9 - Coordinated support
There are identified groups of pupils who are at higher risk of developing mental health issues. These include those who are in care, young carers, those who have already had access to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), those living with a parent/carer with mental health issues and those living in an environment where domestic abuse is prevalent. (Please see table of risk factors in Curriculum, teaching and learning section)
Without immediate identification of these pupils, the effects can be far reaching. Research shows that the earlier intervention is put into place the less chance of it becoming an issue that follows through to adulthood. The chances of reaching their potential of leading a happy and healthy life as an adult is increased the earlier the help is implemented.
9.2 The Role of the School Setting in Managing Mental Health of Pupils
- A whole-school / universal approach is key
- All teaching and non-teaching staff should have the necessary core skills to recognise mental health issues in pupils and adjust to differentiate learning opportunities to meet the needs of the majority of learners in the classroom
- To ensure that consistently high-quality teaching is in place to engage those with SEMH
- To ensure that systems are in place to monitor and assess pupils’ progress in order to decide whether intervention needs to be put in place and to highlight those pupils who may need additional and different provision.
At Clare Mount Specialist Sports College we use the ‘Three-tiered model’ of support (See diagram below) which encompasses three levels of approach called Universal, Targeted and Specialist. We endeavour to carry out our aims through this threefold approach. A universal approach that sees whole staff working together at base level to meet the SEMH needs of our pupils, a targeted approach whereby individual or groups of pupils are identified for specialised intervention and support and level three is where professionals are needed to be drawn in to help support the needs of the pupil.
Universal/Whole school approach refers to everyone in school working together to promote emotional health and mental wellbeing. This support should be embedded in every classroom and should be intrinsic in the wider school ethos and environment. Staff modelling is a fundamental part of this and universal support may also involve more focus on formal well-being programmes run through assemblies or respect/well-being days. This approach can also reach further and wider to encourage the local community and families to become involved in the promotion of mental health throughout the whole school. The greatest amount of both time and resources should be spent on this approach.
Targeted approach is for those pupils who have been identified as having a mental health need, emotional or behavioural difficulties or are at risk of developing one. These pupils will be displaying early behavioural signs of mental health problems. The mental health lead/pastoral care team or wider school community may have identified these pupils and they are then supported through time in the Student Support Centre following an individual/group based intervention to help them focus on positive ways to cope with their issues. At this stage, it may not directly involve the support of an external professional but may be required for advice and consultation e.g. Educational Psychologist, Mental Health Nurse. It is in this area that Element Two funding should be spent to support these pupils.
Specialist approach is required when both the universal and targeted approach are not enough alone to tackle the mental health issue in a specific student. Further advice may need to be sought from mental health professionals including, doctors, CAMHS worker, school nurse. Both the targeted and specialist approach can work concurrently so that the individual is exposed to the best help available to help with the mental health and emotional well-being of the student. It may be that the need to apply for funding/assessment for these pupils needs to be carried out in order to best support them in school.
- The role of the Student Support Team
The Student Support Team play a pivotal role in the targeted approach here at Clare Mount Specialist Sports College. Strong relationships are nurtured between the team and pupils with SEMH concerns. Pupils may come to require the team’s intervention through a variety of referral routes (please see flowchart below).
The principle role of the support team is to work with students and their families to help them develop their academic, social and emotional skills in order to help them reach their full potential. We achieve this through a number of actions:
- Our Learning Mentors and support team offer mentoring and support to both individuals and groups of children, teachers, parents and carers and their families. We also work with other schools and outside agencies, helping to construct a supportive network.
- We are here to provide support to all our pupils and their families. Our aim is to help them overcome any social, emotional or behavioural barriers which may be getting in the way of their learning and positive behaviour. Our aim is to promote resilience and coping skills for life’s ups and downs.
- A variety of pupils are supported by the Learning Mentors and whatever issues individual pupils face, we negotiate and plan a support program with the pupil and go on to develop a one-to-one mentoring relationship aimed at helping them to achieve their goals.
- Finding out just what the barriers to learning are for a child can be straightforward and quick or it can take a long time. Each case is different and all work is planned to meet the needs of the individual child.
- The work is carried out through either 1:1 sessions or group work activities. Break time and lunchtime support can also be provided. Pupils can access the Learning Mentor team either by being referred by their class teacher, parent or in some cases, the children refer themselves.
- We also offer a lunchtime drop in sessions whereby children are offered a short 15 minute slot to talk about anything that might be troubling them. Who Are We? We all have many years’ experience working at within a school environment and have worked in different roles, supporting children throughout the school. We are also trained facilitators for the Youth Connect 5 programme (supporting parents to promote good mental health with their child/ward).
Students at Clare Mount Specialist Sports College may experience, either acutely or chronically from the following concerns during their school life
- Anxiety and worries
- Difficulties at home
- Exhibiting challenging behaviour
- Issues concerning bullying/friendships/social anxieties
- Dealing with bereavement/loss
- General disengagement from learning
- Worries about transition
As a team we create a culture of care and support that enables our students to face up to their concerns, allowing them to build up the resilience to cope when they face adversity; in all its many forms!