This study is evaluating whether an evidence-based life skills curriculum (Developing Healthy Minds in Teenagers), within the Personal, Social, and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum over 4 years in secondary schools, can improve teenagers’ well-being and non-cognitive skills and improve their resilience.
While the primary aim is the evaluation of whether this curriculum can improve teenagers’ health, a secondary aim is to establish whether the curriculum also improves behaviour and emotional wellbeing compared to the usual taught PHSE curriculum.
The purpose of the trial is to assess the curriculum and training package of an 11-module taught package as a complete whole.
The 11-module package, consists of individual elements which have been separately evaluated through various controlled trials and studies to be successful and are defined as:
- UK Resilience Programme (Penn Resiliency Program)
- Life Skills Training (Botvin)
- Parents Under Construction
- Media Smart (body image)
- Media Ready (substances)
- Friends for Life
- Science of Mental Illness
- Safer Choices
- Mood Gym
- Relationship Smarts
- School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project (SHAHRP)
The programme has been taught to pupils in the intervention schools during a 120-hour universal programme delivered over the first 4 years of secondary school using the standard hour-a-week PSHE slot and taught by school staff, (teachers, teaching assistants, learning mentors or other staff, who have received full training in each module), covering social and emotional learning, relationships and healthy living amongst pupils in mainstream secondary schools.
The study is a cluster randomised trial, with school level randomisation. Randomisation was conducted using minimisation and schools were stratified according to whether the percentage of pupils eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) is less than 13 per cent, between 13 and 25 per cent or greater than 25%; whether the percentage of pupils with 5 GCSEs with grades A*-C is below 59 per cent or not; and whether the school is single sex or mixed.
School recruitment has taken place in two phases with two waves in summer of 2013 and over the year 2013/2014; with second wave initiating the intervention in September 2014. Assessments have been carried out, through questionnaires, at baseline (September 2013 or 2014), 9 months (June 2014 or 2015), 21 months (June 2015 or 2016), 33 months (June 2016 or 2017), and 42 months (June 2017 with the final questionnaires delivered during 2018). Data are held by the data collection team, (an independent, from the LSE, firm (HcareSolutions)) coded through the use of a unique (anonymised) pupil identifier and will be released to the LSE statistical analysts by the end of May 2018, conditional on all schools having had assessments undertaken by that date. The data collection team are an independent company (HCare Solutions) contracted by LSE to issue the questionnaires, collect and code the data annually. Ensuring pupil anonyminity, but retaining linkage within the longitudinal data set.
A parallel, but distinct study, using the teaching intervention and assessing academic achievement was funded separately by the EEF and will be analysed separately.