Child First Trust

The Summit Programme


Update: The Summit Programme, in its original format, is now finished. However, Strands 1 and 2 continue in our schools. The training below has been specifically developed to support the ongoing work of our Summit Leaders. Places for all Child First Schools are fully funded by the Trust. Please email to secure your attendance. Thank you.


Child First, CSN and Colchester MIND are delighted to have received a Character Development Grant from the DFE. This grant really will make a difference to the lives of the children and young people from our member schools.

The Summit Programme is an evidence based character building programme (5-16yr olds) aimed at disadvantaged children & young people, equipping them with the attributes, attitudes & behaviours needed to succeed in education & later life.

The Summit Programme builds & nurtures each child’s emotional intelligence and is an expansion & collaboration of 2 exemplary Child First intervention programmes: Nurture & the 1:1 work previously undertaken Colchester Mind.

The Summit Programme has three key strands, supported by a Character Development Resource/Tool Kit of lesson plans, guidance and monitoring tools.

“Something like this has been needed for so long and is one of the reasons I started my degree in therapeutic studies and communications. At last an understanding of children’s emotional needs, that enables them to understand themselves a little better.”

R Dalgliesh, Summit Leader St. George’s Junior

What are the three different strands that children from our school can access?

Strand One – 1:1 Support & interventions for targeted children/YP.

In this strand of the project Colchester Mind provides children and young people with one to one therapeutic interventions that allow them to explore their own emotions around Mental Health and Wellbeing.  While the work is focused on improving attendance, attainment and wellbeing a range of techniques are used in sessions that allow them to be tailor made to the young person’s needs.  These approaches include CBT techniques, NLP, counselling skills, relaxation, Brief Solution Focussed Therapy and strategy based work, while also being able to offer Art and Play Therapy. On average each child will access a 6 week x 2hr intervention. The service is delivered as a Tier 2 Mental Health/Wellbeing provision, with highly qualified workers from all areas of Health and Social Care.


Strand Two – Summit Character Building Peer Programme,

These will be delivered for 3hrs a wk, for 6 wks, in each of our 23 schools, delivered by a mental health professionals (from MIND), supported by each schools own nominated ‘Summit Leader’. The member of staff joining these sessions will initially be in a support role and will ‘train up’ alongside the member of staff from MIND. The focus will be on peer based, small group character development workshops and, at the same time, developing the skills of the schools Summit Leader. Supported by the Resource Pack (see below) and ongoing support from MIND, each school’s Summit Leader will run 2 further peer workshops within the year – with a small group of their own students to continue to develop their skills and maximise project impact.

Strand Three -Base Camp Programme:

Delivered from the Nurture Base at Queen Boudica Primary Schools these Base Camps will enable students in ‘high need’ to access an intensive, 15hr, weeklong Character Building Programme (3hrs each day).

Base Camp will run every morning, term time & will involve groups of up to 6 young people at a time. These may be children needing a confidence boost, those struggling with bereavement issues, relationship difficulties etc. Children/YP graduating from Base Camp would be able to access strands 1 or 2 of the Summit Programme back in their own schools if required.

How do we refer children to the various tiers of the Summit Project?

All schools, teachers and parents will get a Summit Project Newsletter each quarter to tell them what the project is and how they can access each of the three strands. Referrals come via our member schools (children and parents are encouraged to ‘self refer’ by speaking to the class teachers/headteachers if they feel their child would benefit). The ultimate decision in regards to who will access each Strand is made by our member schools.  Access to Strand 1 is by an official referral form to by sent by post (or fax) to Rosie Hawes, Colchester Mind.  A member of the MIND Team and/or CSN will be in touch to arrange each school’s Peer Workshop. Each school can then choose its own dates to run its own, two further, school-led workshops. Strand 3 referrals will be made to the Base Camp Leader based at Queen Boudica (currently being appointed).

What is The Summit Resource Pack/Tool Kit?

A central Resource Pack/Tool Kit would form the foundation of the programme. This pack would support all project strands and will provide a platform for teachers/HLTAs continued professional development, enabling staff to take forward & continue their work/training on the Summit Programme. It will include a suite of exemplar ‘Expedition/lesson plans’ to accompany work across KS1, 2, 3 & 4. These Summit ‘Expedition Plans’ would be a growing resource, pulling together examples of best practice reviewed nationally as well as those developed by the Summit Team itself. Core Expedition Plans would focus on a range of character development areas including: building resilience, self-esteem, confidence building, teamwork and collaborative working, goal setting, motivation & ambition, positivity & self-belief.

Who will manage the project?

CSN has responsibility for Project Management and for overseeing the monitoring and evaluation of the project. Whilst the Leaders of each Tier of the Summit Project will be responsible for the evaluations of their areas, each school is expected to provide relevant school based data (e.g. Attendance figures) relating to children who participate in the program.

What about the long-term sustainability of The Summit Programme.

Funding has been secured from the DFE and Child First to enable the programme to run from 1st April 2015 to the 30th March 2016. We all remain committed to continuing this work post March 2016 and will continue to seek funding to make this happen. It is hoped that the ‘Summit Leader’ nominated by each school will gain new skills and continue to run Peer Workshops as needed.

Documents for Schools


Summit Newsletter 1

Summit Newsletter 2

Peer Group Workshops Calendar Sheet1 (1)

REVISED Base Camp School Calendar

Summit Resource Pack

Strand 2 Resource List

For further information please contact:

Sacha Brakenbury, Project Manager for The Summit Programme on 078899 35248 or email

The Summit Programme has its own Facebook group – so please look us up and join in with our discussions!

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