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Primary Academy


TOOLKIT sessions are one hour personal development workshops designed to provide information and tools to keep participants safe, healthy, able to make informed choices and to reduce risks to their health and well-being. This is particularly important as children grow and transition into different schools, groups, online presence and even geographical areas.

Values will be incorporated into every TOOLKIT session for reinforcement and understanding.

The values that underpin TOOLKIT:

Excellence                        Friendship                        Respect               Inspiring
Determination                 Courage                            Equality                            Responsible

These sessions will mostly follow the following core format:

  • 20 minutes exploring participant’s existing knowledge
  • 20 minutes delivering information to participants
  • 20 minute exercise allowing participants to explore information in situational context


To provide children with a toolkit to make educated choices and positive changes to their own lives and to how they treat others. To enable them to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

To support our mission to:

Help our students live healthy, safe, productive, capable, responsible and balanced lives.

Encourage them to be enterprising and support them in making good choices and effective transitions.

Reflect on and clarify their own values and attitudes and explore the complex and sometimes conflicting range of values and attitudes they encounter now and in the future.

Build confidence, resilience and self-esteem, and identify and manage risk, make informed choices and understand what influences their decisions.

Recognise, accept and shape their identities, to understand and accommodate difference and change, to manage emotions and to communicate constructively in a variety of settings.

Develop an understanding of themselves, empathy and the ability to work with others will help pupils to form and maintain good relationships, develop the essential skills for future employability and better enjoy and manage their lives.

TOOLKIT week 1 – What does it mean to be assertive?

Bullying and assertiveness

Equipment needed:

  • Toothpaste x2
  • Toothpicks
  • Paper plates

Icebreaker – foods and feelings


  • Using the spin the bottle technique, the session leads will pick random individuals and ask their name, how they are feeling, and their favourite food, e.g. Nervous Banana, or Happy Toast


10 mins

Toothpaste game


  • Children divide into 2 groups
  • They squeeze out some toothpaste onto the plate
  • Children take turns trying to get the toothpaste back into the tube using the toothpick
  • Come back together afterwards to discuss what worked, what didn’t, and why, how children behaved towards each other during the exercise
  • Demonstrates how hard it is to take something back once a hurtful remark or comment has been said


10 mins

Exploring a real life context


  • Choose one headline at a time to discuss with the children. Display the headline. 


  • (Divide group into two groups so that children have more opportunities to join in)
  • Discuss who is controlling who, in each case (in some of them there is more than one layer) and whether this is legitimate or illegitimate control, whether it is control exercised through physical force or other kinds of influence, etc. 
  • Explain that sometimes people try to gain power or control (without authority) over an individual or group of people. 


  • Questions:
    • What does power mean?
    • What does control mean? 
    • What gives someone power or control over others? 
    • In what ways d you see people around you trying to gain power or control over others?
  • Ask questions, children discuss in pairs and share answers with class. Repeat after each question. Time children - 1m to discuss each question before sharing.


20 mins

Look at the world through someone else’s eyes


  • NEW for November 2020: show visuals of well known celebrities and influential figures that the children can relate to, to show behaviours such as assertiveness, aggression, coercive control, power and asked to compare and contrast the good/ bad, assertive/ coercive. This will then lead to discuss bullying which will give them a better understanding of it after we have addressed the above.
  • In pairs discuss possible reasons why someone might try to have power or control over others. 
  • Share possible reasons and collect on the board e.g. they might be unhappy, they may have other areas of their life where they do not have control, they might have a bossy personality, they could be compensating for others bullying or controlling them in the past, they might suffer from low self-esteem, etc. 
  • Highlight that somebody trying to gain power or control over someone else might not be doing it on purpose and might not realise they are doing it. In other cases, it may be planned and deliberate. The important thing is standing up for yourself and others, and that begins with making the person aware of what they are doing and how it is making you feel. 
  • Share the scenarios below and ask the children who is trying to gain power and control and how. Then, with the class in pairs, ask the children to suggest ways the central character/s could stand up for themselves or deal with the situation. Give approximately 2 minutes thinking time. Ensure that every pair has an idea to contribute before continuing



  • Questions
    • Hw can we tell when power and control is justified and when it is not?
    • Why might someone want to have power or control over others? 
    • D people always know this is what they are doing? 
    • What is the best way t stand up for yourself or for others? 


  • Ask a question, children discuss in pairs and share answers with class. Repeat after each question. Time children 1 minute to discuss each question before sharing.

20 mins

TOOLKIT week 2 – Difference, conflict and celebration

Equipment / preparation needed:

  • NEW for November 2020 – online interview with Dave Ellis & play his music video


What prejudice is and why it happens


  • Explain to children what prejudice is and why this happens. What would you do? 
  • Show children BBC newsclip explaining what instigated the Black Lives Matter protests:  or similar clip
  • Also a current news clip regarding topical diversity issue, e.g. death of George Floyd
  • NEW for November 2020 - show the YouTube video “Race of Life” (Omaarah has the link)
  • Discuss.
  • What was the conflict? Why?
  • Where does difference fit in?
  • Questions
    • What is prejudice?
    • Why does this happen?
    • What is conflict?
    • When does this happen?
    • Hw do we celebrate difference?


