World Mental Health Day – 10th October

10th October is World Mental Health day, the charity YoungMinds is calling on schools across the country to take part in #HelloYellow to show young people they’re not alone with their mental health. Schools that register for #HelloYellow will receive a free pack, including a mental health assembly plan as well as a range of activities. They have also recently partnered with the Beano to provide content for Under 12s, Meet Mandi, looks at getting your first phone and some top tips.

LGfL have partnered with Young Minds to produce Healthy Minds, these materials have been designed to support staff and young people to understand mental health better and help build resilience to prevent mental health issues from developing.

The open access resource features a range of teacher led activities involving group work promoting self reflection and video content with supporting activities. The main activities are designed for use with learners in Upper KS2, KS3 and KS4. Some resources are designed for use by staff and/or for parents.


The resource is split into the following sections:

  • Mental health and resilience activities for young people
  • Mental health and resilience resources for staff
  • No Harm done – materials for staff, parents and young people
  • Handy Websites and Apps

Striker Boy – At our annual conference this year, all teachers who attended received a free copy of Striker boy, republished in memory of the author Jonny Zucker who took his own life in November 2016. He was a loving husband and father, and creator of the SerialMash library for 2simple. Jonny believed passionately in the power of creativity, imagination, and ideas. He dedicated his life to inspiring children to read, working for many years as a primary school teacher before becoming a successful children’s author. Jonny’s favourite of his own stories was ‘Striker Boy’ first published in 2010. Striker Boy is a fast paced thriller that sees 13-year-old Nat Dixon desperately trying to save his beloved club from relegation. It’s packed with action both on and off the pitch.

2simple have produced a range of free teacher resources to accompany the book, including an emotional resilience pack.That’s not all, as there’s also a free emotional resilience assembly great to use on World Mental health day.

Mind Moose have produced an assembly that schools can use. It introduces mental health in the context of being as important to look after as physical health before discussing ways that we can all look after our mental health. It also discusses how children and adults in a school community can help each other to look after mental health.

EduKit is a social enterprise that helps schools to track student wellbeing and pupil premium impact and to analyse and benchmark customisable cohorts of students within each school and against national trends.

This is why EduKit created Insight. Schools using EduKit Insight Plus can:

  • Identify vulnerable learners and to track their progress over time
  • Create bespoke cohorts of students to compare wellbeing across 14 key areas including aspiration, home life,internet safety, resilience and self-esteem
  • Access over 1,300 EduKit partners able to offer free and low-cost support both across the UK and internationally.

All LGFL schools who sign up before the end of July will receive FREE access to the ‘Plus’ package (usual average cost £500) for one year. Click here for more details or to reserve your licence. LGfL are excited to make this offer available to schools. Please note this offer does not represent an endorsement of Edukit and the Edukit partners by LGfL.

The PHSE association has a comprehensive DfE funded Guidance on preparing to teach about mental health and emotional well being – as well as being a core guidance document it also includes a range of lesson plans for KS2 and KS3 pupils.  It has also produced a mental health teaching checklist as well as ground rules for teaching about mental health and emotional well being to ensure the safety of pupils when discussing this subject.

The Anna Freud National centre for families and children have produced an excellent booklet for supporting mental health and well being in schools – you can download it here: supporting-mental-health-and-wellbeing-in-schools. They have also produced an excellent animated video below to encourage talking about mental health in schools, great for use in assembly and in class:

They have also produced this booklet for supporting mental health and well being in Secondary schools. They have also just launched a short animation and toolkit aimed at Secondary pupils in year 7-9, you can view the resources here.

Schools in Mind is a free network for school staff and allied professionals which shares practical, academic and clinical expertise regarding the wellbeing and mental health issues that affect schools. The network provides a trusted source of up-to-date and accessible information and resources that school leaders, teachers and support staff can use to support the mental health and wellbeing of the children and young people in their care. You can sign up to the network here.

Mentally Healthy Schools is a free and easy to use website for primary schools, offering teachers and school staff reliable and practical resources to support pupils’ mental health. Staff can access 600+ quality assured mental health resources to support the wellbeing of their pupils, including lesson plans, assemblies, guidance documents and measurement tools, alongside easy-to-understand practical information about supporting the mental health of children.

There is clear guidance on the site for what to do if anyone has concerns about a child’s mental health and wellbeing, as well as guidance on promoting and supporting the wellbeing of staff.

The vast majority of the resources are free and available to access via the site. There are a small number of evaluated, mostly licensed programmes that carry a fee, but have stronger evidence of benefiting children either through promoting children’s social and emotional skills, or preventing or helping children recover from poor mental health.

