Schools & Young People


Ketso is being used in schools from primary level to independent work in sixth form projects. It is also being used to engage with disengaged youth in learning and skills programmes outside of school.

This section includes:

Introduction to Ketso in Schools

The Ketso team has worked with a range of schools, including Abraham Moss in Manchester (workshops around sustainability for Geography Key Stage 4) and in schools across Harrogate area, where teams of students used Ketsos in the AMP competition  to develop entrepreneurial ideas for raising money for Water Aid.

At Bouroughbridge High School, we have run two workshops around Study Skills, for GCSE and A Level students. This introduced students to key skills and resulted in teams of students producing posters to display what can be done to help them learn.

Ketso has been used as a revision aid in teaching in University classrooms, and has a great potential for interactive revision in schools.

The use of Ketso for supporting student with learning disabilites is described here.

You may also wish to look at the work that Widening Participation teams in Universities across the country have been doing using the Ketso kit to engage with pupils schools across the UK. Click here.

Mental health and wellbeing in schools    

Cerys Smye-Rumsby, Community Development Worker, West Lancashire Council for Voluntary Service

I use Ketso to explore children’s wellbeing, by going into primary schools and working with groups from year 5/6. I usually have groups of six children using it at one time and they enjoy building up a picture of the issues we are talking about. They suggest their own ‘branch’ titles and encourage each other to contribute.

I have also used Ketso to explore health and wellbeing with asylum seekers and general community groups. It is very easy to use and all those participating found it a good way to get their views across. When working with those who have varied levels of English language, it meant that they could at least contribute one word each with the help of local people joining in.

The recording of results is very straightforward and the spreadsheet is easy to use.

I look forward to further opportunities to develop this work in the West Lancashire area.

Ketso in youth counselling

Mary Ann Maggiore, Launching Young People into Adulthood, Marin County, San Francisco, Bay Area

We work with youth and their parents to create strategies guiding youth to finish their education, find meaningful work and become independent adults. We do this through one-on-one private sessions, public workshops,speaking engagements and through my book Raising a Sane and Successful Teen.

We use Ketso because often when a young person is trying to make their way in the world, they have many scattered ideas and no clear way of evaluating them. With Ketso they can actually see what they are thinking. They can then make a plan because they can assess their resources and even create a logical timeframe for productive action. Ketso is transformative. I have seen over and over again how it produces substantial results.

I use Ketso all the time in my work with young clients. It helps them determine their life path in a visual, tactile way. Ketso engages them so much more effectively than typing or even hand writing an essay.

With Ketso, the forms, the colors, the sense of moving about the image to create a plan, offer a method of truly focusing on new possibilities. And the ability to alter the schema with the arrival of new ideas is tremendously useful. All aspects of the process become very energizing. When the clients are done creating the image I take a picture and email it to them. They can view it and review it any time. I love it and they do too!

An excellent tool. Thank you Ketso!

Change management in education

Anita Devi, Education Consultant

I have used Ketso in a number of contexts in this country and overseas.   Education is about change and transformation.  So I find the kit and methodology useful in a number of contexts.  I always call these sessions “Let’s Ketso!”  People are always intrigued ... does this mean we are going to dance or ???  Many look it up on the internet before we meet. By the time to the session, they are relaxed and excited about the process.

I have used the Ketso approach with teachers, leaders, policy makers, administrators and in a Church context.  It is a great tool for breaking down barriers getting people talking and more importantly enthusiastic about change or developments.  People feel involved, consulted and listened to.   I love the banter that flows and how ideas spark from what someone writes/draws on a leaf. The process allows for refection and refinement; which again people value.  Often I intersperse the activity with reflective walks.  This brings another creative buzz to the process.

Everyone handles change differently.  So I use Ketso to introduce change, help people visualise what that change looks like and to remain solution focussed.  The approach positions change processes in a constructive way – focus on what already exists/works/strengths ... consider potential challenges and how existing strengths can support those challenges or change process. THEN move into ‘action list’ mode.  Too often people jump to action mode and negativity and anxieties then arise.  Ketso can be used alongside other project management approaches – it is that flexible!

I used the Ketso methodology with a School Leadership Team supporting them to move from 'Good' to 'Outstanding'.  The following is a quote about the day from a participant:

"Ketso helped us organise and sort out all the various branches and shoots/leaves for growth  in our head.  It gave our ideas structure and direction. It enabled us to gain short-term and long-term clarity."

Last year, I took Ketso with me to Malawi and used it as a tool to understand the local needs of the teachers and what training they required.  It was great for building relationships and overcoming language barriers.  People valued the freedom to draw on the leaves too!  More recently, I used Ketso at a national conference to demonstrate a structured approach to change management.  Workshop participants were from different parts of the country and had different agendas/scenarios they wanted to address.  These ranged from structural changes, to asses acquisition and vision development. Each participant took one branch and started working through the process relating it to their specific situation.  In twenty minutes, they could see the impact and power such a structured approach would have in moving them forward.

