What is Unstoppable?
Unstoppable is a Year 6 PSHE programme tackling age appropriate, relevant issues such as gang culture and knife crime, healthy relationships in and out of the home, resilience, emotional well-being, and transition. The programme is executed using a fictional novel of the same name, written by decorated author Dan Freedman.
Unstoppable is a six-week project that asks the class to read to a certain part in the book and then a Blackpool FC Community Trust tutor delivers an hour lesson, on a weekly basis, using the story lines and characters from the book. As part of the programme, each child is provided with a copy of the novel and a workbook to keep. Over the academic year, the programme is offered to all Year 6 children with approximately 1700 children taking part.
Congratulations to STANLEY PRIMARY SCHOOL
Over the last six weeks Stanley Primary School has taken part in Blackpool FC Community Trust’s PSHE programme Unstoppable. Throughout the Autumn term the children of Stanley have stood out as excellent participants, not only for their behavior but also their understanding of the book and the programme. The behaviour of the children has been amazing, as all the children have shown extremely high levels of respect and exceptional manners during each of the sessions. Their level of maturity was shown through the discussions held both between themselves and feeding back to the class and tutors. The children were clearly engaged and focused on the lessons; they were able to debate their own opinions respectfully and take on board others’ points of view.
Furthermore, the classes were able to follow the pace of the programme delivery, by reading to set learning breaks throughout the whole programme. The children displayed an understanding of the deeper meanings of the story and how they would feel if they were in any of the characters’ positions. The children have been able to have extremely mature conversations regarding some of the sensitive topics which are covered within the story. Even though these topics, including grief, friendships and gangs, were hard for some to talk about, with guidance from the BFCCT tutor, all engaged in the conversations and had a mature outlook on the scenarios.
The engagement of the children was shown through their quiz results, with 78% of children showing an improvement in the knowledge and understanding of PSHE related questions. 100% of the teachers rated the engagement of the children as excellent, and also stated that the English lessons were supported through the delivery of Unstoppable.
The children have been able to highlight the reasons why the characters are acting in certain ways but then also relate this to their real lives and knew what was appropriate and inappropriate when looking at different relationships, friendships, and interactions with people in their lives.
Some of the children completed a small focus group with the staff to discuss the programme and what they have enjoyed about both the story and the lessons. All the quotes below were taken from this focus group (clearly highlighting that children focused on different concepts):
“It’s (the programme) has helped me to be a bit better because I used to be a bit naughty and that and I used to get really angry and moody, and now I’ve changed and I’m not really as moody as I don’t really get as angry, and I have become calmer”
“Learning that just because she (Roxy) is in a wheelchair, she is still the same person and can do the same things as she was before”
“I know if someone came up to me and offered me something dangerous, I would say no and go home and tell my mum straight away”
“Helped me see how things can change and deal with them in my real life like going to high school is next year and I’m very sad”
Their teachers also noted that:
“The programme was even able to engage children who aren’t keen on reading as the story is so exciting to them, they are asking to read it”
“Some very mature conversations have been brought out from this”
Unstoppable Class of the Term Reward:
Due to the enthusiasm and mature attitudes of the children, the Stanley classes were awarded the Unstoppable Class of the Term and as a reward, Dan Freedman hosted a question-and-answer session for all the pupils that had taken part in the programme. Dan gave the children a brief introduction into how he became an author and then the children proceeded to ask questions.
Dan Freedman noted that:
“Their questions were absolutely fantastic – some of the most fresh and fun I’ve been asked. I was incredibly moved and proud to see how they had connected with the story and characters of Unstoppable.”
“I’m delighted that the book is in the safe hands of BFCCT to use it as a platform for really important conversations with young people and it was clear today that the pupils had put some very deep thought into those subjects and issues.”
When asked what they thought of the event, the children said:
“It was a lot of fun to talk to Dan and find out what made him want to write the story”
“I am really excited to see if the book does become a TV show”
“He has inspired me to think about reading and writing more as I think I would like to be an author”
The teachers were extremely positive regarding the event:
“The children have been looking forward to this for the past few weeks”
“He was fantastic with the students, and you could tell they were all engaged”
Well done Stanley Primary School, the Unstoppable team have thoroughly enjoyed working with the children and hope to continue to do so in the future.
Each term The Unstoppable team will be choosing a class to receive a reward. The class will be chosen based upon the enthusiasm, engagement and behaviour of the children. As we have 30 schools receiving the Unstoppable programme this academic year, the competition may be tough.