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Key overview details

Classification
  • Targeted
Mental Wellbeing Need
  • Promoting Emotional Wellbeing
  • Anxiety / Worry / Stress
  • Self Esteem / Resilience
  • Supporting Positive Relationships
  • Social Skills / Positive Peer Relationship
Target Age
  • Primary school: 6 to 12 years
  • Adolescents: 13 to 18 years
Provision
Usability Rating
4
Supports Rating
3
Evidence Rating
4
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Pyramid Club (Secondary)

Summary

Pyramid Club in secondary schools is a targeted, early intervention treatment programme for students aged 11-14 years, who are shy, quiet, withdrawn or anxious. This school-based programme aims to support their social and emotional development (including social skills, self-esteem, self-confidence, and emotional regulation). It also provides these students with a safe space to unburden themselves, and form positive relationships with their peers and adults. Pyramid clubs are run by trained practitioners typically as an after-school programme. The manualised programme is delivered to groups of students (10-12 per group), over ten weeks, in weekly sessions lasting 90 minutes each. Activities conducted in these sessions include circle time, food sharing and preparation, physical activities, singing, drama, arts and crafts.

Research has found that the programme is associated with reduced emotional symptoms, peer relationship problems, total difficulties, and improved prosocial behaviours.

Pyramid clubs have been run across the UK including England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Website: https://www.uwl.ac.uk/business-services/Pyramid-clubs-schools

Usability - Rating: 4

Core Components

Pyramid Club in secondary schools is a targeted, early intervention treatment programme for students aged 11-14 years, who are shy, quiet, withdrawn or anxious. The programme recognises that some students may find settling into secondary school overwhelming; and that some may have possible issues with sexuality, relationships, social media, and family. Pyramid club secondary therefore provides these students with a safe and supportive space to unburden themselves, and form positive relationships with their peers and adults. The programme also teaches skills to support their social and emotional development (including social skills, self-esteem, self-confidence, emotional regulation, and coping strategies) and to manage the changes around them.

The club is typically run as an after school programme, but can also be run during the school day (e.g. during lunch break or curriculum time). Three or four trained practitioners deliver the programme to groups of students (10-12 per group) in the same year group. The programme is delivered over 10 weeks in 90 minutes weekly sessions. In the first week, the students decide on a club name, and also agree on a set of rules that will guide their treatment of each other at the club. From week to week, the students are encouraged to put forward ideas for activities to be carried out within the club. This is done to promote the students’ self-esteem and give them ownership and responsibility within the group. Activities include circle time, food preparation and sharing, physical activities, arts and crafts. The programme is manualised, and there is a ‘Guide to setting up and running Pyramid Clubs’, which is the main manual for the delivery of the programme. Additionally, there is a training manual for those training practitioners and training handbook for those being trained. There is also a Pyramid Club file to guide the practical delivery of the club and activity packs are available for each age group. 

Young people can self-refer or can be referred by teachers or parents. Goodman’s Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) or similar tools can be used to identify persons who may benefit from the programme. Students’ inclusion in the clubs is voluntary, and friends typically don’t attend a club together to promote formation of new relationships.

Fidelity

Fidelity is ensured by adherence to the measures below:

  1. Fidelity monitoring checklist for practitioner self-assessment
  2. Supervision of volunteer practitioners by Pyramid project co-ordinator or local co-ordinator

Modifiable Components

Pyramid clubs are delivered in: 1) Primary schools for students aged 7-10; 2) Pyramid transition clubs for students transitioning from primary to secondary school; and 3) Secondary schools for young persons aged 11-14 years. This school based programme is typically run as an after-school club, but can also be run during school times, or in other settings (including voluntary organisations’ facilities). Programme specific activities can be adapted to meet the needs of the particular group involved, but the overall length of the interventions (10 weeks), the length of the weekly sessions (90 minutes) and the types of activities (circle time, art and craft, food and games) should be maintained. Guidance on modifying the programme to fit the specific context is included in both the activities packs and the training. The programme is available in English language.   

