Emotional health and wellbeing
When a school promotes positive emotional health and wellbeing pupils can better understand and express their feelings. This builds their confidence and emotional resilience and therefore their capacity to learn.
"Schools can be confident that a focus on wellbeing and mental health not only enables them to provide healthy and happy school environments for pupils and staff and prepare the citizens of tomorrow with sound character and values, but also directly supports their more immediate mission: the promotion of effective learning" Prof Katherine Weare, Partnership for Wellbeing and Mental Health in Schools.
Wellbeing and resilience make up one of the key priorities for our work. We have prioritised the support we offer schools around wellbeing and have a range of training, resources, partnership working and signposting in place. See the links on the left for more information about support.
A very popular training and resource package we deliver is called ReSET - Resilience and Self-Esteem Toolkit. This includes three programmes: Emotions, Self-Esteem and Whole School Focus. Attendees at workshops will have the opportunity to explore the resource in detail, think about ways in which they can use it in school, (using a universal/targeted/one to one approach) and share good practice with colleagues.
We have developed a training course called Whole School Approach to Good Mental Health. Schools tell us that they are experiencing a need for support around promoting children and young people's mental health and we have responded to that by developing a training course to look at behaviours, risk and resilience factors, school-based interventions and specialist support. A very important aspect to consider is also ways to promote staff wellbeing.
Online safety is becoming a vital consideration when thinking about children and young people's resilience and wellbeing. We deliver training to teaching staff in the Thinkunow educational resources developed by CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection). The training provides an introduction to the work of CEOP, and a presentation on how young people are using technology, outlining some of the associated risks and the preventative measures that can be undertaken. Through the use of their educational materials you can help to empower and protect young people from the harm of sexual abuse and exploitation, both online and off.
We've mapped our free training and resources for emotional health and wellbeing, alongside some provided by our colleagues in Health Promotion, CAMHS and other trusted organisations.
In this section we also highlight some key documents / research about wellbeing in schools and further support available to schools.
The roots of a child or young person’s social-emotional wellbeing are found in their first attachment to their primary care-giver. The nature of that attachment determines not just their ability to form relationships but their capacity to learn. Secure attachment relationships correlate strongly with higher academic attainment, better self-regulation and social competence.
Most children and young people enjoy life and are successful in school and in relationships. This lasts into adult life. But a significant minority struggle from an early stage and especially in adolescence. These children and young people can be:
They tend to underachieve in school and are often punished and even excluded. Little that schools do seems to work. As a result, these children and young people may not fulfil their potential as adults, either in employment or relationships.
If educators establish attachment-like relationships with their students, particularly with challenging and vulnerable children and young people, this can improve their chances of learning and achieving.
Research on the importance of attachment
Nurturing adult attachments provide children with protective, safe havens and secure bases from which to explore and engage with others and their environment (Bowlby 1988).
Early care-giving has a long-lasting impact on development, the ability to learn, capacity to regulate emotions and form satisfying relationships (Siegel 2012).
Attachment is crucial to children’s psychological welfare and forms the basis of personality development and socialisation (Bowlby 1988).
Teachers, youth workers and significant adults in a child’s life can provide important attachments for children (Bergin and Bergin 2009, Riley 2010).
Read An Introduction to Attachment and the implications for Learning and Behaviour - "At the heart of this training tool is a concern to do our best for all children in school, not solely those who exhibit symptoms of trauma and unmet attachment needs, and a conviction that schools which are truly ‘attachment aware’, are those where all children are ready to learn and achieve".
Reading Well helps people to understand and manage their own health and wellbeing using self-help reading, and the reading lists are endorsed by experts. Reading Well was recognized by the Royal Society of Public Health as a finalist for the 2017 Public Mental Health and Wellbeing Award.
The Reading Young People Interactive Leaflet includes information on books that have information and advice as well as personal stories about dealing with feelings such as anxiety, depression or stress and experiences such as bullying. The Reading Well books have been chosen by young people and health experts to help with difficult feelings and experiences that can affect your wellbeing.
The Full Reading List for Professionals is a great resource for ideas on books to suggest to the young people that you work with, or for including in your school library. Don't forget to signpost young people to their local library to borrow the books from there too!
Massage in Schools Programme
The reported benefits of peer massage include an air of calm and co-operation in the classroom, an increased focus and a readiness to learn, improved confidence and self-esteem.
For further information about the programme and training, please contact Touchline Training.
What is R Time?
Greg Sampson is the wonderful and inspirational originator of R Time. R Time (Relationships to IMprove Education) is a structured programme for schools that develops positive relationships between children. It does this by creating an environment that supports and enhances good manners, attainment, and citizenship. It can be a part of Healthy Schools work in primary schools and secondaries (see note below regarding Negotiate). It makes a powerful contribution to SEAL and complements Circle Time. It is underpinned by a high expectation of good behaviour, first class manners and respect for others.
An evaluation of R Time
The Educational Psychology Service in Leicestershire carried out an external evaluation of R Time and found that when it is used with children they develop a greater awareness of others and increased respect and tolerance of individual differences. Download a short report of this study.
Using R Time to Address Bullying?
Download Bullying as a relationship problem which describes Leicestershire's use of R Time as part of its anti-bullying strategy.
Negotiate, written for secondary settings, carries the principles of R Time forward and supports secondary SEAL. The author is R Time consultant, Pete Harvey.
Negotiate is based on the principle that students who are placed in a well-defined and supportive situation will form positive relationships and develop their inter-personal skills. Fundamental to Negotiate is the expectation that students use good manners, appropriate body language and courtesy while they are engaged in a mutually respectful and productive dialogue. Through Negotiate, students can freely explore and share their views on a wide range of relationship, citizenship and world issues - take a look at this sample which gives four scenarios from Negotiate. We have several loan copies of the resource which we're happy to lend to Cornish secondary schools, contact us if you are interested.