Mindfulness in Schools

Simple techniques for everyday challenges

There are different ways to bring mindfulness into a school setting. As a fully qualified Mindfulness Teacher I can discuss your individual school requirements and tailor a programme to suit your needs as a school community.

How is mindfulness taught to students?

Mindfulness can be taught through PSHE days, workshops or at after-school clubs. It can also follow the .b curriculum, which is designed to introduce young people to the potential benefits of mindfulness in the safety of the school classroom, over a course of 10 lessons. Providing a toolkit of practices, most between 1 and 10 minutes, the course will introduce students to mindfulness in ways that they find helpful and enjoyable.  It is intended to sit within the school’s framework of social and emotional learning, safeguarding and support.

How is mindfulness taught to staff?

The 8-week course is for school staff and parents who wish to develop their own mindfulness practice and enhance their own wellbeing.  Delivered on site in schools, it is designed to be accessible and effective for busy school staff.  The course is practical, with plenty of opportunity to experience mindfulness and to develop the skills to sustain practice beyond the course.

Those who complete the .b Foundations course and develop their own mindfulness practice would, after 6 months, qualify for further training to teach mindfulness to young people.

The Mindfulness in Schools Project

I have completed training with the Mindfulness in Schools Project, a charity whose aim is to encourage, support and research the teaching of secular mindfulness in schools.

It created a range of courses called .b, pronounced [dot-be], which stands for “Stop, Breathe and Be!”  The courses are designed to improve wellbeing and resilience in young people and those who care for them.

I run two courses for schools: “.b (11-18)” for students and “.b Foundations” for staff and parents.

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Mindfulness programmes provide a practical way to improve the resilience and wellbeing of both young people and staff; there is growing evidence for the efficacy of mindfulness interventions in schools.

The need for improvement is illustrated by the following key statistics:

  • Rising levels of mental illness in children and adolescents – double the number of 15/16 year olds with depression since the 1980s. *
  • The most common age for the onset of depression/anxiety is 13/15 year olds. *
  • 50% of adults who experience depression will have done so first before 18 years old.
  • 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5-16 are affected by diagnosable mental health problems (around 3 in every class)
  • 84% of teachers have suffered from mental health problems at some point over the last 2 years**

*Mark Williams, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology, Oxford University, highlighted key statistics as above during the MiSP Conference, Jan 2016.
**The Education Support Partnership (ESP) Mar 2016

There are many factors that influence these statistics, over which we have little or no control.  However, mindfulness enables people to become more naturally resourceful and better able to cope.


Research studies consistently conclude that regular mindfulness practice can help staff and pupils:

  • Feel calmer and more positive
  • Cope with stress and anxiety
  • Improve concentration and focus
  • Improve performance
  • Get on better with others

Teaching mindfulness in schools can support spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) education.  It helps us to not only appreciate what is going well, but to respond more skilfully to life’s inevitable challenges.

I have been truly inspired by how simple techniques for coping with everyday challenges can make a very big difference; this is the reason I believe in raising awareness of the benefits of mindfulness from an early age.

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Research & Evidence

A growing body of research suggests that mindfulness could have a foundation role to play in providing evidence-based mental training for children and young people.

Following the publication of more than 50 promising pilot studies, the Wellcome Trust is currently funding a £7 million research project into the effects of mindfulness training on pupils aged 11 to 18, led by Oxford University. It is likely to confirm and strengthen the existing scientific evidence base for the adoption of mindfulness education programmes in schools around the world.

There is growing evidence for the efficacy of mindfulness interventions in schools. Mindfulness has proven to be effective for children and young people, with school-based interventions having positive outcomes on wellbeing: reducing anxiety and distress as well as improving behaviour, among other areas*. Evidence also suggested that children who used mindfulness practices more frequently reported higher wellbeing and lower stress scores.**

Kevanne Sanger and Dusana Dorjee at Bangor University, reported that 17 to 18 year old pupils experienced less mind wandering and hypercritical self-beliefs, and were more able to control their attention (measured using event related potentials, ERP) when they took part in a computerised distraction test. This study is part of Kevanne’s PhD.

Shadi Beshai, Lindi McAlpine, Katherine Weare & Willem Kuyken have published their findings on the effects of .b Foundations on school teachers. This study reported reduced stress and self-judgement, and improved wellbeing, mindfulness, and self-kindness.

*K.Weare “Developing mindfulness with children and young people: a review of the evidence and policy context,” Journal of Children’s Services 2013
**W. Kuyken et al, “Effectiveness of the Mindfulness in Schools Programme: non-randomised controlled feasibility study”, The British Journal of Psychiatry, 2013

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Studies and articles on school-based mindfulness interventions

“Yoga is the unifying art of transforming dharma into action, be it through inspired thought, properly nurturing our children, a painting, a kindness or an act of peace. “

“Healthy plants and trees yield abundant flowers and fruits. Similarly, from a healthy person, smiles and happiness shine forth like the rays of the sun.”