Social, Emotional & Mental Health
At Follifoot & Spofforth, we believe that the social, emotional mental health (SEMH) of children and adults is of the utmost importance and central to our vision of enabling everyone to Love Learn Thrive.
We want everyone involved in our Federation family to be emotionally and mentally healthy. This means supporting them to becoming resilient with the ability to recognise how to proactively care for their emotional health, as they would do for their physical health. It also means recognising that mental health changes just as physical health does sometimes over time and on other occasions in an instant. Support for mental health, just as for physical, comes in many different forms from many different sources all of which have value and can play a role.
A whole school holistic ethos and culture where good mental health is valued, prioritised and supported for all adults and children and young people is essential. Schools should prioritise an absolute commitment and drive to develop a physically, socially and emotionally safe and secure environment for both adults and children/young people. (
North Yorkshire Ladder of Intervention 2018
SEMH is identified as one of the four categories of need for children. Early identification of children who may be vulnerable to SEMH difficulties is embedded in our Graduated Response to SEMH. This document has been developed by senior leaders led by our SENDCo Mrs Chantler. It can be accessed via our website http://follifootandspofforth.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Our-Graduated-Response-to-Social-Emotional-and-Mental-Health-Provision-2019_2020-PDF.pdf
Also available via the website is our Provision Map for Emotional and behaviour needs http://follifootandspofforth.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Provision-Maps-SP_FF-2019_2020-PDF.pdf
The majority of staff and some governors have completed Level 1 Compass Buzz training- Prevention and Promotion. This helps staff understand the principles and benefits of effective support for social and mental wellbeing and how this transfers into whole school practise. While not clinicians or counsellors, training ensures staff have an awareness of common issues, challenge stereotypes and can actively promote good mental health.
Some staff have received more in depth training including Level 2 Training – Early Identification of Need and Level 3 Training – Early Help and Intervention. The Head teacher, Senior teacher and SENDCo have completed Level 4 training and planning workshops for school leaders.
The SENDCo has received training on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Attachment and Trauma and Developing Relationships through Trauma informed Practise which have been shared with staff at dedicated SEND staff meetings and INSET days. The SENDCo has also received Designated Teacher for LAC and Supporting pupil & student wellbeing after lockdown and Staff Wellbeing in Schools training.
Senior leaders have training in Supporting Staff well-being, Mental well-being in a Child or Young Person and Designated Safeguarding Lead.
We are fortunate to have trained teaching assistants who are able to provide 1:1 pastoral support for anxiety and emotions as well as group activities to support social and emotional difficulties with children. We have links with the Communication and Interaction team who have further supported work on emotions through Zones of Regulation, supported by teaching assistants in class.
Support and interventions accessible include but are not limited to:
- SEMH group or 1:1 intervention for Emotions and Feelings, Self Esteem, Worries
- Time limited and focussed keep up/catch up interventions
- Worry Dolls, Worry box
- Socially Speaking group
- Lego Therapy group
- Time to Talk
- Playground observation and review
- Guided playground games
- Social stories to aid understanding for specific events including transition
- Positive Intervention Plans
- Compass Buzz 1:1 intervention
- Incredible Five Point Scale, A Volcano in My Tummy, Worry Monster
- Pre School Entry plan meetings, Secondary School Entry Plan meetings and individually planned additional visits
A Thrive Practitioner (https://www.thriveapproach.com/) works within the learning Partnership and has supported work with children in the Federation, liaising with the SENDCo and teaching assistants.
As a Federation we are committed to ensuring we maintain strong and well trained practitioners within the staff team who can address specific SEMH needs and support other members of staff.
Some Helpful Links
There are lots of ways to feel calmer. It’s about finding what works for you. Try some of our breathing exercises, activities, games and videos to help let go of stress.
The UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health. Find out more about us, our mission and how we work.
Compass BUZZ is an exciting, new, innovative and free project that aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people aged 5-18 (25 with SEND) in schools across North Yorkshire.
Everybody Worries – Free E-Book
In this bright and friendly picture book, children learn that it’s okay to worry about Coronavirus.
Fun rhyming couplets keep the tone gentle and supportive, and you will find plenty of ideas for dealing with Coronavirus in a positive way.
Everybody Worries offers your child the reassuring message that this crisis will pass, we are there for them, and we will get through this together.
Please click here to direct you to the free Everybody Worries E-book
How to Stay Calm in a Global Pandemic – Free E book
Please click: How-to-Stay-Calm-in-a-Global-Pandemic-Free-ebook
The Go-To’ Website
We are delighted to announce that a new website for children, young people, parents/carers and professionals has been launched!
The Go-To’ – www.thegoto.org.uk
The Go-To is a portal or ‘single point of information’ for the wide range of mental health support services offered by different agencies in North Yorkshire.
This new website signposts young people to the most appropriate support and has lots of useful tips and information to help young people cope with stress or anxiety.
