Who we are

We are specialists in practical resilience training in schools. All our work is based on research evidence and years of experience of working with schools and young people.

We are a charity and we work in partnership with schools across the UK, developing solutions with them that answer the challenges they and their students face.

We deliver flexible, practical programmes that can transform behaviour and learning.

Our three core principles of resilience training

  1. Our training is practical and effective because we always base it on solid research, theory and evidence.
  2. We teach real skills for the real world. They’re transferrable so they’ll last a lifetime.
  3. Adults matter: your role is vital in helping children and young people be resilient so you’re at the centre of our training.

Why are adults so vital in our resilience training? Click here

Click here for our Terms and Conditions.
  • “The facilitators went out of their way to ensure we had the best learning experience.”

The How to Thrive Team

Lucy Bailey and Emma Judge founded How to Thrive in 2009 and today the organisation has a large and diverse team of highly qualified specialists in Positive Psychology, education leadership and workforce development.

We choose and train members of our team to make sure we can match your school with trainers who offer a blend of experience, knowledge and style that meets your needs.

Meet Our Founders

img_7070Lucy Bailey is Head of How to Thrive. She is proud of her beginnings as a youth worker and has 17 years of experience of working in, developing, reforming and managing children’s services.

Over the last nine years Lucy has focused on education and has been instrumental in embedding the Penn Resilience Programme into the curriculum in schools and services across the UK. Lucy directs the Healthy Minds research project, has an MSc in Practice Based Research, a BSc in Social Policy and Criminology, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education.


Emma Judge

Emma Judge is a Psychologist with a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.
She is a Lead Trainer for the University of Pennsylvania on the Penn Resilience Programme and works across the public, educational and private sectors in leadership development, the implementation of well-being strategies, and curriculum design. Emma has been involved in the UK implementation of the PRP since it all began and has also taken a strategic role in the Healthy Minds project. Emma speaks and teaches on the subject of positive psychology, well-being and emotional resilience, and is working towards a PhD in Organisational Health and Well-Being at Lancaster University.

Our Advisory Board

The Advisory Board provide advice and challenge to steer the developments of How to Thrive.  We are very grateful for their expertise and commitment to the work that we do.

The board members are:

  • John Wood Chief Executive Officer – Hertfordshire County Council (Chair)
  • Lord Richard Layard Programme Director of Wellbeing – London School of Economics
  • Dr Martin Seligman Director of the Positive Psychology Centre – University of Pennsylvania
  • Professor Felicia Huppert Professor of Psychology – University of Cambridge
  • Professor Philip A Woods Chair in Educational Policy, Democracy and Leadership of the School of Education – University of Hertfordshire

Research is at the heart of our work

There are many resilience programmes out there, so how do you know which to choose?

Our advice is to make sure you select a programme that is based on solid research into both the nature of resilience and the most effective ways of training young people to be resilient.

This doesn’t mean your training will be dry and theoretical: at How to Thrive we create programmes that are lively, relevant and inspiring and all the more so because they’re proven to work.

  • “The training was excellent, especially reflecting on why I behave in a certain way in professional, personal and family contexts.”

The Healthy Minds research project

Healthy Minds is a national research project examining how students can be helped to develop emotional resilience and self-efficacy alongside their academic development.

How to Thrive and Healthy Minds

We are directing the Healthy Minds project, working with Lord Richard LayardProfessor John Coleman, James O’Shaughnessy and the PSHE Association with funding from the Education Endowment Foundation. The research is being led by the London School of Economics (LSE) and the National Institute for Economic and Social Research.

The study is tracking 11,000 students from 31 secondary schools over four years and the results will be available in 2019. Schools involved in the study are teaching lessons as part of their core curriculum to enable their students to navigate the world within and beyond school, and to thrive and flourish.

How to Thrive is leading the curriculum design with Professor Coleman. We provide on-going support to the schools in the study.

Schools who aren’t involved in the study can also choose to follow the curriculum, either as a whole or using individual elements that they teach as stand-alone lessons, and we offer them support too.

