This project trialled the use of the SmartGym CardioWall® Resilience Programme (SCRP) from Rugged Interactive and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children & Families in Newent Community School and Sixth Form Centre. The focus of the trial was to explore if SCRP could be used as a way to engage and support young people through physical activity, mental challenge and fun.
Through the Future Challenge Programme, we support innovators and local partners to pilot innovations and validate them in a real-world setting. Newent School , supported by Gloucester Health and Care Foundation Trust, was chosen as the pilot site for this project.
How the SmartGym CardioWall® Resilience Programme works
The SCRP takes place over 10 sessions and resembles circuit training. Young people follow a set of weekly performance drills on the equipment and track their own progress using individual workbooks. Trained staff work with participants to explore topics surrounding motivation, focus and resilience, based on this progress.
The drills are designed to be fun and provide a way to build relationships between young people. They help participants start conversations about their experiences and emotions and develop improved resilience to cope with the challenges of everyday life. This engagement may also highlight individuals who would benefit from more targeted or specialist support.
The Covid-19 pandemic affected both the project and evaluation. After the onset of Covid-19 in early 2020, activities were modified in line with pandemic restrictions affecting school timetables and routines, and this naturally caused interruption to data collection.
Despite this, the evaluation of the project, carried out by Wessex AHSN, showed promising results. The students reported positive impacts including better sleep, more positive mood and improved attention and energy. Parents reported their children looked forward to their sessions and also noted improvements in mood and motivation. Teachers also noticed positive effects in students but highlighted that some students seemed better able to transfer the competencies they learned from their sessions into the classroom.
A more comprehensive set of findings can be found in the Executive Summary and Learnings and Outcomes Report (links below).
The results of the project indicate the SCRP could be a valuable tool for supporting students with resilience skills and would benefit from further exploration. Newent school will continue to run the SCRP with other year groups and The West of England AHSN will continue to take an interest in the longer-term feedback from the school and innovators.
The Executive Summary and Learnings and Outcomes Report also contain a number of recommendations and suggestions for future implementation models to explore.