The nurtureuk guide to implementing Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools

5 November 2019

Today, nurtureuk publishes its guide to implementing the Department for Education in England’s advice document regarding mental health and behaviour in schools.

In November 2018 the Department for Education in England (DfE) published its advice document Mental health and behaviour in schools. This guidance for English schools is just as relevant in other parts of the UK and in other countries because it directly confronts one of the most pressing issues in education today.

As evidence from the Boxall Childhood Project (BCP)2 clearly shows, the social, emotional mental health (SEMH) and behavioural difficulties that children and young people are experiencing has reached epidemic proportions. From the 6,800 pupils who were assessed from the primary schools that took part in the Boxall Childhood Project, the evidence shows 10% of pupils are presenting with high levels of SEMH needs, and 26% with moderate needs.

Boys in primary schools are three times more likely to experience high levels of SEMH needs. It is small wonder that teachers are experiencing what they sometimes describe as a ‘tsunami’ of mental health needs in the classroom.

The challenging behaviour this mental health tsunami produces has resulted in rocketing exclusion rates that have in turn been cited as a principle driver of anti-social behaviour, leading to violent crime, and in particular – knife crime.

The need to address these issues has never been more pressing, and implementing the advice in the Mental health and behaviour in schools White Paper can have a significant impact as the evidence shows. In this publication we look at how this guidance can be effectively implemented in the school setting and the benefits not just for the children, young people and schools, but also for society as a whole.

You can download and read the nurtureuk‘s guide to mental health and behaviour in schools in full HERE

Commenting on the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework, nurtureuk chief executive Kevin Kibble said: “At a time when the Department for Education (DfE) is highlighting the issues of mental health & behaviour in schools, the newly-published Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework does little to help teachers address these needs.”

This was an ideal opportunity to bring ITT into the 21st century, equipping new teachers with the skills, or at least the methodology to obtain them, to identify and tackle the mushrooming prevalence of social, emotional, mental health & behavioural needs of the most vulnerable pupils. Nowhere is there reference to what we now know about brain development and how it impacts on a child’s ability to learn. Where is the overwhelming evidence of the adverse effects on child development of early childhood trauma and how our knowledge is evidenced by neuroscience? And what about attachment awareness or the importance of the teacher-pupil relationship in building secure attachments?

This feels like a ‘business as usual’ approach and misses the chance to really step forward in ITT. It’s no wonder we fail to hold on to so many of our new teachers for more than a few years.

If you’d like to find out more about how the Boxall Profile® can be used to respond to the SEMH needs of children and young people, please contact nurtureuk‘s Boxall Profile® team on [email protected].