The HOPES Project

HOPES (Holistic Organisations in Partnership for Emotional Strength) was developed in London Borough of Harrow almost twenty years ago as a joint venture between the local community paediatric team and schools to promote Children and Young People’s emotional wellbeing by supporting their social and health learning. The Project was led by Dr. Ximena Poblete, a Consultant Paediatrician at Northwick Park Hospital. Dr Poblete was previously the Designated Doctor for Child Protection and Looked After Children in Harrow as well as the Medical Advisor to the Adoption Panel.

The Project was initially established with four schools in Harrow, along with the Educational Psychology Dept, the Leaving Care service, a Looked After Young Person  and a Play Therapist from CAMHS. The approach is aimed at giving children ‘an opportunity to gain the personal, social and communication skills that will help them to cope better with challenges in their lives.’ The Project developed a tool through a series of posters in the form of a cartoon to be used in PSHE (Personal, Health, and Education) lessons. The posters illustrate social scenarios relevant to all children to stimulate PSHE group work activity that aims to promote children’s ability to listen and communicate with each other and together explore solutions to social challenges illustrated by the posters. Children are encouraged to lead the sessions, with the teacher keeping control of the session through facilitation. Training was offered to staff in implementing the approach within the classroom through the PSHE curriculum.  Feedback through children was very positive.

The project currently involves paediatricians doing health workshops in school to support the PSHE curriculum. Workshops encourage the active participation of Children and Young People.  Feedback highlights the value of joint working in schools to promote social and health learning.

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