Charlie Waller Memorial Trust – The Trust was set up in 1997 in memory of Charlie Waller, a young man who took his own life whilst suffering from depression. Shortly after his death, his family founded the Trust in order to educate young people on the importance of staying mentally well and how to do so. They have a range of free resources for schools including booklets, posters and teachers can also sign up to a book club for school mental health leads, where they can opt in to receive a book and accompanying resources once a term. These aim to enhance the skills, confidence and knowledge of those who work with children and young people, by providing them with resources they can use to promote positive mental health.

Adolescent resilience – LGfL have teamed up with Public Health England to provide links to some school-ready resources from a range of different organisations. These include information on academic research, materials for whole-school approaches as well as lesson series and one-off resources, plus targeted support for specific problems, and signposting. Links do not imply endorsement of one approach over another. Please note that not all resources have been formally evaluated, although many have been developed with schools and experts in the field. These resources are suitable for KS3, KS4 and KS5. 

Public Health England have a range of resources to support children in schools, they have a lesson plan and activities based around online stress and FOMO(Fear of missing out).

You can also download a range of calming music for use with either meditation, assemblies or in class from Audio network.

Islington Mental Health and Resilience in Schools (iMHARS)  describes a whole-school approach to mental health and resilience. The iMHARS framework helps schools to understand the seven aspects (components) of school life that can support and contribute to pupils’ positive mental health and resilience.

The seven components have been distilled from a wide body of evidence and have been developed and tested in Islington schools.

iMHARS can be used in schools to research current practice, identify where things are working well, areas for improvement and next steps. Schools are encouraged to reflect on what support is in place to meet the needs of all pupils; for the most vulnerable pupils, for those at risk, and preventative measures for all pupils.

When I worry about things is another excellent resource from BBC Teach it is a collection of animated films that use personal testimony to explore mental health issues from the perspective of children. Alongside each, there is more information about the content of the film, and suggestions of how it could be used in the classroom. These resources are suitable for use with pupils aged 8-13.

Tell us what you are doing for mental health day on either our Twitter or Facebook pages. #WorldMentalHealthDay

World Cup 2018

The 21st FIFA World Cup kicks off on the 14th June 2018 and runs until the final on the 15th July 2018.  This years competition takes place in Russia and England were the only team from the UK to qualify for the tournament this year! The World Cup provides a wide range of teaching activities to use across the curriculum, in this blog we have collated resources that can be used from LGfL as well as resources that are available free to use.

First up is ReadingZone Live – Football School

Authors Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton  discuss their groundbreaking series that teaches you about the world through the prism of football. At Football School every lesson is about football. Can you play football on Mars? What is a magic sponge? Subjects covered include history, geography, science and maths all through football. Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton, are journalists, broadcasters and award-winning science and sportswriters. Their knowledge, enthusiasm and engaging writing make them the perfect team to teach you how to score with your head. You can watch interviews with the authors as well as catching up with the video conference – the perfect way to kick off your World Cup work.

National Literacy Trust have teamed up with Walker Books to launch some free teaching resources to inspire KS2 children to get writing ahead of the World Cup. Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton, the authors behind the best-selling Football School series, have set pupils an exciting challenge to write a lesson for their favourite subject… but with a World Cup twist!

Pupils are tasked with uncovering the most entertaining facts and funniest stories about football in relation to their favourite subject. Can you play football on Mars? What were Henry VIII’s football boots like? When do footballers go to the toilet?

In true Football School style, pupils are also encouraged to include illustrations, jokes and diagrams in their lessons – which should culminate in a quiz designed to outsmart their classmates.

To help get pupils started, National Literacy Trust have created the following resources:

  • World Cup Football School teaching resource, packed with top writing tips and lesson ideas for every subject
  • Handouts for pupils, including a checklist for creating their lesson and a coach stats card template
  • A colourful poster to display in your classroom
  • Football School bookmarks
  • A certificate to celebrate when your pupils complete their writing challenges

You can also order some free World Cup football school bookmarks and posters by filling out this short form.

The author Tom Palmer is also writing a live thriller adventure set at the men’s football World Cup finals in Russia. A new ten-minute read chapter will be published each weekday morning and will be available free for schools and families to read.  It is aimed at Year 4 – Year 8 and feature dramatic cliffhangers and there will be the chance to vote and change the storyline.  As well as this live book, there are also a range of other resources linked to the World Cup that are available to download, you can find out more here.

If you attended our annual conference this year, you will have received a copy of Striker Boy.

