The ‘Miss Understood’ course run by school youth worker Lea-Ann Jones from Grace Academy Darlaston, addressed topics including developing a healthy body image, friendships, handling emotions, dating and aspirations.
The girls from Year Eight and Year Nine who took part in ‘Miss Understood’ scored an average 7 points higher on the Rosenberg self-esteem quiz after the course compared to when they started.
On Graduation Day make-up artist Fiona Kolawole gave the girls advice about enhancing their natural beauty and she said:
“The real facts about media and beauty are that everything can be digitally enhanced and perfected in magazines to make you believe in something that isn’t real. Young people tend to aim for this kind of beauty perfection that is then unachievable, and this can lead to low self-esteem.
“Inner self-esteem produces a healthy lifestyle and when you feel good, you naturally look good. Inner self esteem is a quality that can be built daily, the more it is nurtured with the right fuel through the right channels.”
Speaking about her experience of the course, student Bobbie Whitehouse said:
“I realised that other people feel the same way I do and I’m not alone.”
Student Selphie Spencer said:
“This course has meant a lot to me, I feel so much better and more confident and I met new people and made new friends.”
Sarah Bartlett, Ethos Support Consultant, Grace Academy, who developed the course to help build the character and confidence of students, said:
“Research has shown that six out of ten girls avoid activities in school because they feel bad about their looks, such as avoiding answering a question in class, and this course can make a real difference to the confidence levels of students, as well as their academic achievement.
“At the end of the day, if young people feel better about themselves, they will do better – in life, academically and in their future relationships. ‘Miss Understood’ is a key part of Grace Academy’s ‘Building Healthy Relationships’ programme.
“I think this club is so important for young girls today who can struggle with a sense of their identity and self-worth, especially in this digital world where they spend so much time.
“Every teenage girl wants to fit in and feel accepted, and 90% of girls think that TV and magazines focus too much on what women look like instead of what they achieve. Girls need to know how special, precious and unique they are so that they can avoid looking for approval and affirmation in unhealthy ways and resist peer pressure.”
The ‘Miss Understood’ club has been run by Grace Academy Darlaston for five years and uses the strapline: “Real Me – Real Beauty – Real Friends.” The course boosts the confidence of students who are then more able to take a positive approach to their studies and share what they have learned with their peers.
Student Bobbie Whitehouse made and decorated a “Miss Understood” cake to celebrate the end of the course, and to share with her new friends.