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Understanding Teens

Understanding Teens

Events: We Talk to the Experts

North Bridge House Canonbury is committed to the personal development of our pupils and to enhancing their academic performance. As such, we take an active approach to understanding teenagers and how to best support them.

Should schools be flexible and work with rather than against the needs of teens? We are running a series of events to find out.

Understanding teens’ mental and emotional wellbeing

On 10th May, we heard from the inspirational mental health envoy and founder of ThinkWell, Jonny Benjamin, who discussed how to identify and address the mental and emotional wellbeing of our teens.

It comes as no surprise that, on average, children with better health and emotional wellbeing are higher academic achievers – however, it is shocking that 67%  feel isolated due to problems they have faced and 1 in 5 have suicidal thoughts*. In fact, The Royal College of Psychiatrists state that 75% of all mental health problems start before the age of 21.

Eight years ago, Jonny Benjamin was ‘talked out’ of taking his own life by a passer-by on Waterloo Bridge. He has since launched ThinkWell to educate young people about mental health through interactive workshops  – and provide the support he says is lacking.

Over the course of the evening, Jonny shared his own moving experience and provided advice on how to identify and tackle such issues.

Mr Benjamin is now a mental health campaigner and film maker, whose ‘Finding Mike’ campaign became a global phenomenon and eventually led to his emotional reunion with his saviour on Waterloo Bridge that day. His subsequent award-winning documentary, Finding Mike: The Stranger on the Bridge aired on Channel 4 last year.

Jonny also has the ear of key policymakers in the mental health sector and has met with Sam Gyimah (Education and Childcare Minister) and Alistair Burt (Social Care Minister) to push mental health provision up the agenda.

*Source: Connected Generation Report 2015 – survey of 5,000 young people aged 13-24 across the UK*

Previous Event

‘Understanding teens: the adolescent brain’

On 2nd March, Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore joined us to discuss how the social environment and the social brain affect adolescent behaviour – and how parents and educators can use this information to help teens maximise their potential.

Prof. Blakemore explained how adolescence is a time characterised by change – hormonally, physically, psychologically and socially – and how, despite previous thinking, the adolescent brain is still subject to significant change after childhood.

Prof. Blakemore, a leading social neuroscientist of adolescent development, revealed how the social brain – the network of brain regions involved in understanding others – undergoes substantial structural and functional reorganisation during the teenage years.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London and co-director of the Wellcome Trust PhD Programme in Neuroscience at UCL.

Click here to find out more about University College London’s Prof. Blakemore.

For further reading on the adolescent brain, explore the links below:

Live Science – 5 Facts About the Teen Brain
Live Science – Stress is More Stressful for Teens Than Adults

Previous Event

‘Teenagers and the School Day: what research tells us’

On 25th November 2015, we were delighted to welcome Dr Paul Kelley, the expert behind research into teen sleep, as well as many interested parents and guests.

NBH Canonbury’s Headteacher, Jonathan Taylor, invited Dr Kelley of Oxford University to explain the findings from his TeenSleep project (run by Oxford’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute), and his scientific reasoning behind the stereotypical teen behaviour – awake late at night and grouchy in the morning. Neuroscientists now believe that changes in the adolescent brain make teenagers sleepy in the morning and more alert at night, and that delaying the school day can help youngsters study.

Dr Kelley explained that the 14-18 year old body clock is two hours out of sync with society’s 9-to-5 culture, in which we get up at about 7am and go to bed at approximately 11pm. 17 year olds are around yet another hour out of sync, so could realistically rise at 10am and as a result, perform better throughout the day.

Dr Kelley’s work has been influential in shaping schools’ timetables, including that of North Bridge House Canonbury, where Mr Taylor has made school starts a little later for Sixth Formers – and seen positive results.

A former head teacher himself, Dr Kelley changed his school’s timetable after a decade researching the subject. He found that academic results went up and that his students were much more tolerable with each other and with their teachers.

For further reading on the Teen Sleep subject, explore the links below:
BBC – Sleep scientists’ wake-up call for later school starts
Guardian – Major study of teenage sleep patterns aims to assess impact on learning
Huffington Post – Making Time for Sleep: Afternoon School Starts
Telegraph – Teenagers to start school at 10am in Oxford University sleep experiment


NBH Canonbury in the Media

Research into the teenage brain and how teenagers’ sleeping patterns affect their performance in class is a hot topic right now. North Bridge House Canonbury Head Teacher, Jonathan Taylor speaks about the School’s efforts to maximise student output and success.

Click on the links below to view the news articles.

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