The simplicity and structure of Ketso are its strengths – without a doubt.  Cleaning the resources after an event takes time, but it is SO worth it and they are recyclable.  The website has a number of useful templates, tips and videos; which helped me in the initial stages.

I consider the financial and time investment I made in Ketso worthwhile and value for money.  I am an advocate of social enterprise and Ketso is simply fab!

Twitter: @Butterflycolour  ... I often tweet when I have used my #Ketso Kit

Inspiring and Empowering European Urban Youth to take Environmental Action

British Council Youth in Action Green Urban Living course January 2013

Case study by Jo Wilkes, Creative Engagement

36 Youth from across Europe were invited to Manchester to attend a bespoke 5 day Green Urban Living course to explore the environmental challenges of living in cities across Europe.
Key aims of the course were to:

  • Inspire and empower participants to take action in the communities of their countries. 
  • Explore ways how they could make a difference in their city using various activism tools, ranging from urban gardening to armchair activism using social media.
  • Develop the concept of green urban citizenship.
  • Share skills, talents and stories about past and current projects that are connected with environmental and youth projects and activities.
  • Create project ideas for their local community in cooperation with other participants.

Ketso was a main feature of day four of the course. The participants were taken through the Ketso process to help them design and deliver new Green Urban Living projects in partnership with other participants, which could then be put into action in their own communities. The Ketso process used was:

  • Brown - What GUL projects do you know about, either that you have been part of or have inspired you to want to do something similar.
  • Green - Thinking out of the box, what ideas do you have and your you like to take forward.
  • Grey - What are the challenges to these ideas?
  • Yellow -  What sunny solutions do you have to shine through the clouds to tackle these challenges?
  • Table swap to highlight great ideas and similar projects
  • Icons to show: What project are you going to personally take action on?

There were 30 creative action plans of Green urban environmental projects that were then designed to be delivered from the group. These ranged from greening businesses, guerrilla gardening, environmental workshops, food growing, upcycling, recycling enterprises and community events to taking action in their countries.

Facilitating the project planning process using Ketso with a diverse group of participants from different countries and levels of English was so much easier than other training methods I have used before, it made the process flow easily whilst also giving everyone a voice.  

Planning extended projects

Students have found this workshop plan for developing a dissertation or extended project useful in their independent work- as evidenced in the following quotes:

"Ketso really helped me to organise my extended project - it put everything into perspective and made me realise how focused my topic and research must be. It was great to see all of my ideas and resources listed in front of me and to be able to move them around to create more structure. It also really helped to hear other people's views on my thoughts and ideas - it gave me new insight into perspectives I would never have considered before. My project now has a very clear direction and I will continue to use Ketso throughout the year to evaluate my progress and ensure that I stay on track."   Shannon Bird, A level student

"I found the Ketso workshop to be very useful in helping me plan my dissertation. I had never been to a Ketso workshop and only had a brief idea of what it was, but as the workshop progressed, the results that I got from my own ideas and my peers' help were amazing. Before the workshop I had only had the title of my dissertation, minimal planning research and very little idea of what to include. Kesto helped me map out how to start my dissertation, different topics and subtitles that could be included in the project and also the draw-backs that could minimise the reliability of my work and research. Personally, the workshop helped me immensely in planning my work, and gave me a clear direction for my project. I would greatly recommend the Ketso kit as well as the workshop to anyone." Vanessa Nhara, A level student

Working with disengaged young people

Katie Stevens, Health and Well Being Project Manager at Groundwork South West

Groundwork South West have been working with young people aged 15-16years old who have been excluded from school following bad behaviour or low attendance. The children attend a Youth Centre 4 days a week and partake in lessons in which the children will gain the equivalent of 4 G.C.S.E’s. Groundwork South West are delivering the community aspect of their work, focusing on the key skill of ‘working with others’. The young people struggle to focus on an activity for a length of time and find it difficult to engage with the adults teaching them to put their point across in a non aggressive way.

We have used the Ketso Kits with the young people to highlight their thoughts on the positive and negative aspects of attending the programme. They were also asked to put down challenges that they thought would hinder their attendance or behaviour on the programme, and then discussed ways of overcoming these challenges. Using the Ketso Kit as a tool for this activity was useful in engaging with the young people and allowing them to write down ideas that they may find difficult to voice in a group situation. The activity was useful for the young people to understand their peers’ views on how they were feeling about the programme.

Ketso in personal tutoring

Ketso has been used in personal tutoring to great effect. In one example, the young boy is a reluctant writer. Normally the tutor writes down his ideas so that they can carry on the discussion, otherwise he loses concentration.  With the ketso kit, he loved writing down initial ideas under headings the tutor had determined and set out on the branches, This enabled a critical discussion of the novel as well as the tutee being able to see links between the topics.

