with emotions and preventing outbursts, including relaxation and breathing techniques, while the peer, parents and family sessions were geared towards strengthening relationships with the people around him.

“I enjoy having better relationships with people in school. I use my breathing techniques when someone is annoying me and I listen to my relaxation before bed and no tech for one hour which helps my sleep,” says Dayo.

But it’s not just what Dayo has learnt. Ayodele has also seen an improvement in his behaviour both at school and at home. As a busy mum of four young children including Dayo, she would often find it difficult to spend quality time with him, but she says the programme has really helped strengthen their relationship. “The programme has really helped us as a family – we’ve learnt how to communicate better. I’ve also learnt about having independent one-to-one time with each child,” says Ayodele.

One of the things that has helped strengthen their relationship was introducing some cooking time with mum at home. M2E practitioner Gail explains that over the weeks, Dayo would come back with different recipes he had cooked with mum and he seemed to really enjoy spending this time with her, learning how to cook. It was clear that his supportive nature and improvement at home had positively impacted his behaviour at school.

caret-down caret-up caret-left caret-right

I feel that the family engaged fully with the programme and seemed to take on board the support and ideas that were given to them. I watched Dayo change over the intervention and how the process has made them stronger as a family. ~ M2E Practitioner, Gail McKnelly

“I enjoy having better relationships with people in school. I use my breathing techniques when someone is annoying me, and I listen to my relaxation before bed and no tech for one hour which helps my sleep.”

said Dayo.

“Dayo has really improved at school and at home. He’s learnt how to express himself more when he’s angry and hasn’t had an emotional outburst in a long time – that’s what the teacher told us.” said Ayodele.

As a reward for his effort during the programme, Gail treated Dayo and some of his friends with a trip to the cinema and the farm. Watching the film ‘Wonder’ was a great opportunity for Dayo to reflect on how the film made him feel emotionally and link it to his personal experience.

“It was really great for both Dayo and I to have someone to talk to outside of the family. Although the problems we had were mainly at school, we’ve learnt so much about speaking and listening techniques and spending quality time together at home,” says Ayodele, “Gail advised us to turn off the TV one hour before bed which has really helped us and she was kind enough to give Dayo’s some lavender bath salts to help him relax!”

Working closely with Dayo’s parents and teachers, a strengths and difficulties assessment (SDQ) was completed before and after the intervention to measure the impact of the programme.

Reflecting on the sessions, M2E practitioner Gail explains that the main outcomes were an improvement in Dayo’s overall stress, emotional distress and behaviour, which had reduced from “very high” pre-intervention to “low and close to average” post-intervention. This was followed by an improvement in concentration and less hyperactivity both at school and at home.

Both parents have said that they have seen a noticeable difference in Dayo, particularly in controlling his behaviour and in exploring and channelling his emotions positively. During the programme, Dayo’s dad admitted that he never spoke about emotions to the children before, but now he makes sure to praise them and tell them how proud of his family he is.

“Dayo worked extremely hard within this intervention, this gave him very positive rewards,” says Gail, “I feel that the family engaged fully with the programme and seemed to take on board the support and ideas that were given to them. I watched Dayo change over the intervention and how the process has made them stronger as a family.”

Note: Names have been changed to protect client's identity.