HeadsUp and HEROs pupil programmes launch in Wolverhampton schools

I just wanted to say a very big thank you for the past couple of days. Talking to both children and staff all feedback has been very positive .. I understand the time and effort it takes to plan exciting learning activites but also know how effective they can be in raising the self-esteem of the children in our care. All your hard work is very much appreciated and I look forward to further work with you in the future .. to have such success in your ‘debut’ training is a great start.
— Feedback email from school teacher

The next phase of HeadStart's work in Wolverhampton schools has begun with the launch of two new programmes working with young people, "HeadsUp" and "HEROs". These programmes build on the work of HeadStart over the last year, and on ground-breaking peer-mentoring work that has been pioneered in the city over a number of years.

The HeadsUp and HEROs programmes are a crucial part of our offer to schools for the current academic year. Schools working with HeadStart follow a straightforward HeadStart Charter, which lays out what schools and the HeadStart team can expect of one another as they work together to improve well-being in young people.

During the last two weeks, members of the HeadStart team have been out in schools delivering the first sessions. The engagement, thoughtfulness and openness of pupils have been amazing, and feedback from school staff has been highly positive. Here are some quick pieces of feedback that they shared.

I enjoyed the pipe game .. I understand being resilient .. I enjoyed acting out the plays .. I enjoyed working as a team .. I enjoyed the mindful chocolate game
I learned there is no ‘I’ in team .. I learned more about feelings with the feeling ball .. l learned more about me .. I learned about empathy .. I learned how to help others


HeadsUp supports pupils in building a better understanding of the importance of their emotional health and well-being. Making powerful use of the principles of SUMO (Stop, Understand, Move On), the programme helps pupils to become more self-aware, and to carefully consider the feelings of their peers. Pupils explore positive attitudes, the importance of recognising different perspectives, and mindfulness. They then relate these ideas to themes including bullying and building their own resilience.

The HeadsUp training is a highly interactive experience that encourages pupils to have fun with their peers while learning.

The 6 SUMO Principles:

  1. Change your T-shirt
  2. Develop Fruity Thinking
  3. Hippo Time is OK
  4. Remember the Beachball
  5. Learn Latin
  6. Ditch Doris Day


The HEROs programme aims to equip pupils with the skills, and the attitudes, to support peers who may be struggling to deal with the challenges of everyday life. It aims to reduce incidents of conflict, and encourages pupils to create and maintain a friendly, caring, and safe school environment. The training incorporates aspects from 'Stop, Understand, Move On', putting the SUMO formula into practice:

E + R = O

Event plus our Response determines Outcome.

Pupils develop their skills in communication, problem solving, empathy and conflict management. They work in teams to develop their peer-mentoring skills, learning through role play to consider different perspectives and the feelings of their classmates.