ITV's 'School for Stammerers' Documentary Produces Great Results in Newcastle upon Tyne

In January 2018 the 'School for Stammerers' documentary was broadcast on ITV. It immediately produced a great deal of interest and many people who stammer were motivated to attend a McGuire Programme intensive course. The first UK course in 2018 was held in Newcastle upon Tyne, 7th-11th February 2018.

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Steven Cairns instructing a session during the McGuire Programme course in the Royal Station Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne, February 2018

On Tuesday 9th January 2018, at 9pm, the 'School for Stammerers' documentary was broadcast on ITV in the UK.  It followed the experiences of six people who stammer who had signed up to attend a course in London.  The documentary ran for 90 minutes and was informative, emotive and really focused on the coaches and graduates of the McGuire Programme and what they do to help new students during a course.  All coaches and graduates have been through the McGuire Programme themselves and all have first hand experience of what it's like to stutter.

Before the credits at the end of 'School for Stammerers' had finished rolling the telephone began to ring and emails and text messages came flooding into my inboxes.  2018 was going to be a busy year and the first UK course of the year, Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK North region, was only four weeks away.

As usual, the annual McGuire Programme UK North course in Newcastle upon Tyne was booked to be held at the Royal Station Hotel in the city centre.  The dates were Wednesday 7th February until Sunday 11th February.  All McGuire Programme courses in the UK begin on a Wednesday evening and end on the following Sunday afternoon.  New students on our courses are required to stay in the hotel for four nights, as we work long hours during the four days.

The Course Instructor for the Newcastle course was Steven Cairns, from Edinburgh.  Steven attended his first course in Dundee in 2009.  He had instructed twice before and had visited Newcastle many times.

The Course Organiser for the Newcastle course was Lisa Nealan from just outside Morpeth in Northumberland.  Lisa's first course was in Newcastle in 2015, just three short years ago.  She did a fantastic job organising the 2018 course and will be instructing a course herself later on this year.

Twenty new students completed the 2018 Newcastle upon Tyne course.  Nearly seventy graduates, coaches and instructors who had already attended McGuire Programme courses turned up to help the new students.  As usual, all of the new students varied in the severity of their stutter, their ages and both genders were represented.  The ages ranged from 14 years old to 60 years old.  There were sixteen males and four females.  Six of the new students were under the age of eighteen and were accompanied on the course by parents or guardians.  The stutters we saw on the Wednesday evening ranged from the very obvious to the hardly noticeable.  There were more covert stutters in evidence than overt ones.

Steven Cairns instructed a strict and disciplined course.  He allowed coaches to use their initiative and increased the amount of coaching time given to the coaches.  Coaches were also empowered to leave the room and take new students with them for short periods of personal coaching to deal with specific issues.

All the new students did incredibly well and the leaving speeches on the Sunday afternoon were some of the most emotional I have witnessed in over seventeen years on the McGuire Programme.  Well done to all involved!  The McGuire Programme is truly life changing and the new students left the course in control of their stutters.  On the Wednesday evening their stammers were definitely controlling them.

The next McGuire Programme UK North course is in Harrogate, 11th-15t April 2018.  Looking forward to it!