First year pupils at Barrhead High School last term successfully completed the ground-breaking Gen+ programme which is now set to be introduced to thousands more students across Scotland.

Gen+, projects that its programme to equip every young person in Scotland with world-class leadership capabilities and meta-skills has a potential reach of 360 schools and 290,000 young people. The programme has been developed with one overarching ambition: to help children make better choices that can positively impact their future.

Engagement is rewarded, and achievement celebrated. The blended learning approach combines the efficiency of online learning, with the benefits of relational, in-person, classroom-based learning.

Following the successful pilot year the programme is building from 850 pupils to over 5,000 in year two. Barrhead High have signed up to continue in the forthcoming academic year alongside the other secondary schools which took part in the pilot programme.

Pioneering Gen+ schools and their pupils have helped shape the programme during the pilot, to ensure it reflects the needs of the schools and the aspirations of the pupils.

The Scottish charity is funded by the Peter Vardy Foundation.

Victoria Vardy, CEO of Gen+, said: “Our vision is to equip and inspire the next generation to have the skills and confidence to learn, lead, and thrive.

“Through six meta-skills focused modules, the programme teaches students leadership, resilience, collaboration, communication, initiative, and organisation, allowing them to reflect on and develop their capabilities.

“The test and learn pilot, which was launched last year at an event addressed by former Scottish rugby international Gavin Hastings, has been embraced by both educators and students and has been a resounding success.”

Barrhead High headteacher, Fiona Johnston, said: “At Barrhead High, we have worked collaboratively with Gen+ to develop the resilience and leadership skills of our young people. Lessons were embedded in the Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum to support learners to adapt and excel during ongoing change. Gen + ensured a joined-up approach to pilot ideas that are responsive to the needs of our young people.

“The focus on meta-skills and raising aspirations has had an impact across the curriculum. Our young people shared that their confidence, health and wellbeing and self-awareness has improved as a result of the programme.”

The Gen+ lessons have been taught as part of the pilot schools’ Personal and Social Education curriculum. They are being delivered by classroom teachers using a blended learning approach: students work through activities on a bespoke, interactive, digital platform and participate in offline group tasks and discussions.

The Gen+ programme is designed to inspire young people to see themselves as part of a wide cohort of young leaders who support each other and their local communities and engage with global issues. Its fundamental premise is that anyone has the potential to be a leader and that early interventions are the most positive and long lasting.

While Gen+ has enterprising long-term plans, its current ambition over the next three years is to deliver the personal development and meta-skills programme to over 100 secondary schools, involving around 50,000 young people. The Peter Vardy Foundation has committed to funding the programme for its first three years.

Headline image: (left to right) Fiona Johnston, Barrhead High headteacher and Victoria Vardy, CEO of Gen+
Photo Credit: Gen+ programme