Barnardo’s – See, Hear, Respond Service
See, Hear, Respond is a service provided across England by Barnardo’s and other national and local community-based organisations in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The programme has been created to help children and young people in England who are experiencing adversity during this period by providing support to those who are not being seen by other key agencies.
Working with its partners, Barnardo’s aims to ensure other support and networks are in place using:
- online digital support, including advice and information, online counselling and a telephone helpline
- face to face interventions, such as support for groups at risk outside the home and one to one support
- reintegration into education, including assessments and the delivery of support pathways back to education
See Hear Respond accept referrals from any source either through the
Freephone number 0800 0087005 and via the online referral hub https://www.barnardos.org.uk/see-hear-respond
Developing Resilience Support for Parents & Children
Developing Resilience (under 12’s)
aims to help children under 12 to learn more about what resilience is and how they can be more resilient.
To access these courses and many more, head to www.recoverycollegeonline.co.uk and use the log in button at the top of the page or head straight to Moodle, the e-learning site, via https://lms.recoverycollegeonline.co.uk/. If you are unsure of how to navigate the site, you can take the tutorial short course which talks you through Moodle and how to use it. Or you can send an email to email@example.com who will be able to help.
Family Support – Advice for Parents
Families Under Pressure https://maudsleycharity.org/familiesunderpressure/ illustrates simple tips and techniques to support families in this challenging time, all narrated by voices you may recognise.
SEMH & COVID19
Children and adults will experience a variety of feelings in response to the coronavirus outbreak. These may include but won’t be limited to anxiety, stress, fear and low mood. It is important we all help children understand that these feelings are a normal responses to an abnormal situation. Some children may need support to re-adjust to school; others may have enjoyed being at home and be reluctant to return; a few may be showing signs of more severe anxiety. Others will not be experiencing any challenges and will be keen and ready to return to school.
It is likely that the rhythm, routine and structure of school life will be of comfort and support to many if not all children. Returning to school will give children chance to interact with their friends, peers and school adults, which will benefit their emotional wellbeing. We will be ready to support all children, families and our staff team with their social emotional and mental health.
Possible negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the mental well-being of children and young people include but are not limited to:
- Loss: of seeing friends and family; of routines; of goals/milestones, such as exams; of rituals such as end of year activities or exams; of school life; of normal life and activities.
- Friendships: lack of socialisation; loss of self-worth gained from peer groups; missing friends; difficulties maintaining friendships remotely; loss of social rewards and social identity.
- Anxiety, fear and confusion: fear about future uncertainty; fear of future school closures; confusion about new rules; anxiety about illness and hygiene.
- Disrupted sleep patterns: causing loss of concentration and affecting mood.
- Familyexperiences: abuse; conflict; stress; financial issues; coping with mental health issues of adults; increased caring responsibilities.
- School: worries about missing learning and falling behind; loss of routines; academic worries due to school closures or exam cancellations; lack of access to trusted adults.
- Bereavement and illness:coping with the illness or death of family, friends and loved ones.
As they return to school, children may struggle with:
- Fear, anxiety and uncertainty:for family and friends; going to school; spreading or catching the virus; being separated from their families; maintaining social distancing in the school environment; whether schools might close again; tests, assessments and exams which are taking place or which might be cancelled again.
- Transition:school will not be the same; “enjoyable” and social aspects of school may not happen or will be different; pupils may need to manage new routines and expectations; they may have different teachers and/or be in a different class or peer group. Children and young people at key transition pathways may be feeling more worried about what they might have missed or falling behind with learning.
- Relationships:rebuilding, changing and maintaining relationships with peers and adults.
- Self-regulation, concentration and engagement
- Adapting: to routines and boundaries of school, including school rules.
Here are some simple strategies to put into try:
- Create a sense of safety at home by providing structure, routine and enjoyable activities.
- Provide opportunities for children to talk to each other and with trusted adults about their experiences of lockdown.
- Support friendships and provide time and space for children to reconnect with each other.
- Normalise uncertainty while also recognising and validating emotions. Help children to identify their physical signs of anxiety and tell them about the support options that are available to them.
- Help children and young people to identify positive coping strategies that help them to manage their anxiety, such as taking regular breaks, doing physical activity, practising breathing exercises, talking about or expressing their emotions, having a regular routine and connecting with others.
- Talk about coronavirus and related worries, use this as an opportunity to correct inaccurate information.
- Be calm but supportive and try not to get drawn into the child’s emotions. It helps if you stay focused on the practical: model positive ways for managing anxiety.
- Praise and recognise successes when children face their anxieties. It can help them to remain positive.
- Remind children of the internal and external support options available to them and refer them to specialist support if needed. Help them to identify trusted adults from whom they could seek support.
The government has recently appointed Dr Alex George as a youth mental health ambassador. We are pleased to share his recently published Top Tips for good mental health and wellbeing.