Congratulations to Brighton & Hove Year 11 students receiving GCSE results today. We’ve teamed up with Storythings to make this film especially for Year 11s. It features a new poem, ‘Extraordinary’ by Brighton Festival guest director Lemn Sissay MBE, together with messages from your schools.

This film was made by Storythings and Make (Good) Trouble with support from Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival and Brighton & Hove Music & Arts. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

Results Day Live Q&A

If you have questions about next steps for students moving on to college, whether to take exams in September or going back into education after lockdown, we’re hosting a live Q&A with educational specialist Jo Heywood on Facebook tonight (Thursday 20th) at 7pm. Do join us there and let us know if you have any questions for the Live event in advance by posting a comment here or on our Facebook page. See you there!

In our second episode of Raising Teens, we’re looking at home schooling and education in lockdown. With lockdown set to continue for most young people, we explore what is life like for families and teens who have had exams cancelled and aren’t sure what happens next. We look at what support is available for students who have limited access to technology – 700,000 children don’t have a laptop or tablet of their own and 60,000 don’t have access to broadband in the UK. Some have no quiet space at home to work in. And when schools do re-open more fully, how comfortable are parents with sending their children back there?

Our guests, speaking to host, Guy Lloyd, are Rose Scott, counsellor at Hove Park school, Dr Kerstyn Comley, founder of the MeeTwo app and Matt Dumbledon, a father and part of the team at Dad La Soul, a grassroots community to support dads.

Teen reporter, Lola Ray, spoke to teens about how they were getting on with studying from home, how much time they spent on their school work and how they think the pandemic and lockdown might affect their future.

Dr Kerstyn Comley talks about anxiety on Raising Teens

You can hear Raising Teens on BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey at 7.30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays and online on BBC Sounds.

🔊 Listen to Lockdown Home Schooling on BBC Sounds

🔊 Listen to last week’s show on Anxiety in a Pandemic on BBC Sounds

Help and advice

NSPCC support and advice for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) 

Place 2 Be information on schools and education during the pandemic 

NHS mental health support for young people 

Young Minds advice and tips for young people who are self isolating

MeeTwo is a free fully moderated app for young people, providing peer support, expert help, educational and creative resources as well as links to UK charities and helplines.

The Student Room, coronavirus-related advice and support for students

Kooth, an online mental wellbeing community

Journalist Jan Edwards describes how an ordinary day of door-to-door fundraising led to his involvement with Make (Good) Trouble. 

It was early January, and winter had firmly clasped its unrelenting, icy grip on Brighton and Hove, suffocating the distant memories of summer. 

Shivering, my resolve to fundraise for homeless young people spurred me on. I started a new road, willing an answer for some warmth. I knocked, but there was no response. Maybe the next… “Hello! Sorry, I was cooking.” I rushed back. “Hi, I’m from Centrepoint.” “Ah, I know all about you!” says the woman, smiling. “Come in.” 

While door-to-door fundraising can be discouraging, I relished meeting all sorts of strange, eccentric, but often wonderful people. At Centrepoint, I was yelled at, sworn at and chased down a garden path with a broom (only to be invited in for tea and an art lesson by the less cranky next-door-neighbour!).

Naturally, I was intrigued by this friendly woman who had provided respite from winter’s wrath. “You don’t need to say anything. I’ll sign up,” she said. I was bemused as even the most willing of donors usually take some persuasion. “I work for a social enterprise called Make (Good) Trouble, helping teenagers. I’m Daisy, the co-founder.” 

Daisy explained that her company aims to challenge society’s narrative that young people are a nuisance. The media is often full of teenagers’ misdemeanours, so Make (Good) Trouble uses it to celebrate their achievements and improve mental health. Based on my passion for helping young people from my own experiences, I was eager to get involved. 

As a teenager, I suffered from low self-esteem, unexplainable anger and bouts of anxiety and depression. This informed my behaviour: impulsiveness, drinking and trouble at home and school. In fact, I spent more time out of school than in! If only I’d had a means to express my feelings, to channel my complex coil of emotions. 

Enterprises like Make (Good) Trouble are essential if other suffering teens are to make a difference in the world, inspiring creativity and motivation. As a journalist, I feel that nothing boosts self-confidence more than completing a project and seeing the results. “I would love to help,” I enthused, leaving with Daisy’s number and feeling warm inside and out. 

I was delighted when Daisy scheduled a meeting to discuss my involvement with Make (Good) Trouble. She explained how revered the enterprise has become, securing a donation from Sussex Police. “We have Project Poppy coming up, which looks at women’s mental health in the First World War. It’ll be perfect for you.”

My Grandad is a Holocaust survivor, so I am familiar with the impact of war. A survivor of three camps, Grandad has harrowing memories which he seldom discusses. He was taken away from his mother as a child, and never saw her again. Nobody knows what became of her. A story lost. 

Indeed, the impact of war on women is rarely considered. I realised that in learning about the First World, the experiences of wives, of female nurses and doctors were not taught. With a Mum who won the NHS “Woman of the Year” award, I know how strong women are. It is imperative that the stories of these heroes be told. 

Meeting with Tayler, Daisy’s sister and project leader, I was amazed at her research and determination to bring the project to fruition. “Mental health is a current issue”, Tayler said. “We want young people to get involved and to compare mental health then with what’s happening today. We want everyone involved in the project to help build a picture of a fictional woman, Poppy, who lived through the War and use media to flesh out what her experiences might have been, to bring her to life.”

This project is part of the First World War Centenary, a programme set up by the National Lottery Heritage Fund that aims to help people understand the war, uncover its stories and explore what it means to us today, creating a link between then and now. Project Poppy participants will research the subject and create a film and a blog detailing the process, plus a presentation for schools.

Students at Hove Park School are participating in the project and we met up with them before the schools were closed due to the coronavirus. I was struck by the young people there, their compassion and confidence as they created diagrams of influences on mental health, both in the First World War and now. “Have you ever had mental health issues?” one girl asked. “Most of us have.” I was confused:  happy with her openness, but sad at the prevalence of mental health issues she had expressed. 

Walking home from the school that day, I was lost in thought. Isn’t it great how open young people are about mental health now, actively wanting to enact change? I smile. One thing’s certain: It’s incredible how interrupting someone’s cooking caused me to get involved with such an inspiring project.

Jan Edwards

We’re having to re-think Project Poppy due to the coronavirus lockdown. Make (Good) Trouble is now looking at ways to share the project online which will mean that more young people can get involved if they’re interested. Watch this space!

Hands up if you’ve read the Terms & Conditions when you signed up for a social media account (or anything else online for that matter!)?

The Children’s Commissioner tested social media platforms’ terms & conditions out on children and none of the kids they asked understood them. Did you know that:

“Snapchat can publically display or sell any content young person puts on Live or Local Snapchat, meaning they can use a young person’s face and voice in any way, how Instagram can read a user’s Direct Messages and how all companies collect a range of person information including how long you spend on certain pages, where you are and who is in your phone book. They remind children that YouTube is owned by Google, so if you create a YouTube account, your data will be collected by Google and linked to other information Google has about you.” (childrenscommissioner.gov.uk)

Thankfully, the Children’s Commissioner has published handy versions for us so we can better understand what we’re all signing up to. If you’re a parent, you could use these to discuss them with your children.

We don’t think parents should ban kids from using social media. We do think children (and everyone else) should properly understand what they’re signing up to.