VIDEO: Scheme to bring calm to the classroom

A scheme bringing calm to the classroom by using breathing techniques to boost resilience and wellbeing may be extended across the county.

The Take Five initiative is organised by Nottinghamshire County Council in partnership with the independent not-for-profit organisation Each Amazing Breath and communities in Worksop.

Dr Jas Bilkhu, High Sheriff of Notts, with pupils from Worksop Priory School pic provided by Simon Redfern of Notts county council press office

Dr Jas Bilkhu, High Sheriff of Notts, with pupils from Worksop Priory School pic provided by Simon Redfern of Notts county council press office

Project leaders say calmer breathing helps to control students’ emotions and physical reactions to the external environment – with pupils learning how to focus on their breathing for up to five minutes before and after classes and assembly at school – and encouraging them to lead sessions in class and take the technique home to try with their families and friends.

Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, Community Safety Committee Chairman, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Take Five is an extremely simple concept to become aware and focus on our breathing, but is paying huge dividends in helping children to boost their inner resilience and wellbeing.

“Children are learning skills and abilities to become aware of moments of tension in life, and how breathing can help them to identify these stressful moments and handle them. The young people are then going on to deliver training themselves and it is helping to change behaviour for the better – for everyone. We would love to see this scheme developed further.”

With funding from the council’s Community Safety Committee, the Home Office Innovation Fund and the Bassetlaw, Newark and Sherwood Community Safety Partnership, an estimated 2,000 children across eight schools in Bassetlaw will have benefitted from the programme by the end of this Easter.

Now the council’s Community Safety team is working with Each Amazing Breath CIC to explore a number of future local and national funding opportunities to potentially roll out the scheme across Nottinghamshire.

A research study into programme’s effects at two pilot schools - Worksop Priory CE Primary School and Sparken Hill Primary Academy - found that over a nine week period there was an 88 per cent decrease in stress levels, 77 per cent of students reported an improvement in concentration levels and 74 per cent indicated an increase in calmness.