The importance of a whole school approach – welcoming new guidelines on wellbeing in education.

8 July 2022

New guidelines on wellbeing in education have highlighted the need for a whole school approach to social, emotional and mental health (SEMH). 

The guidelines have been published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and nurtureuk contributed to their creation. We are pleased with many of the recommendations, particularly the adoption of a whole school approach to support positive, social, emotional and mental wellbeing – something we are working hard to implement in schools across the UK. We believe that a nurturing approach to education is vital to improving the wellbeing of the whole school community.

Children are struggling with their social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing like never before. And those who have missed out on vital early care and relationship experiences can’t learn or function effectively. They suffer from developmental gaps and many display challenging and disruptive behaviour. Others withdraw, and struggle to engage or form relationships.

A whole school approach means that all children who require SEMH support are more likely to be identified and receive the right help at the right time. This approach ensures no child falls through the cracks and all children benefit, reaping the rewards of a more positive learning environment. 

The new NICE guidelines specifically recommend that schools’ policies and procedures are consistent with relational approaches to social, emotional and mental wellbeing – a central component of nurture. The guidelines also highlight the importance of transitions, in line with one of the key principles of nurture

The nurturing approach offers a range of opportunities for children and young people to engage with missing early nurturing experiences, giving them the social and emotional skills to do well at school and in life. At its core is a focus on wellbeing and relationships and a drive to support the growth and development of children and young people. 

Our National Nurturing Schools Programme guides staff through the process of embedding a nurturing culture throughout their schools, enhancing teaching and learning, and improving outcomes for children. The programme includes access to The Boxall Profile®, nurtureuk’s unique assessment tool which enables teachers to develop a precise and accurate understanding of children’s social and emotional competencies and behavioural needs and skills, and plan effective interventions and support.

Every child should be given the same opportunities to lay the foundations for a rewarding adulthood. We hope to see all schools commit to these new guidelines and crucially, we want to see long-term government investment in nurturing approaches in schools in order to transform the lives of vulnerable children and give them the best chance to thrive.