The pupil said he enjoyed the session, especially being able to move around the table and not being stuck rigidly in a chair. As this student is better at explaining ideas orally, he was able to use this skill as well as writing using Ketso. He even asked for an extra tutoring session to complete the Ketso. He said that it felt like it was valuable work, compared to when he does similar work on sugar paper, that just gets thrown away at the end. The Ketso ideas felt more permanent.

The tutor commented:
“With Ketso I have just had the most productive and positive tutoring session ever.” Claire Mahony

Ketso with primary school children

Ketso has successfully been used in widening participation activities at the University of Manchester with year 6 primary school children. Following a tour of the campus, the children worked with Student Ambassadors using Ketso to explore the following questions:

  • What do you already know about being a student? (What is good about being a student)
  • What’s negative about being a student?
  • The students swapped tables to develop solutions to each others' problems.

The themes covered were:

  • Social opportunities/making friends
  • Studying
  • Living
  • Jobs/careers/future

Examples of the problems and solutions developed included:

  • Partying too much and losing all your food money - Meet people other ways than just parties
  • Having no friends - Because there are so many people you will make friends; Be yourself, go to lots of clubs
  • Not getting the job you want - You don’t need to keep it forever and you can just keep looking.
  • Getting lost - Ask a teacher or an experienced student
  • Money and debt - Save up, get p/t job, spend money wisely
  • Getting lost - use a map, choose smaller Uni
  • Scared of cooking for self - Cookery lessons

Written feedback from the students was very positive – with all of the students saying ticking ‘liked’ or ‘liked a lot’ for using Ketso.

Alison Gregory, Undergraduate Recruitment & Widening Participation Officer, who ran the workshop, had this to say:

"I designed and delivered a Ketso workshop aimed at primary school children with the objective of re-enforcing the benefits of HE and the fears/concerns that might turn them off the idea. I was then able to get them to address fears and concerns by coming up with workable solutions.

The session was a great success, there was a real buzz amongst the 30 participants and I think they were able to feel more confident about university as a result of the workshop and the student ambassadors who helped facilitate the tables. It was great fun!"

Whilst using Ketso with primary school children is a relatively new area for us, we feel it has a great potential, as suggested by the following quote:

"Ketso is  a highly versatile, visually appealing and engaging resource for schools. The colourful and tactile nature of the kit makes it very attractive for children of all abilities and ages. As well as being used by teachers with their classes across a range of curriculum areas and situations, e.g. Literacy, Geography, Science, PSHCE, project and group work, revision exercises etc, it could also be used by the school for staff meetings and INSET days, therefore providing value for money from a kit.  I would highly recommend it for the primary age range." Deborah Wetherall, Primary School Teacher

Equitable Education

The Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change and GRAMNet at the University of Glasgow co-hosted a session to introduce Ketso to academics and practitioners working in education in Scotland.

In this workshop wth twelve participants from the university as well as Linkes, Govan Hill Community Development Trust and the Red Cross used Ketso to explore the School of Education’s core theme: Equitable Education. This gave an opportunity to share ideas, review best practice and develop ideas for the future. 

The full set of results from this workshop can be downloaded here.

The distribution of ideas by the themes that were used to structure the discussion can be seen in the chart below. Ideas that were highlighted as important by participants included:

What is working well at the moment?

  • Start from the learner
  • One size does not fit all
  • Providing TIME to build trust
  • Visuals as well as words

Future possibilities:

  • Improve dialogue between formal + non-formal learning environment
  • Opportunities to experiment
  • Increased opportunity for skill sharing - peer education
  • Increased value of practical skills
  • New creative methods
  • Learn from others
  • Look & listen
  • Capacity for more holistic dealing with the student
  • Love
  • Flexibility

Teachers engaging with academics

Ketso was used in a workshop held at the Computing At Schools (CAS) national conference, on June 14-15, 2012. The conference is for teachers of ICT and Computing from across the UK, and was exploring how universities can best support the proposed Network of Teaching Excellence.

Amanda Banks Gatenby, APE (Advanced Professional Education) in Computer Science, who facilitated a Ketso session at the conference, commented:

"The Ketso workshop went really well. As a first time facilitator as opposed to a participant, the thing I found most interesting is how Ketso does more than capture just the conversations you hear.

Others involved in leading the workshop felt at the end that they hadn't really got as much out of it as expected, but then when they sat down a few days later with the kit and examined the comments in detail, they realised with surprise just how rich and varied the ideas were."

In addition, she commented that the kit enabled academics and teachers to engage well with each other during the workshop, despite this being the first time that some of the participants had worked in such mixed groups.