Highgrove Education

Social Skills

This is a skill-building group designed to enrich social interactions, with a focus on strategies related to making and maintaining friendships. The course involves discussion and practise of strategies to navigate and understand ‘expected’ social interactions and responses that can be helpful when making and maintaining friendships. It is based on the UCLA evidence-based PEERS® for Adolescents programme, and it is strongly advised by PEERS that students beginning this programme do so alongside beginning an activity which may provide them with a new peer group with whom they will have the opportunity to practise the skills covered. Practising the skills at home, with family members, is also recommended. Although active participation in the course is encouraged, its philosophy hinges not on there being ‘one right way’ of interacting and reacting, but helpful strategies and a better understanding of social nuances to navigate social situations.

Key Information



Access Course Enrolment:
  • Enrolment in our pre-GCSE or pre-A level access course.
  • Access to our self-study materials and platform, live class lessons, and individual teacher support in Office Hours.
  • Weekly teacher-marked homework.
  • Half termly reports.
  • Support from our SENDCo for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities, including assessment for access arrangement entitlement.
  • Support with English for pupils whose first language is not English.
  • A Highgrove Education Office365 account, including Teams, SharePoint and a school email
TeacherMrs Karen Cowan, SENDCo & Director of Neuroinclusion
Course Length10 weeks
Live LessonsOne 45-minute lesson per week
HomeworkShort, fun weekly homework tasks to practise newly learned skills.
Entry RequirementsPersonal interest in developing social skills is essential. Before entrance, you are encouraged to meet with Mrs Cowan.

Course Syllabus

Lesson 1Defining Friendships & Finding a Source of Friends
Lesson 2Trading Information and Maintaining Conversations 
Lesson 3Starting and Entering Conversations
Lesson 4Exiting Conversations
Lesson 5Appropriate Use of Humour & Being a Good Sport
Lesson 6Get-togethers
Lesson 7Handling Disagreements
Lesson 8Handling Teasing, Embarrassing Feedback and Bullying
Lesson 9Minimising Rumours and Gossip
Lesson 10Reputations - and Changing Them

Teacher Profile

Ms Cowan is dedicated to supporting individuals to embrace their individual strengths and acquire strategies to overcome challenges so they can access the wider curriculum, enjoy the process of learning and achieve their potential. She trained as a SpLD (Patoss) Dyslexia Assessor in 2012, with a specialism in dysgraphia and hypermobility. She has a particular interest and expertise in neurodivergent conditions, working memory and processing difficulties. She been a SENco since 2019, taking responsibility for determining and providing appropriate support for students at school. She is an UCLA-trained PEERS Provider and is trained to lead DBT-informed sessions for adolescents and for families.