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PRU Pilot Programme Begins

1 Dec 2017

A pilot Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge! programme specifically for PRU schools is now being delivered by Speakers Trust.

PRU schools exist to educate young people who have had unusual and often difficult starts in life. Students in these schools have often experienced some sort of crisis or vulnerability and require more personalised support.

Academic achievement is not at the core of PRU schools. Social and emotional development is vital for their students to progress, develop meaningful relationships and feel important.

On account of their circumstances, it is vitally important that PRU students are exposed to programmes such as the “Speak Out” Challenge! In the past, we have come across students who are too anxious to say their name in front of a group. Our programme provides a safe space for young people to feel anxious and afraid but to eventually overcome that.

The transformation we see is profound in such beautifully simple ways. Each student is gently encouraged to explore new areas of their comfort zone. For some, that is simply standing up and saying their name to a large group of people; for others, it is finding the courage to tell their story or articulate an opinion.

This was the case for a student one PRU school we worked in, who told us, “This was very special to me as I have got out what was on my mind for several years and this to me means the world. Thank you.”

Speakers Trust trainer, Sarah Steed, has delivered the “Speak Out” Challenge! to PRU schools for several years. “PRU students often compare themselves to others and what they can’t do,” she says. “They are the group of people who, more than anyone, need a confidence boost.”

The benefit is noticeable to the teachers, too. One teacher wrote, “It was very inspiring watching our students make small leaps into areas which they find difficult but want to develop. Given the space and time and made to feel safe, the room felt comfortable and enabled them to take small steps towards feeling more confident.”

Speakers Trust is thrilled to be running a pilot programme for Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge! for PRU students. Our goal is to help more people like Dominic, whose parents thought would never be able to socialise, but who delivered a speech in front of hundreds; and Mark, who now believes he can achieve something in his future.

To find out more about the pilot programme please email jpspeakout@speakerstrust.org