20 mins

Exploring a real life context


  • Children plan questions to ask Baz about his experiences both positive and negative around diversity.
  • Possible questions mentors can use to support children to develop their own:
    • What conflicts did this person experience? Why?
    • What did this person celebrate?
    • Where does difference fit in?

20 mins

What would you do? Knowledge is power


  • Show video clip of bullying behaviour due to diversity or difference - ask children to respond with their new understanding.
  • Use same questions as before to guide conversation.


20 mins

TOOLKIT week 3 – Gangs and criminality

  • Exploring with participants their knowledge of gangs and educate them on ways gangs exploit and involve people in criminal activities
  • Promote the advantages of wider friendships and networks outside of gangs

Equipment / preparation needed:

  • x2 flipcharts and paper (if needed for exercises)
  • Coloured flipchart pens


  • As a group, the leader will ask a series of questions:
    • Favourite TV programme
    • Favourite football team
    • Favourite meal
  • Writing down the answers on a flip chart, the leader will then ask the group to vote on each entry and record the number on the flipchart.
  • The leader will then summarise the session by suggesting that “So we have the McDonald’s Gang, the Nando’s Gang and the Manchester United Gang”.
  • (The aim is to highlight how gangs can form from simple sharing of interests – and some can be ridiculous – a gang formed by a common interest in Chicken McNuggets…)


15 mins



  • Children plan questions to ask Slav / Jerome / Other about his/her experiences with gangs and criminality
  • Possible questions mentors can use to support children to develop their own:
    • D they regret what they did?
    • If they had the chance t do it all again, what different choices would they make?
  • Session leader to take extreme care that questions and answers don’t glamorise gangs and crime.


15 mins



  • The group will be split into 2 teams who will be tasked with coming up with ideas of what gangs are, and what they believe is meant by the terms, Road, Street Life, Exploitation, etc.
  • The teams will write down their answers on flipchart paper.
  • Teams will present their answers to the group.  
  • The leader will then coordinate a discussion with the group, clarifying the meaning of the terms and exploring how membership of gangs can turn into young people being groomed into activities involving drugs, money, stolen items, knives, and crime in general.
  • This will include the typical “traps” that are set up to generate “debts” and county lines methods.
  • The session leader will also highlight the potential risks when they join their new secondary school and the temptation to follow the lead of older new friends who seem cool.
  • NEW for November 2020 - expand slightly and go into contextual safeguarding, discussing child sexual exploitation, county lines, extremism and grooming, as well as gangs and criminality.


15 mins



  • The Leader and coach will lead each team through an exercise using the “criminality” cards, whereby each team member will be involved in exploring the terms on each card, exploring scenarios given to them by the session leads and talking through possible solutions.
  • (The aim of this session is to embed the knowledge given, and to provide real-life scenarios with related solutions).


15 mins

TOOLKIT week 4 – Can social media affect our mental health?

Social media, pressure and mental health

Equipment / preparation needed:

  • Printouts of the scales and scenarios
  • Blu tac


Exploring a real life context

  • In pairs ask the children to discuss what they think “mental health” is. Challenge any misconceptions that arise. (Children may try to define mental health in a negative sense such as a mental health problem, ensure they understand this is different to what we mean by mental health.)
  • Mental health refers to our balanced state of mental wellbeing and whether we are enjoying life, making the most of it, and managing to cope when things get difficult. 
  • This is different to a mental health problem or issue when a person’s mental health becomes out of balance.


  • Show the scales and ask the children if they are balanced or not (Scales must be printed out)
  • We can imagine a person’s mental health as a set of scales in balance. 
  • When our mental health is in balance everything is OK.
  • Challenges, stress and anxiety are a NORMAL part of life and alone they don’t signify a mental health problem. 
  • The things we can do to support our mental health helps counteract the challenges so our mental health stays in balance
  • Ask children to place the scenarios below on the scales. Cut these up and stick them on with blu tac so children have a visual representation.
  • The things we can do to support our mental health helps counteract the challenges so our mental health stays in balance


  • Questions:
    • Are sme of the challenges bigger than others and therefore have a bigger effect?
    • What might happen if there were to many challenges, or the challenges were too ‘big’ and there wasn’t enough support to balance them out?

  • The scales would stay tipped and that’s when a mental health problem or issue could develop.