Supports - Rating: 3

University of West London (UWL) owns Pyramid club, and offers the licence to schools and organisations looking to deliver the programme.

Support for Organisation / Practice

Implementation Support

Implementation support and practitioner training is provided by a Pyramid Project co-ordinator from UWL, local accredited trainer or local co-ordinator. Training provision and implementation support by a local accredited trainer or local co-ordinator is recommended for sustainability and increased cost-effectiveness.

Training for practitioners can be delivered either face-to-face or remotely using a digital platform. Face-to-face training usually takes place over two school days and involves practical group activities to reinforce learning.  Virtual training comprises 6 hours of training delivered as a single session on one day or three two-hour sessions on separate days. Practitioners are given resources needed to deliver the programme including the Pyramid club manual that describes the programme model and contains steps to set-up and run the clubs; the Pyramid club file (the working file while clubs are taking place); and Pyramid club leaders’ handbook (with all the key messages covered in the training). Secondary schools running the programme get the secondary activity pack that contains activities that can be carried out during the ten weeks of the programme.

Two days of support is built in over the first year of programme implementation for new projects that buy into a start-up package.  All practitioners can receive the support via email or phone, and will receive regular newsletters. Additional support or consultation can be requested at any time. Face-to-face support may incur additional costs.

Licence Requirements

A licence is required to run this programme.

Start-up Costs

Start-up costs for individual schools running Pyramid clubs include:

  • A starter pack of materials which cost £175
  • Practitioner two days training at UWL at £120/ practitioner or practitioner two days training at implementing site at £500 per group (8-20 practitioners) or virtual training at a cost of £95 per person
  • Annual licence per school at £75

A group of schools within the same geography can come together to run the Pyramid project. Local authorities or academic chains can also implement Pyramid club at their schools. Setting up and managing the Pyramid project for a group of schools costs £2500 for up to 10 schools. This includes:

  • Training for a maximum of 20 practitioners either face-to-face or virtually
  • Pyramid starter pack materials for each school
  • Two days of support in the first year and Pyramid licence.

An annual licence fee of £450 per group of schools is payable after the first year.

Train-the-trainer training requires purchase of training materials at £75, and a one-day training for trainers course at £250. A one-day course is also available to practitioners to become local pyramid co-ordinator, and this costs £250. Other costs that need to be budgeted for include food and craft materials (e.g. paper, pens, scissors, and glue). All volunteers’ out-of-pocket expenses are paid by the school/ organisation. 

Building Staff Competency

Qualifications Required

Practitioners can run the Pyramid clubs as volunteers. They could be university/ college students, retirees, or people between jobs. Practitioners can also be staff working within the implementing school / organisation, including learning support assistants and learning mentors. Practitioner experience with activities involving students, as well as understanding of mental health issues and safeguarding issues are beneficial.  Practitioners at all levels of education are welcome to receive training to run Pyramid clubs.

Local Pyramid co-ordinators are senior practitioners who are local to the project and could work within individual schools, group of schools, academy chains or local authority. They are the main link to the programme developer at UWL and they provide implementation support to practitioners and schools/ organisations. They can also deliver practitioner training if this is within their remit. They will have experience in delivering similar programmes and could be educational psychologists, family support workers or mental health workers. Practitioners in schools that do not have local co-ordinators can liaise directly with the Pyramid project co-ordinator at UWL for support.

Training Requirements

Practitioner training prior to running Pyramid clubs is required. Trainings are delivered by Pyramid project club co-ordinator from UWL or local accredited trainer. A local co-ordinator can also deliver trainings to practitioners if practitioner training is within their remit.

Practitioners receive one or two days of training prior to running the clubs. Practitioners who become local co-ordinators receive an extra training day (i.e. total 2 or 3 days of training). Booster training sessions are provided on demand but are not normally necessary. A group of schools / organisation can run clubs for primary, transition and secondary, with one licence and one lot of training.

