Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as Anxiety or Depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder. Schools and colleges should have clear processes to support children and young people, including how they will manage the effect of any disruptive behaviour so it does not adversely affect other pupils. The Department of Education publishes guidance on managing pupils’ mental health and behaviour difficulties in schools.
– Department of Education
During adolescence children go through significant physical and emotional change, which can impact their sense of self, social relationships and emotional behaviours. We want all pupils to feel safe and supported within the school environment, develop confidence in themselves and enjoy trusting relationships within and beyond school.
As a school we are committed to early identification of any emotional concerns, and supporting them through a system of graduated provision involving the close working of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), Tutors, Teaching Assistants, Therapeutic teams (Counselling, Family Support, Occupational, Drama and Music Therapy) family and young person themselves.
Promoting Mental Resilience
Bensham Manor recognises ‘the role that schools play in promoting the resilience of their pupils is important’ and seeks to create a ‘safe and affirming place for children where they can develop a sense of belonging and feel able to trust and talk openly with adults about their problems’ (Department of Education, 2016, Mental Health and Behaviour in schools 1.5, p.8).
Our provision creates Protective factors for children’s adolescent health (Ibid), including:
- Clear Policies on Behaviour and Bullying
- Open door policy for children to raise problems
- A whole school approach to promoting good mental health
- Positive classroom management
- A sense of belonging
- Positive peer influences
What Specialist Support is available?
Our Therapy Team is employed to provide in house therapeutic provision, strategic support and guidance to staff and families, support external referral and support to CAMHS, and train our staff to be alert for indicators. Form tutors and Teaching Assistants provide targeted support, coordinated with the other professionals to help pupils’ build confidence, resilience and self-esteem.
Mental Health and Wellbeing Concerns
These can look like:
- Sudden shifts in mood and behaviour (e.g. very happy with adults but pinching/targeting vulnerable students).
- Depression, suicidal thoughts and talking about death.
- Worrying (Abnormal) eating habits
- Anxious and worried behaviours
- Erratic sleeping patterns
- Inappropriate (bizarre) emotional expression (e.g. laughing when someone hurts themselves).
- Manipulative behaviours of peers and/or adults
- Obsessive/controlling behaviours
- Despondent, non-engaging, passive within school.
Our staff are alert to change in our pupil’s presentation, and can pass on concerns via multi-agency referral, which will be analysed by the BEIT (Behaviour and Early Intervention Team).
Mental health and wellbeing concerns may have similarities with Child protection indicators –
All staff should first follow whole-school child protection procedures for reporting a concern, which can then be passed to BEIT (Behaviour Early Intervention Team) as deemed by the Designated Safeguarding Leads (Kirstie Byrne and Robin Barwick).
How do we respond to concerns?
The School is committed to a tiered model for graduated provision, where concerns are explored, shared with families and supported by Teachers, Teaching Assistants and therapeutic teams together. The BEIT are automatically notified of all concerns raised by staff (weekly meeting).
They will investigate these with the Form tutor for confirmation, gather background and preliminary assessment information to guide future provision and evaluate its impact.
As recommended by the Department of Education’s Mental Health and Behaviour in School’s advice, Bensham Manor follows a graduate approach to inform a clear cycle of support. In response to the form tutor’s evaluation and assessment, wellbeing support may be put into place for the pupil. This will involve additional strategies, support and provision, set and usually reviewed by the Head of Key Stage (a member of SLT) supported by the Form tutor, class and therapeutic team. Provision is based on the needs of the pupil, but could include strategies to raise self-esteem such as counselling, mentoring clubs or activities, report card, and additional home-school communication. It could support Social development with a social skills intervention, peer-mentoring or buddy system, or seek to develop regulation and self-control through Drama, Music and Occupational Therapy or Teaching Assistant supported strategies for self-calming. Concerns and changes to provision are always shared with the parent/carer, and will be captured in the pupil’s termly Individual Education Plan, with a health or wellbeing Target. Outcomes are reviewed usually by the Head of Key Stage to note any progress and guide further adaptations. Bensham Manor recognises the key role parents and families can play in supporting young people.