Resilience and the BoingBoing Resilience Framework
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Psychologist Ann Masten refers to resilience as 'ordinary magic'. Young people involved in Headstart at the beginning of the programme called it 'Bouncebackability' and...

...the same young people asked that Headstart be about:

Headstart Kernow logo with the 'building resilience and mental wellbeing for children and young people

Isn't resilience about 'character', 'grit' or a 'stiff upper lip'? isn't it something innate that the child is 'responsible for'? 

Absolutely Not!  

Angie Hart from BoingBoing writes: 

"There is a real danger in people thinking that ‘resilience’ is the same as ‘grit and determination’ and that it’s somehow the responsibility of the child to display it". (highly recommend the full article - which I have liberally quoted from further below).

Elsewhere on the BoingBoing site Angie writes:

"Overly reductive and simplistic definitions risk ‘responsibilising’ the individual, and fail to acknowledge the important roles of family, school and the wider community in supporting people’s resilience". 

It is the importance of "'whole school community approach' that makes this understanding of resilience so powerful in the context of  our work in Headstart, "...understanding that it is asset-based - building on the strengths in people (be they staff, parents or children) and working on improving systems... connected with - rather than competing with - other school priorities". 

This understanding of resilience "draws on the multiple contextual factors outside of school that impact learning as well the impact of learning on life outside of and beyond school..." including "...basic needs such as getting enough sleep, adequate housing, feeling safe and having a healthy diet are fundamental... As well as "...specific priorities such as ensuring that every child has at least one adult in their lives they can count on, fostering people’s talents, building their coping strategies, taking on more responsibilities and obligations, and building and sustaining positive relationships...  

The Resilience Framework 

The resilience framework developed by Angie Hart and colleagues at the University of Brighton and Boing-Boing acts as a reminder to what is involved in building resilience. Our colleagues at Headstart Blackpool have developed some terrific work around the framework for children and young people and families.

Resilience Rocks Kernow

We are planning a focus on Resilience in this final year of the Heastart programme. The work will include resources for school staff; an online resilience game; resilience reources for young people and more. As a start we are hoping to engage as many 10-16 year olds (and school staff!) as possible to share (vox pop style) what they think "Resilience is..."  (click for more information - including a simple consent for any video / photo responses)

With the impact of covid firmly in mind and thoughts of "catch up or connection?" it feels even more timely to look at resilience as part of wellbeing support for schools. We strogly believe that resilience is at the heart of a trauma-informed whole school approach to wellbeing, inclusion and belonging. 

Currently YP in Cornwall, as part of a project they've created called IMPACTS, are looking at how the resilience framework can support them and their peers. They are also considering how we might share the framework in a practical, accessible tool for children & young people; families and schools.  Watch this space!

BoingBoing working with Young Minds have created some excellent tools and resources focusing specifically on learning and achievement: Academic Resilience'Beating the odds for better results', Which aims to support schools establish systems to build ‘resilience approaches’ that support disadvantaged pupils over time through a whole school approach. There are also a series of videos available on the Young Minds: Academic Resilience Youtube Channel

There are some useful videos on our Start Now You Tube Channel  including young people talking about resilience right at the start of the Headstart Programme and featuring one of the YP who helped get Headstart Kernow up and running back then... (his the one showing great resilience by doing take after take when filming) and one about online bullying created by a young person in Cornwall that was, in part, the reason we began to refocus on resilience. 


Picture: One of the 'resilient moves' part of resilient moves pathway in Blackpool.

(The Resilience Framework originated from the research and work of Professor Angie Hart, Dr Derek Blincow and Helen Thomas in 2007. See www.boingboing.org.uk for further details).