In 2017 and 2018, a group of SUN staff completed training with YoungMinds to become Facilitators of the Academic Resilience Approach (ARA). The ARA has been co-produced by YoungMinds and Boingboing and is based on a plethora of research relating to resilience, along with the work of Angie Hart from the University of Brighton. It is an approach that enables schools and colleges to interrogate what they already do to support student and staff resilience, whilst giving them the opportunity to identify areas they would like to develop further. It is a systems-based approach that is completely individualised to each school or college who takes part.
Since completing the Facilitating ARA training, SUN staff have worked with a number of schools and colleges to embed the approach. Additionally, the partnership has hosted regular introductory training for schools, colleges and partner universities. Due to the pandemic SUN has transformed the training for virtual delivery, and as a result, has seen an increase in the number of educational practitioners participating in activity. In their informal feedback to SUN, schools and colleges expressed that these sessions have been invaluable as they feel that resilience, wellbeing, and mental health (which are intrinsically linked as part of the ARA) are so important, particularly in the context of the pandemic.
The partnership has also run several Communities of Practice, giving schools and colleges the opportunity to share good practice in relation to specific themes. Virtual sessions delivered this year have focussed on the following themes: supporting stress and anxiety in staff and students, digital inclusion, and developing ARA in the community
Moving forward, the SUN will continue to run introductory online training sessions and Communities of Practice and will work closely with schools and colleges who wish to explore the approach.