Alok Sharma, local MP for Reading West has visited Denefield School to find out about the unique approach they are taking to helping their students cope with the stresses and strains of the busy exam season. The school was recently awarded National Lottery funding for equipment to support their ‘Yoga for Teens’ project – meaning that they can offer weekly yoga classes to their year 11 pupils. The programme is designed to support students in coping with stress, social pressures, to build confidence and to develop a healthy, lifelong hobby.
Alok Sharma said: “I was delighted to meet year 11 pupils Caitlin, Phoebe and Hannah who were all very positive about the benefits of yoga in helping to cope with exam stress. All three of them felt that it was helping them with their self-confidence and concentration in preparing for their upcoming GCSES. Well done to Denefield School and their brilliant teachers, particularly Emma Stewart, who runs the yoga classes, for this initiative. I am sure other local schools may also want to consider this activity. I look forward to attending a yoga session at Denefield, organised for the teaching staff, to see how it might be of benefit to me too!”
Young people’s mental health has recently been given a funding boost from the government as part of their long term plan for the NHS. Earlier this year, the Prime Minister announced £2.3bn per year of additional funding for mental health, helping 350,000 children and young people and 380,000 adults suffering from mental health conditions.
Emma Stewart, the teacher who runs the programme, said: “Thanks to a lottery funded grant from Sport England we were able to purchase equipment for 20 students to take part in yoga classes to help with their stress, anxiety and exam pressures and the results from that according to the students is that the yoga and the mindfulness has definitely contributed to less stress, better relaxation and more focus and concentration for their exams.”
Photo: Alok Sharma MP with Denefield School teachers Ms Stewart and Ms Davis and pupils