After two extensive lockdowns, a summer teeming with endless exams and the sense of impending doom that came at the mention of TAGs, teaching life-skills in schools is becoming increasingly important.


It’s already November.

Only two months ago, we were practically skipping into school, looking forward to new teachers, new lessons, and a fresh new start after a year of lockdowns. 


And then came the barrage of homework, gruelling lessons and a timetable that ensures I spend every single day regretting my entire existence. The first few weeks felt like lugging around a bag of bricks, and I remember the torrent of exhausted sixth formers moving lifelessly into the conference room for our fortnightly meeting times.


ENRICHMENT OPPORTUNITIES read the board, and instantaneously the entire room was ablaze with chatter. There were opportunities for classes on finance, mindfulness, current affairs, and cooking, exhibiting an array of life skills we would need outside of the school curriculum.


A couple of weeks passed and the change in moods was considerable if not unbelievable. Wednesday afternoons provided a break from the countless lessons and piles of homework.


When asked about why life skills in the form of enrichment opportunities were important, one Year 12 student said, ‘Doing mindfulness helps me relax and teaches me how to balance and handle stress in my day-to-day life.’


Another Year 12 student commented on the importance of financial awareness classes which had taught them about ‘understanding how credit cards and bank cards work, which is important as financial awareness is becoming increasingly relevant for us’.


Other popular opportunities include BSL which provides students with the necessary skills to communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and basic cookery which teaches students simple recipes that they could implement in their university lives. There have also been attempts by some year 12s to introduce the idea of a first aid enrichment.


According to the World Health Organisation, life skills are ‘A group of psychosocial competencies and interpersonal skills that help people make informed decisions, solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, empathize with others, and cope with and manage their lives in a healthy and responsible manner’. 


It is clear that the implementation of enrichment activities by our school is a great success, not only in helping students become more well-rounded individuals but also providing them with an outlet for stress and other negative emotions. Opportunities like these need to be woven into our ’normal’ school curriculums and be taught extensively along-side our academic subjects. It is a proven fact that teaching life-skills in lessons has a significant impact on young people’s lives from improving their decision-making skills to providing them with the means to build healthy and happy relationships. Regardless of whether your school or institution offers enrichment opportunities, it is critical that we are proactive in setting ourselves up for success whether that is by starting a new Finance and Economics club in your school or spending 20 minutes following a Meditation on YouTube. Ultimately, it is you who should be actively building yourself up to be an empowered and independent individual.