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StamfordhamPrimary School

‘Learning, Caring and Achieving Together’
‘Learning, Caring and Achieving Together’

The Friends Resilience Programme - wellbeing for our school community

Take a look at Stamfordham in action....

What is FRIENDS?

FRIENDS is resilience intervention programme proven to reduce anxiety and depression and promote positive mental health for children and young people. Based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), FRIENDS has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as the only evidence based programme effective in reducing anxiety as a universal and targeted intervention and is further recommended by the UK Department of Education.


The Programmes have also been shown to improve peer relationships and positive attitudes towards learning and the school environment generally.

The programs have a firm theoretical and evidence basis. The theoretical model for the prevention and early intervention of anxiety and depression addresses attachment (emotions), physiological (body), cognitive (mind), and learning (behaviour) processes, which interact in the development, experience and maintenance of anxiety.


What does “FRIENDS” stand for?

FRIENDS is an acronym that helps children remember the strategies taught that can be used to effectively manage anxiety:

F = FEELINGS (empathy and self-regulation)
R = REMEMBER TO RELAX (relaxation & mindfulness strategies)
I = I CAN DO IT! I CAN TRY MY BEST! (changing red thoughts into green thoughts)
E = EXPLORE SOLUTIONS & CREATE COPING STEP PLANS (choosing thumbs up actions)
N = NOW REWARD YOURSELF! You did your best! (choosing interpersonal rewards)
D = DON'T FORGET TO PRACTISE (choose to use the FRIENDS skills & help others)
S = SMILE, STAY CALM AND SUPPORT (values based role models and support networks)


Specific skills that are taught are based on the following principles:

  • Our body is our FRIEND, and tells us when we are feeling worried by giving us clues so that we can choose to think helpful thoughts and practise thumbs up choices.
  • We are FRIENDS to ourselves when we choose positive, helpful thoughts and thumbs up actions such as relaxation and mindfulness strategies
  • It is important to learn to be our own FRIEND and reward ourselves when we try our best.
  • It is important to think of our FRIENDS and values based role models/support networks when we are making choices about our thumbs up actions


All our school staff are trained in Friends Resilience and are now a Licensed Partner; we rolled out delivery of the Programme after the return from the first lockdown in 2020 and we continue to see superb results!


FRIENDS is a fundamental part of our school values and ethos, PHSCE curriculum and behaviour policy. 

FRIENDS at Stamfordham





Where we are with Friends Resilience?


We know that since 2020 it has been a strange and peculiar time for all pupils at Stamfordham. The COVID-19 pandemic has been really tough for our children (and for you at home) and that many of them (and you) were anxious about the return to a more ‘normal’ way of life. We wanted to ensure that on returning to school and our ‘new normal’, our children were supported to develop the skills needed for them to manage and prevent anxiety, and go on to become confident and thriving individuals. The children have looked forward Friends Resilience sessions and have participated in various activities both at home and at school across the curriculum, creating a bank of new skills and strategies which they can use and rely on in different situations. We have seen such a positive response to the programme and will continue, to refer to the skills we have learnt, to support children as they continue to develop confidence and self-belief.


From the children…

“Learning relaxation techniques! I have worked through friendship issues by using different breathing methods to help calm me down and think of solutions.”

Martha from Class 4


“I have learnt how to create a coping step plan to help me with tasks I find tricky at school.”

Courtney from Class 3


“I have enjoyed learning how to change my red thoughts into green thoughts. I can use bubble breathing to feel relaxed.”

Edison in Class 2


“How to be a kind friend and look after your friends, you can use your green thoughts!”

Jack from Reception


Please do continue to use FRIENDS Resilience strategies at home. To help, there is a wonderful, new ‘FRIENDS’ app which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store (it’s not available for android devices at the moment). It’s definitely worth looking at and gives lots of activities and topics for children to discuss.

With many thanks as always for your wonderful support.



How can you keep FRIENDS going at home?


Every Mind Matters

Public Health England’s new mental health campaign to support children and young people and their parents and carers...


Headspace App

This app teaches parents and children together about meditation for different age levels. They focus on Calm, Kindness and Bedtime.



App which provides mindfulness and sleep stories for children of varying ages to help children relax and restore after a day of running around.


Three good things- Happiness Journal

App to help children focus on the positives and think about what went well today. Helps children look for things to appreciate and practice gratitude. 


Stop, Breathe, Think

My life - app available with a version for children and one for adults...



Friends Resilience App found in Apple App Store. This app supports all strategies and techniques used within Stamfordham to support children with their mental health...


Please see Miss Snowball (Senior Mental Health Lead) for any further support

More Information


Families can access some rather excellent, introductory Friends Resilience training materials, led by Miss McKinney and Mrs Gilbert, using the links below:


An intro to the Friends Resilience programme for families - Part 1


An intro to the Friends Resilience programme for families - Part 2