To find out more about Healthy Minds go to www.healthymindsinschools.org or contact us

Penn Resilience Programme

The Penn Resilience Programme (PRP) is a curriculum developed by a team of psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States. It builds resilience and promotes realistic thinking, adaptive coping skills and social problem solving in children.

We use PRP in our work with schools and young people because it has been well researched and shown to deliver significant, measurable results for 2 years beyond the lessons. It has been taught in schools across the UK for 10 years.

UK Research on the Penn Resilience Programme


Measuring the impact of the Penn Resilience Programme (PRP) has been important for development and roll out of the PRP across the UK. The PRP has been extensively evaluated in the USA and other places and so refreshingly came to the UK with a strong evidence base when compared to other programmes of the same type and length. Research here in the UK found similar results to preceding findings.

The UK findings of the 3 year study involving 4000 students, taught universally (not targeted) at 21 secondary schools in Manchester, South Tyneside and Hertfordshire.

  • The quantitative work found a significant improvement in
    • pupils depression symptom scores
    • school attendance rates
    • academic attainment in English
    • anxiety scores
    • maths attainment concentrated in a few groups of pupils
  • The impact varied by pupil characteristics with a larger impact for
    • pupils entitled to free school meals
    • who had not attained the national targets at Key Stage 2
    • who had worse initial symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Teachers were extremely positive about the ideas underlying the programme and about the training they had received. Most reported that they used the skills themselves.
  • Pupils were positive about the programme and were using the PRP skills in real life situations.

It is important to be clear that teaching one set of 18 lessons won’t see this impact last forever and this research illustrated that at the 3 year follow up. This is in-line with findings in similar programmes/interventions monitored beyond a 3 month follow up. At How to Thrive we are realistic about the need for reinforcement because, like any good habits, you need reminding of them! That said, we see real value in these significant, yet relatively, short term outcomes,  enabling young people to develop self-efficacy, manage early difficulties, build empathy and peer support and decreasing the risk of  mental illness. Practice and reinforcement is discussed more here.

The full research report on the PRP in the UK is available online here

PRP and Anti-bullying Reviews

Independent Secondary School Anti-bullying Reviews in Hertfordshire during 2010 reported the following;

“The Resilience Programme has been delivered in 2 of the 8 schools visited.  The successful impact of the programme was evident in the different and more positive responses of pupils in those year groups that had been involved when compared with their older peers.” 

PRP Research in UK Primary Schools

Research results in 3 Hertfordshire primary schools produced outcomes in line with other studies.

The quantitative results of the research show that pupils benefited from the PRP with improvement to their subjective wellbeing and their behaviour. Specifically the results suggest an improvement on 3 of the 4 measures as follows;

  • Significant improvement in pupils depression symptom scores
  • Significant improvement on the anxiety scores
  • Suggestion that the depression and anxiety improvements were slighter better for girls than boys
  • The results did not show an impact on prosocial behaviour
  • A sizeable positive impact on behaviour scores for both boys and girls

Primary school teachers told us…

“I have by far the most challenging children in my form class of 30, they had prior to PRP already won themselves a considerable reputation for being ‘hard to handle’.”

“Actually they were really good in accelerated reading class today…” 

“I have to say they were really good in my lesson, they can be quite fun to work with…” 

“Teachers are hopelessly overloaded and stressed. New = more work in most people’s minds. PRP however is something that could make teachers as well as students lives more fluent and enjoyable. I’d like to help be part of the ‘get the message out there’ team of the future.”

“Students arrive on time; they are enthusiastic and want to do activities. They are disappointed when they have to miss their PRP lessons.”

A Case Study using the PRP in Transition to Secondary School

Download the Case study provided by Monk’s Walk, a secondary school in Hertfordshire with creative PRP Teachers.

They designed and delivered a successful session as part of their transition day that illustrates the opportunities for using the skills and knowledge of the PRP beyond the lessons.

Talk to us: we’ll help you plan your next move.

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