Schools working together as a group to deliver Pyramid clubs, or local authorities delivering the clubs can have a local accredited trainer trained. Individual schools can also train accredited trainers, but trainer training is more effective when carried out either on behalf of a group of schools or local authority. To become trainers, practitioners attend the full Pyramid club training, and an additional day’s training for trainers’ course.

Supervision Requirements

Supervision of paid practitioners is not normally required. Queries that arise can often be directed from local licensees to the programme developer at UWL. Local co-ordinator or Pyramid project co-ordinator provide supervision and support to clubs run by volunteers. They visit each club at least two times during the 10-week programme to provide practitioners with strategies for working with the students, to ensure practitioner’s adherence to Pyramid club intervention manual and to assess the performance of the volunteers. As part of supervision, the co-ordinator can ask for a short weekly update to confirm club progress and highlight difficulties or concerns.

Evidence - Rating: 4

Theory of Change

Pyramid club is guided mainly by cognitive psychology and positive psychology, as the club helps students develop techniques to manage how they think and how they feel. Programme activities within the club are designed to promote peer to peer interaction; enhance social skills; encourage creativity and expression of feelings; and team building.

Primary school: 6 to 12 years - Rating: 4

Research Design & Number of Studies

The best evidence for Pyramid club (secondary) in students aged 6 -12 years comes from one internally conducted, mixed methods study. The quantitative element of this study was quasi-experimental and included 126 students aged 11-14 years from eight co-educational secondary schools in UK. Separate data for children within the aged range 6-12 years is not given. Participants were White British, Black African, Asian, Black and White Caribbean.  

Outcomes Achieved

Compared to the non-intervention control group, the following outcomes were observed:

Child Outcomes

  • Significantly reduced teacher rated and self-reported emotional symptoms, peer relationship problems, and total difficulties
  • Significantly improved teacher rated prosocial behaviours

Parent Outcomes

None

Key References

Jayman, M., Ohl, M., Hughes, B., Fox, P. (2019) Improving socio-emotional health for pupils in early secondary education with Pyramid: A school-based, early intervention model. British Journal of Educational Psychology. Mar;89(1):111-130

Adolescents: 13 to 18 years - Rating: 4

Research Design & Number of Studies

The best evidence for Pyramid club (secondary) for students aged 13-18 years comes from one internally conducted, mixed methods study. The quantitative element of this study was quasi-experimental and included 126 students aged 11-14 years. No separate data for children 13 and above was available. Evidence outcomes for the age range 13-18 years is the same as for the 6-12 years evidence above.

Key References

Jayman, M., Ohl, M., Hughes, B., Fox, P. (2019) Improving socio-emotional health for pupils in early secondary education with Pyramid: A school-based, early intervention model. British Journal of Educational Psychology. Mar;89(1):111-130

Fit

Values

Pyramid Club in secondary schools is a targeted, early intervention treatment programme for students aged 11-14 years. This school-based programme is guided mainly by cognitive psychology and positive psychology, and it supports social and emotional development.

  • Does this approach align with the key values of your organisation?

Priorities

Pyramid clubs in secondary schools are delivered to students aged 11-14 years who are shy, quiet, withdrawn or anxious. The group based programme recognises the challenges faced by some of these young persons. It’s therefore designed to provide these persons with a safe and supportive space to promote their social and emotional development and support the formation of positive relationships with peers and adults.

  • Is your organisation looking to deliver a programme to young people who internalise their difficulties?
  • Would your organisation like to implement a programme that is delivered in group format, or would an individualised programme be a better fit?
  • Is your organisations’ priority to deliver a school based intervention, or would a home visiting programme, telehealth programme or clinic based programme fit better?

Existing Initiatives

  • Does your service have existing programmes for young people who are shy, quiet, withdrawn or anxious?
  • Are the existing initiatives effective? Do they fit your current and anticipated future requirements?
Capacity

Workforce

Practitioners run Pyramid clubs as volunteers or organisation/ school staff. Three or four trained practitioners receive one or two days of training prior to running the clubs. Delivery of the programme takes place over 10 weeks, in 90 minutes weekly sessions.