Striker Boy is a fast paced thriller that sees 13-year-old Nat Dixon desperately trying to save his beloved club from relegation. It’s packed with action both on and off the pitch. This special not-for-profit edition is being published in memory of it’s author Jonny Zucker. In November 2016 Jonny took his own life, he was a loving husband and father and creator of the Serial Mash library for 2Simple. Jonny believed passionately in the power of creativity, imagination, and ideas. He dedicated his life to inspiring children to read, working for many years as a primary school teacher before becoming a successful children’s author. Jonny’s favourite of his own stories is a book called ‘Striker Boy’first published in 2010. The book is also raising money for Mind. Please note the book’s content is not related to mental health.I

2simple have produced a range of free teacher resources to accompany the book, including an emotional resilience pack.

They are also running a free to enter national writing competition,open to KS2/3 children of all ability levels.  This is a great activity to use during World Cup month and there are some fantastic prizes, including a World Cup Shirt, a hamper full of official football merchandise and a £100 school book token for the winning entry, the closing date is 8th July. You can find our more and how to enter hereThat’s not all, as there’s also a free emotional resilience assembly and Literacy activities, as well as being able to listen to the first chapter online

Maths in the Real World is a transition resource for Key Stage 2-3. The activities are ideal for use either before or after the move from Primary to Secondary, and detailed differentiation ensures there is something for all ability levels. Three of the sections are perfect to use during the World Cup.

The first is called Arenas and Events, this resource engages students by applying maths to planning and organising arena events. Pupils will cover a wide range of topics over a series of 6 lessons. By adopting a variety of roles they will cover Area, Perimeter, Volume, Rounding, Translation and Rotation along with a few other strands interwoven to the lesson design. This resource contains 6 complete lessons worth of plans and resources, ready for you to deliver. There is a huge scope for easy to implement differentiation for your learners and plenty of cross curricular links, too. The sessions can be delivered in one go, or in chunks to suit your curriculum needs. You can also use this site to look at all the stadiums being used at the World Cup.

Next is sporting decisions, this engages learners through applying Maths to analyse sport. Pupils will cover a wide range of data-handling techniques over the course of 3 lessons to help them pick a winning team. By adopting the role of club manager, they will also apply fractions and percentages to help their decision making process.

Finally Nutrition, which looks at children planning and analysing meal plans. Students will have to apply their problem-solving and use inequalities, charts and graphs to justify their choices. It will also help students to discover what makes a healthy choice and learn the recommended daily allowance for different food criteria. The resource includes all of the necessary nutrition information, along with 3 sample menus for pupils to appraise. The resource is easily accessible for all learners, and can be extended for higher ability. The children can for example plan a menu for a World Cup player.

England have decided not to have an official World Cup song this year – so this provides a great opportunity for children to create one for them! You can watch songs from previous tournaments – including my own favourite below, then using Audio Network for the backing track and j2e tools to write the lyrics you can create your own song to make the three lions roar!

J2e Tools can be used in a variety of ways including: Designing a kit for your favourite time, you can use this infographic from the Guardian for inspiration, which charts all the different kits for all the teams at the tournaments; or why not use the data bases tool to do some real time maths statistics – looking at points scored, goals scored, number of red cards etc.  The BBC website is a great source for this and there is a free lesson plan from Teachwire looking at using statistics to make predictions.

There are also two fantastic databases that have been created one looking at every team in the World Cup, and another that looks at every player in the World Cup – fantastic to use for data handling activities related to the World Cup and thanks to Paul Wright for sharing these!w

Or how about writing a guide to Russia and the cities that are hosting the matches, you can find a lot of information here, on the official welcome page for fans but what information isn’t included that the children would find useful – they could write an alternative guide! The children could use j2vote at the start of the competition to vote for who they think will be picking up the Jules Rimet trophy on the 15th July!

Teachwire also have a PDF resource features a country factfile of all 32 national football teams competing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia this June and July. Each country file includes the nation’s flag, its name in its native language(s), geography facts such as continent, area, population, capital city, most populous cities, major language(s), most common surnames and currency. And they also include three key players to look out for at the World Cup, and each country’s best performance in the tournament’s history. You can sign up to download the resource here.

BusyThings also have a range of resources that can be used including: writing a match report, writing about a player from their favourite team and designing a football kit.

Lightbulb languages have created a superb range of free resources for the Word cup, including mini book guides for each group, flags, logic activities and a range of language activities they can all be downloaded here.

Originally produced for the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil, Oxfam have a range of resources entitled: The World Cup – a fair game? These resources would be great within a PHSE lesson and although focussed on Brazil as the host country they can easily be adapted for use this month.

Please let us know via our Twitter or Facebook pages or in the comments section of this blog if you make use of any of the resources or ideas from this blog.