Helping Merton Students Control Anger

Local trust helps with pupil's social skills

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A project aimed at helping Merton secondary school students better communicate and understand their anger is being run by the Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust.

The SAFE project will use a range of creative mediums such as art, drama, forum theatre, painting, physical theatre and movement, students will develop effective anger-management skills that will help them to improve social skills and self-confidence.

Statistics from The Youth Justice Board have revealed low attainment, truancy and special educational needs are the risk factors most associated with violent behaviour in the adult population, with more than 90% of persistent offenders experiencing social, emotional and behavioural issues since childhood.

The SAFE project will aim to overcome these behavioural issues by working with students who have been excluded from mainstream schools for severely disruptive behaviour.

A successful pilot SAFE scheme saw a group of six to eight students experience a trip to the Tate Modern to explore Munch's painting 'The Scream', one-to-one sessions with in-house counsellors or the arts therapist, a 'Paint Throwing Day; run by the arts therapist, a script writing techniques workshop, drama-therapy and three performance-based workshops.

The creative work produced after these activities will be used in the final 'Wrap/Unwrap' exhibition from 1pm-3pm on Thursday March 29 at Vestry Hall, Mitcham.

The exhibition will offer participating students the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings regarding the project, gain closure and celebrate all that has been achieved and overcome. The art work will also be auctioned at the event, with the proceeds going directly towards covering the cost of further creative activities for the young people who have been involved in the project.

Andrew Alty, Creative Learning Projects Manager for WCTT said: "Knife crime, gun crime and gang culture have all contributed to 'Angry Britain' and the recent civil disturbances in many parts of South London, including Merton, have only served to intensify this perception.

"WCTT aims to give young people in the area a safe and creative outlet for their emotions. We believe creativity is more powerful than destruction and the SAFE project will help students channel disruptive emotions to let off steam."

March 15, 2012