Local Pyramid co-ordinators are local to the project and are the main link to the programme developer at UWL. They provide implementation support and can deliver practitioner training (if this is within their remit).

Local co-ordinators could be educational psychologists, family support workers or mental health workers. Practitioners who become local co-ordinators receive an extra training day (i.e. total 2 or 3 days of training).

Pyramid trainers deliver practitioner trainings. Practitioners attend three or four days of trainer training to become trainers. 

  • Will practitioners running the club be volunteers or paid staff?
  • Does your organisation have staff available to deliver this programme?
  • Will your organisation have access to a local co-ordinator, train a local co-ordinator, or liaise directly with programme developer at UWL?
  • Will an accredited trainer be trained to deliver practitioner trainings?
  • Can your organisation support the time commitment required for practitioner /co-ordinator/ trainer training and delivery?

Technology Support

If training is being accessed online, a device and internet access are required to participate. Access to PowerPoint is useful as a PowerPoint presentation are used to deliver practitioner trainings.  

  • If accessing online training does your organisation have the technology required?
  • Does your organisation have the technology to deliver PowerPoint presentations?

Administrative Support

Pyramid clubs are school-based and typically run as an after school programme. Club activities include circle time, food preparation and sharing, arts and crafts, and physical activities. School staff or volunteers can run the clubs.

  • If volunteers are to run the clubs, how will they be recruited?
  • Does your organisation have the facilities to conduct Pyramid club activities?
  • Does your organisation have administrative capacity and systems for an after school intervention?

Financial Support

Start-up costs include starter pack and materials which cost £175; practitioner 2 days training at UWL at £120 per practitioner or practitioner 2 day training at implementing site at £500 per group (8-20 practitioners) or one day’s virtual training at £95 per person; and annual licence per school at £75. All volunteers’ out-of-pocket expenses and day-to-day materials for the sessions are paid by the school/ organisation.

A group of schools within the same geography can come together to run a Pyramid project and this costs £2,500 for up to 10 schools. An annual licence fee of £450 per group of schools is payable after the first year.

Trainer training requires purchase of training materials at £75, and training for trainers’ course at £250.

  • How many practitioners will your organisation train? Will your organisation train local co-ordinators and trainers?
  • Can your organisation afford the cost of training, starter packs and programme materials (either independently or in collaboration with other schools)?
  • If volunteers run the clubs, how many clubs will be run? Can this be financially supported (bearing in mind out of pocket expenses)?
  • Will your organisation collaborate with other schools to run a Pyramid project?
Need

Comparable Population

Pyramid Club in secondary schools is a targeted, early intervention treatment programme for students aged 11-14 years, who are shy, quiet, withdrawn or anxious. Evidence of its effectiveness comes from students aged 11-14 years from eight co-educational secondary schools in UK. Participants were White British, Black African, Asian, Black and White Caribbean.

  • Is this comparable to the population your organisation would like to serve?

Desired Outcome

Pyramid clubs in secondary schools teaches 11-14 year olds with internalising problems the skills needed to promote social and emotional development, and form positive relationships with peers and adults. Programme delivery is associated with significantly reduced emotional symptoms, peer relationship problems, total difficulties and improved prosocial behaviours.

  • Is social and emotional development in young persons who are shy, quiet, withdrawn or anxious a priority for your organisation?
  • Does your organisation have other initiatives in place that effectively and efficiency address the above outcomes?
Case Study

Pyramid Club in Secondary Schools has been implemented by The Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls in the borough of Ealing, West London. Click below to read about their experience implementing this intervention.

Read the case study

Developer Details

Bronach Hughes (Pyramid Project Co-ordinator at UWL)

bronach.hughes@uwl.ac.uk

+44 7810 853561

https://www.uwl.ac.uk/business-services/Pyramid-clubs-schools