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How your child with social, emotional and mental health needs is supported in school

There are different types and degrees of social, emotional and mental health needs that require different levels of support. If your child has social, emotional or mental health needs they may have problems with some or all of the following:

  • Being unhappy, with low self-esteem or poor self-image
  • Being confrontational and disruptive in the classroom
  • Being withdrawn
  • Being anxious
  • A fear of bullying
  • Interacting with their peers and/or adults
  • Expressing their feelings
  • Anger/anger management
  • Self-harming
  • Hyperactive tendencies and attention difficulties
  • Undiagnosed or diagnosed learning difficulties
  • Underachieving

The type and level of support put in place will depend on your child’s individual needs.

Schools will use a graduated approach - a system to identify and meet the needs of all children and young people, including those with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).

Most children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs will make good progress and achieve well when the right support is in place.

Quality First Teaching

Quality First Teaching is high quality teaching which provides appropriate learning opportunities to all pupils, whatever their individual needs. It is the first step of a graduated (or stepped) approach in responding to pupils who have, or may have, SEND. Staff knowledge and understanding of SEND is a key factor to good Quality First Teaching outcomes.

All staff must have knowledge and understanding of the SEND Code of Practice 2014 and the Equalities Act 2010.

Examples of what might be expected at this level of support:

  • Consistent routines and secure boundaries for your child
  • Opportunities for your child to experience success and be given praise
  • Adjustments to grouping and seating arrangements to allow your child to participate
  • A clear and consistent reward and sanction policy for example, stickers, celebrations or withdrawal of privileges, detentions
  • A positive, caring, whole-school attitude, where your child feels safe
  • General support when learning is moving too fast for your child
  • Taking steps to build your child’s self-confidence
  • Helping your child to work independently
  • Taking special steps to build the relationship with your child
  • When your child is misbehaving, label the behaviour, not your child e.g. ‘bullying is not allowed’ rather than ‘you are being a bully’
  • Access to some individual and/or small group support
  • Planned opportunities to learn and practise social and emotional skills during structured activities
  • Targeted use of strategies such as ‘circle time’ and peer mediation
  • Focussed support outside of class
  • Formal and informal regular feedback between parents and school
  • Arrangements, if appropriate, for supervision during break time
  • Group work to develop social skills
  • Supported career programmes in secondary school
  • Access to external specialists such as CAMHS and the Outreach Service from New River College
  • A wider curriculum which promotes positive examples of diversity.

SEND Support Plans

Some children will need support that is ‘additional to’ or ‘different from’ what schools provide for all pupils. This is called SEND Support

The special educational needs coordinator (SENCo) and the teacher will work with you and your child to create a SEND Support Plan which should be reviewed three times a year. This will be based around your child’s strengths and needs and will identify outcomes for your child that will be agreed with you.

It will be important to identify the main characteristic of your child’s main area of.need. However, support plans will identify all the needs of your child within the following four broad areas:

  • Cognition and learning
  • Social, emotional and mental health
  • Communication and interaction
  • Sensory and physical

Targeted SEND Support might include:

  • A quiet area where your child  can be withdrawn
  • Support from outside agencies, such as CAMHS or the Outreach Service from New River College
  • Targeted use of strategies such as ‘circle time’ and peer mediation
  • Teaching problem solving skills
  • A plan specifying the role of physical contact in managing your child’s behaviour, where necessary
  • A personalised reward system for targeted activities
  • Risk assessments to inform actions in the plan
  • Close monitoring of attendance and home visits where necessary
  • Multi-agency meetings, for instance Team Around the Child, as appropriate.