20 mins

Look at the world through someone else’s eyes


  • Thoughts: Someone posts a picture of themselves in their new outfit on Instagram. They get sent some mean posts about the picture with people making fun of them. They think ‘I hate who I am’. 
  • Feelings: This gives them sad and angry feelings about themselves. ‘They feel stupid and embarrassed’.
  • Actions: They stop socialising with others at school. This leads them to think… ’Nobody likes me’ and the cycle continues…
  • Reinforce the point that challenges are a normal part of life, and that having some anger, stress, anxiety and sadness is not unusual at certain times in our lives. But if there is an overwhelming amount of these things, they can tip the person’s mental health too far out of balance, and into a problem. 
  • Explore this with the children using the scenarios below. Explain that if the cycle carried on and on, without trying to stop it, it might build up the feelings of anger and sadness so much that the person’s mental health would become out of balance (refer back to the scales). 
  • Tell the children that if we can spot the clues in ourselves (or others), we can try to stop a cycle like this from happening and get ourselves back into balance. We need to help our brains learn to do this by getting us to be aware of what we are feeling and thinking, and give ourselves time so we can think about situations more clearly. 
  • From the examples, ask the children what clues or signs the person might notice in themselves or might be noticed by the person’s friends or family members that suggests they might need some help? e.g. being withdrawn, angrier or moodier than usual etc. Ask the children for suggestions that could ‘break the cycle’ at different points and help the person’s mental health get back into balance. e.g. talking to someone about the posts, stopping negative self-talk, spending time with a person who does value them, spending time in nature or playing outside, playing sport or exercising.



  • Questions:
    • What can we d to help our mental health? 
    • What would you suggest if a person starts to feel sad, anxious or worried about something?
    • What are the different social media platforms? Display logos to help. What do the children know about the different platforms?
  • Divide the class into small groups and hand out one of the scenario cards to each. Tell them that they are going to be Deirdre an Agony Aunt (Explain to children what this is) They will present their advice to the whole group in 10 minutes.
    • What are the thoughts? 
    • What are the feelings?
    • What are the actions?
    • What cycle has started r is taking place, and to discuss if there are any signs or clues that show this person might be in need of some help or advice because their worries are getting TOO BIG for them to manage.?
    • What would the help or advice could be? (This might be things they could do to help themselves or things that other people could do.)
  • After 5-10 minutes discussion time one group member will read the scenario to the whole group. E.g. Dear Deirdre. The second group member will respond with what thoughts feelings and actions they spotted and their suggestions for helping that person. (Mentors to model this with a scenario card before the children try)
  • Discuss the strategies for each solution. Make a list on the board of all the children’s ideas so they can see there are many different options to try when something is starting to making us feel very sad or worried. Signpost to sources of support you have available in your setting and to other sources of support such as Childline, YoungMinds, Switch Up etc. 
  • NEW for November 2020 - go into the bad effects of social media and watch a video on Caroline Flack which is current. Also go into Tik Tok and Snapchat and stress the dangers of these, using visuals.


20 mins

TOOLKIT week 5 – Skills for transition

Assertiveness, fears and worries

Equipment / preparation needed:

  • x2 flipcharts and paper (if needed for exercises)
  • Coloured flipchart pens
  • Reflecting back on the tools they have developed
  • How to get the best out of their last year (or last 2 years for year 5s) at primary school
  • Learning the 3 elements for transition
    • Assertiveness
  • How I can stand up for myself without being hurtful or mean to others
  • Learning to say ‘no’ in a clear way whilst maintaining a positive relationship with the person you are saying no to
    • Resilience
      • How to bounce back from stressful, challenging, or traumatic situations
      • Resilient young people are more likely to curious and brave because they are less likely to fear failure
    • Confidence
      • How you can show you are sure of yourself and your abilities, without being superior to others
      • Its being secure and not insecure, and having a quiet inner knowledge of your own abilities

Get children to discuss each element as a group and to come up with a few examples of behaviours which demonstrate each of the elements.

Split the children into 3 groups, each with a member of staff.  Each group to be allocated one element for transition and to come up 2 short roles plays:


  • Behaviour the opposite of the element word eg
  • aggressiveness (instead f assertiveness)
  • shwing fragility, weakness or vulnerability  (instead f resilience)
  • bragging abut something to make others feel small (instead of confidence)
  • Then behaviour which matches the element word

Eg a young person behaving arrogantly and bragging about how they have achieved something to make others feel small or angry.  Then the same scenario but where the young person explains what they achieved in a confident way that supports a healthy positive relationship with their friends.

How did that exercise feel to do?  Which element was easiest to demonstrate? 

  • Discussion about the groups worries about their last year/s at primary school and how they feel about secondary school
  • What to expect and how to prepare

60 mins

TOOLKIT week 6 – Relationships week

Equipment / preparation needed:

  • x2 flipcharts and paper (if needed for exercises)
  • Coloured flipchart pens
  • 20 minutes exploring participant’s existing knowledge
  • 20 minutes delivering information to participants
  • 20 minute exercise allowing participants to explore information in situational context

As we grow older our friendships and relationships can change, as well as our feelings towards others.

Group discussion about what we think about forming relationships, changing feelings – positive and negative.  What do we already know?  What do we think we know but aren’t sure about? 

Opportunity to ask questions of the group leaders and share experiences in a safe environment.

Addressing concerns and challenging stereotypes and misunderstandings.

Leaders to bring in other learnings from previous weeks as appropriate.


60 mins