Consultancy Case Study

Pupil wellbeing grows when gratitude flows

The City of London Academy Highgate Hill School (COLAHH) opened as a mixed, all-ability, non-denominational academy in September 2017. It believes that all students can thrive in their academic lives and become active contributors to their local, national and global communities, if the right environment is provided.

A culture of wellbeing supports their vision and is a primary focus of the school and as such, Highgate Hill sought a way to further embed their core values of Altruism, Respect and Tenacity (ART) across their school community. They partnered with BrainCanDo to explore the best ways to achieve this. Together, they agreed on a gratitude intervention, tailored to reflect the values of the school.

What did we deliver?

BrainCanDo has provided the framework to support the implementation of a gratitude intervention across the school community, across an academic year, beginning with ‘Nice November – a month of gratitude’.

This has included the design of a bespoke gratitude journal to reflect the values of Highgate Hill School which was given to every pupil and member of staff.

BrainCanDo has worked closely with the senior leaders to provide staff training, project launch, ongoing project management and consultancy.


Alongside the leadership team, BrainCanDo helped to launch the project to gain ‘buy in’ from across the whole school at the start of the project and made regular visits to the school throughout the project to check on progress.

A key role for BrainCanDo was to bring the academic rigour to evaluate the intervention and to raise the profile of the project amongst key stakeholders including pupils, parents, staff, governors; DfE & OFSTED. 

Prince Gennuh, Principal explained, “The gratitude project supported our work. We have seen a stronger engagement and resilience in our pupils and as such, wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the BrainCanDo team to others, or engage with them again in the future.”

“We found the BrainCanDo team were proactive and flexible in their approach to the work, whilst also being mindful of the everyday demands of staff working in a school environment. As an independent organisation, we trust the integrity of the work produced.”

Prince Gennuh, Principal at City of London Academy, Highgate Hill

Key findings

Throughout Nice November: a month of gratitude, the school saw a 7% gain in psychological sense of school membership and feelings of belonging across the entire school community.

Following the success of Nice November, BrainCanDo are working with the school on a Marvelous March wellbeing intervention.

“I feel like the time you have to reflect makes you think of all the good things that happened and if you’re feeling angry it makes you think of the good things that happened and makes you feel better”

Pupil at City of London Academy, Highgate Hill