Developing the spirit in young people does not happen by chance. It involves assisting young people to become aware of their 'higher nature' and their potential as human beings. SYEP introduces young people to a process of tranquillity and personal discovery so that they can achieve one or more of the following:
· Appreciate their self-worth.
· Show improved behaviour at school and at home.
· Be willing to engage in learning at school and service in the community.
Evaluation and some results
SYEP is now running effective programmes in seven Swindon schools, both primary and secondary. The Director of the Centre for Education and Inclusion at the University of Worcester evaluated the work of SYEP in 2006. His report concluded: "Feedback from the Excellence in Cities government initiative has been enthusiastic, recognising it as an innovative new strategy to refocus and re-energise disaffected young people in both primary and secondary schools. Pupils who have been through the programme express strong views that it is personally effective to them and even 'turned them around' from failure to success. All concerned have the highest opinion of the effectiveness of this programme in terms of increasing the personal confidence of disaffected young people and giving them a sense of direction, agency and aspiration."
The following are some typical responses from young people who have benefited from SYEP:
· “I don’t think it has changed my week, it has changed my whole life.”
· “I used to want to commit suicide. Now I know there are reasons to live.”
· “Coming here has helped me come off report.”
· “My mum said I’m a different child.”
· “You can concentrate more in lessons.”
· “I’ve not got such a bad attitude towards my parents.”