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SAP Peer Mentoring Programme

Student Assistance Programme (SAP)

SAP’s purpose is to create a safe place in Wrexham schools where pupils can share feelings, thoughts and concerns about their lives and to provide support whilst they work through any difficulties that may impede their development, education and life chances.

The Student Assistance Programme (SAP) is a comprehensive model of primary prevention and early intervention that utilises learning activities and support groups for students across all key stages, including those who may be vulnerable or those exhibiting high risk behaviours. It can also support the adults who care for and work with the students.

SAP provides a resource/intervention tool for schools, delivering a systematic programme of education, identification, assessment, referral and support for all students, including those whose individual, family and social problems are impacting on their ability to develop, learn and function as whole and healthy individuals in both school and the wider community.

SAP groups provide an excellent tool to support transition between key stages. The goals of support groups are: to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness; to provide a sense of connectedness with self and others; practice giving and receiving support for healthy living skills; identify self-defeating behaviours and to break through denial; receive nurturing and affirmation for growth; increase self-awareness and self-esteem; provide validation and encouragement; reduce feelings of shame; learn how to form healthy relationships; provide a trusting environment; learn how to care for self and others; learn to let others care about self.

As well as a generic sharing group, support groups are available to address such issues as parental divorce and separation; grief and loss; drugs/alcohol awareness; physical/sexual abuse; parental drug/alcohol addiction; bullying; academic stress; healthy relationships.

SAP was devised in the USA by Cheryl Watkins and has become an international model used in 29 countries across the world. The Children and Young Peoples’ Service in Wrexham is the only authority outside the USA, licensed to train our employers to deliver SAP groups. A regional coordinator and assistant coordinator oversee the programme and the multi-disciplinary training team has recently been increased to ten, in order to maximise the use of this international training model. We utilise this facility to provide a mirror approach to training and delivery of the programme, so that facilitators are available from various providers working alongside school based staff - from youth service, police, health and social services.

SAP has become highly respected and valued in Wrexham and is recognised as one of the local authorities main strategies aimed at addressing the emotional health and well-being of our young people. SAP provides an intervention to support vulnerable pupils as identified by PASS. By providing this initiative in Ysgol Y Grango, we are striving to meet the complex needs of our students as individuals, recognising that varying levels of support and/or intervention may be required at different stages throughout a young person’s school life.

Peer Mentoring Programme

We invited students to participate in a series of peer support groups. These voluntary support groups are part of a Borough-wide initiative to address a number of support needs amongst the student body.

The goals of student support groups are to increase the students’ self-esteem, decision making life skills, communication and problems solving skills. It is our belief that in building these personal skills our students will be better equipped to cope with peer pressures at school and other related life stresses.

Peer support groups meet weekly for a period of eight weeks. Groups meet for 50 minutes during the school timetable and are not counted as an absence.

Specially trained teachers, educational social workers and other community professionals facilitate peer support groups. The peer support group model is international and is used in countries such as, USA, Germany, France and Australia.