The boys programme was originally piloted in April to June 2012, running as an eight week programme with a group of eight boys from years 8 and 9, all of whom were at risk of exclusion or non-attendance . It has been run multiple times in one Liverpool school, and is currently ready to be taken into several other schools from September.
Research shows that by combating unhelpful images of stereotypical masculinity and developing specific strategies for improving self-image, rates of exclusions in school, as well as mental health issues like anxiety and depression, can be reduced.
Through creative tools, we explore different aspects of masculinity such as the transition from boyhood to manhood, relationships with authority, peers and women, and overcoming challenges. This was done through multi-media aided discussion, interactive activities and exercises, one-on-one mentoring and strength-building interventions. The feedback from the boys who participated was very good and some of the comments are as follows:
“It has taught me how to treat a woman, and how to deal with the challenges to come” – Year 9 student.
“You changed my opinions on a few stereotypes” – Year 8 student.
“It came at a really good time, my family have noticed me change for the better.” – Year 9 student.
“I would recommend it to anyone my age, it was a great opportunity.” – Year 9 student.
The Head of Behaviour and Performance noted a general improvement in the attitude and attendance of the boys in the programme and invited Pure Creative Arts to continue running the boys programme for the next academic year for Years 8, 9 and 10. This improvement was even more evident during the second run of the programme, which finished earlier this year.