Excitement was in the air when pupils joined with staff, governors and other guests to enjoy a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party as part of the school’s pupil-focused award winning Resilience Programme.
The innovative programme won the prestigious Healthy Schools Manchester ‘Health Improvement Award - Emotional Health (Secondary) for its commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles and its exceptional contribution to supporting emotional health. The programme which lasts for fifteen weeks was written specifically for the school’s Year 7 pupils. It aims to support children both in their first year of high school and as they move towards adulthood.
The party’s theme of Alice in Wonderland (a book which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year) was chosen to tie in with the school’s celebrations of World Book Day. The school hall was transformed into a “Wonderland” location with tables laid out in the old-fashioned ‘street party’ style.
The programme will help the children understand how their thinking affects all aspects of their lives and they will learn how to distinguish between positive and negative thoughts, emotions and actions.
Mrs Cathie Halbert, who has organised the programme at Saint Paul’s, explained: “The programme is helping the pupils become more aware of their thoughts, emotions and actions and better able to manage these. Furthermore, the pupils are learning to recognise the impact these thoughts, emotions and actions can have on their day to day lives. As a result, this understanding is helping them to interact more effectively with peers and adults alike.
The pupils loved the idea of a Mad Hatter's Tea Party and we had plenty of guests either dressed up as characters from Alice in Wonderland or dressed up as characters from other books as part of the school’s World Book Day celebrations. The school hall was transformed into Alice's 'Wonderland' and in true Mad Hatter style, guests joined a carousel of fun activities including a multi-pass the parcel, decoration of teacups and teapots and a walking egg and spoon race. Throughout the party, the original Alice in Wonderland cartoon was playing on a big screen in the background. The party culminated with the celebration of Ms Keary’s(Progress Leader for Year 7), birthday with a surprise cake presentation and a special appearance by the Queen of Hearts to give the "off with her head" message. It was a fantastic afternoon!”
“The children are enjoying the programme and are clearly benefitting from the assortment of skills they are gaining,” explained Mrs Fiona Minshall, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s. “We were delighted that this approach was recognised as beneficial and received such an important award. The programme is boosting confidence, resilience and self-esteem in the children with the result of improving their behaviour and school performance.”