AOUG Vic Finkelstein Award for Health and Social Care

Awarded to Jane Calcutt.

An evaluation of a mindfulness programme in a primary school.

As a primary school teacher of over twenty years, I was feeling increasingly disenfranchised with an education system that failed to utilise the views of teachers and pupils when implementing new initiatives driven by national government agendas. I was also becoming concerned with the escalation of mental health problems throughout my school community and beyond. My own children had spoken of the benefits of mindfulness lessons within their school and this fuelled my interest in holistic education strategies. Through my role as health and wellbeing co-ordinator, I trained to teach this programme and introduced it into my own school. Using a democratic evaluation framework, I analysed responses from pupils and observing teaching assistants, alongside my own experiences as the facilitator. Findings showed that the mindfulness programme was effective, enjoyable, and also displayed significant potential for supporting social justice principles through the children’s development of agency, awareness and compassion for others.