RISE (Research methods In School Education) is funded by King’s Widening Participation and was established in 2016 as a collaboration between researchers from HERON and The REACH (Resilience, Ethnicity and AdolesCent mental Health) Study. RISE aims to engage young people on the topic of health inequalities, deliver research methods training and inspire young people to think critically about local community health. By creatively engaging local secondary school and sixth form students currently underrepresented on KCL undergraduate psychology and other health-related programmes, including nursing and medicine, the project also aims to encourage young people to stay in education and develop a career in science and health-related professions.


RISE 2019

  • January-February: RISE are holding a 4-week course with Year 9 Psychology students at Harris Girls’ Academy East Dulwich. The course aims to build on the students’ existing knowledge of psychological research by providing illustrative examples of how to apply research methods to real data, relevant to their community.
  • April-June: In the summer term, we are running a 7-week RISE course with A-Level Psychology students at St-Martin-in-the-Field High School for Girls. Students will receive in-depth research methods training and, at the end of the course, they will have the opportunity to design and present their own research study at a half-day Psychological Research Conference held at the school.

RISE 2017-18

Following the success of the workshop series at CTK Aquinas Sixth Form College in 2016 (see below), HERON was awarded further funding by King’s Widening Participation to run an extended version of the course from September to December 2017. The workshops were incorporated as a 10-week cross-discipline elective module; an official part of the college curriculum as part of CTK’s aim of providing key skills for university and employment. The course consists of 9 one-hour interactive workshops elaborating and extending upon the A-level Sociology and Psychology curricula by teaching research methods in an engaging way.  At the end of the course, students were invited to deliver a short presentation on what they learned in front of a panel of academic researchers from KCL. This event was held at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in the Robin Murray Lecture Theatre on the 13th December 2017, 2-5pm. All students received certificates and book vouchers for completing the course, and special certificates were awarded for the best group presentation, and best individual speaker.

RISE 2016-17

In August 2016, HERON was awarded funding by King’s Widening Participation to expand on work with local colleges and implement a series of workshops. The educational intervention, RISE, was piloted at Christ The King (CTK) Aquinas Sixth Form College which has a high number of ethnic minority pupils often under-represented in higher education. Using a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) framework, students contributed to co-producing and improving the intervention so that an effective learning experience could be rolled out more widely in secondary schools and colleges.

16 students applied and were accepted onto the course which consisted of three 2-hour interactive workshops elaborating and extending upon the A-level Sociology and Psychology curricula by teaching statistics and research methods in an engaging way. Throughout the three workshops, published studies of local community health data, including the South East London Community Health study (SELCoH), were used as illustrative examples of how to apply research methods to real data, relevant to their community. Themes covered a range of health related topics including mental health, illicit drug use, health service use, and discrimination. Using the skills gained from the workshops students used the presented ideas on community health to inspire their own research designs to tackle health problems most important to them. Facilitators mentored four separate groups to prepare their research design for presentation at a final event at the ORTUS, Maudsely Hospital, on the 8th February 2017, where students presented their work to an expert panel of researchers at King’s College London. At the end of each workshop and the final event, researchers collected feedback from students through feedback questionnaires in order to improve the pilot intervention and gauge the success of the public engagement activity. In addition, a focus group was conducted with seven students two weeks after the final event.

The RISE course at CTK was co-presented at the Engaged Learning Conference in Sheffield by RISE members Sanchika Campbell and Dr Stephanie Beards on 6th-7th July 2017. A paper describing and evaluating the process of co-producing RISE using a YPAR approach and the key learning points derived from this process will be submitted for peer-review in Autumn 2017.

Work Experience at King's College London

On the 12th July 2017, six students who attended the RISE course at CTK Aquinas Sixth Form College in 2016 took part in a day of work experience at King’s College London. Students took part in a wide range of activities including a tour of the brain bank at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, a computer-based task on implicit bias and an interactive session on using virtual reality environments in research whereby the students were able to try out different simulations using a virtual reality headset. This work experience day gave students an insight into the wide variety of work that researchers do.

RISE at Harris Girls Academy

In June 2017, RISE provided a shortened version of the course over two workshops at Harris Girls Academy, East Dulwich, South London through existing contacts with The REACH Study. Eight year 12 students attended the first workshop and an additional ten year 10 students joined the second workshop. The course content was similar to that of the first course at CTK, except students did not put together their own research design and there was no final event.

Previous workshops

On the 26th April 2012, HERON ran interactive workshops with Health and Social Care BTEC (level 3) 1st and 2nd year students at Lambeth College. Titled ‘Understanding inequalities and the impact they have on health: findings from a community sample’, the sessions aimed to disseminate findings from the South East London Community Health Study (SELCoH) and stimulate wider discussion as to what the main factors causing health inequalities may be. The sessions were delivered by SELCoH research assistants, Bwalya Kankulu, Billy Gazard and Natasha Smyth.

The session focused on looking at the socio-demographic and socioeconomic determinants of health inequalities in South East London with the aim to provide:

  • An overview of the prevalence of health problems and risk behaviours’ in the community
  • An insight into the impact of demographic and socioeconomic factors, such as age, gender, income and education status on health and wellbeing
  •  An exploration and discussion of what may be the main factors that cause inequalities in health and health service use


Student testimonials


Esma, 19 (Former RISE student and former A-Level student at Christ the King: Aquinas)


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