Stirling Council Friends for life

Stirling Friends for Life Project


BRIEFING NOTES



Stirling Council is involved in an exciting project to develop and disseminate the FRIENDS programme within the Scottish context over a period of three years. This work is being undertaken by Stirling Council Educational Psychology Service in conjunction with Pathways Ltd, the Australia authors of FRIENDS, and supported by funding from the Scottish Government. This funding has allowed the Service to employ additional staffing to allow psychologists to devise and deliver high quality training, support practitioners in delivering the programme, and conduct research in the effectiveness of the initiative.
Following discussions with Pathways and the Scottish Government, members of the Educational Psychology Service were trained to deliver the national training for all those who will be working with FRIENDS in schools and other settings. The training programme began in September 2007. They also conducted pilot work in delivering the FRIENDS programme in schools; a formal research project in four Stirling schools during session 2007/8; an action research project in nursery schools in 2009; and the creation of a Children's Wellbeing Scale in 2010.

Progress to date

  • Since September 2007 over 600 people have received training to deliver the programme
  • The training has been very positively evaluated
  • The majority of those trained have been teachers; also represented have been psychologists, social workers and mental health workers
  • The training programme will continue into session 2010
  • All members of the Stirling Educational Psychology Service are engaged in researching the effectiveness of the FRIENDS FOR LIFE programme
  • In a 2008 research project, groups of children in two primary schools and two secondary schools participated in the programme
  • Measures of anxiety, low mood, self-esteem and social skills were used to gauge the impact of the programme 
  • Results are now available - see Research Base page
  • An Action research project was conducted in 2009 with Fun FRIENDS, the downward extension of the FRIENDS programme
  • Results are now available - see Research Base page 
  • All people trained in FRIENDS receive a practice certificate and are registered with Pathways Ltd
  • All those trained are being encouraged to conduct their own evaluation of the programme
  • A database of all those trained, and their subsequent groupwork activities will be maintained by Stirling Council Educational Psychology Service
  • Practitioners can seek support and advice from their local Educational Psychology Service
  • Evaluations and research evidence will be collated by Stirling Council Educational Psychology Service
  • A national network of FRIENDS practitioners is being established
  • This website will enable FRIENDS practitioners to offer comment on training and other developments, and to contribute summaries and articles on their own work with FRIENDS
  • A Children's Wellbeing Scale, for evaluating FRIENDS and other mental health or wellbeing initiatives, has been produced. For standardisation data on the construction of the scale please see Research Base page
  •  Copies of the scale can be obtained by clicking HERE. The scale may be downloaded for use free of charge by researchers and schools, provided that the source is acknowledged in any publication.
  • An on-line version of the scale will be available shortly.