Mental Health and Well-being
Our Trust Mental Health Champion is Dr Chris Clarke.
Data collected between 1999 and 2004 found that 10% of children experience a mental health condition that could lead to a diagnosis. For children aged between 5 and 10 data shows that 10% of boys and 5% of girls were experiencing mental health problems, increasing to 13% in boys and 10% for girls between the ages of 11 to 16. Referrals to local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service have doubled between 2010-2011 and 2014-2015, and with 90% of school leaders reporting increased prevalence of mental health conditions in schools it is clear that the level of mental health difficulties experienced by schools is on the increase.
Children who experience mental health issues are likely to show poorer social relationships, physical health and educational attainment, which can have a negative impact on the child’s life outcomes. It is thought that of those children who require support to help them manage their well-being, 70% do not receive critical support at the right time to help achieve good social and educational outcomes, due to shortage of resources and lack of awareness in schools of mental health conditions.
While many mental health issues present themselves when children enter and leave adolescence, the Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust (Aquila) recognises the importance of providing a primary education which promotes resilience, where staff have an understanding of mental health conditions and the risk factors which could lead to the presence of mental health issues. We therefore provide our staff with access to resources to promote good mental health and wellbeing, which will help children manage and cope with life events, equipping them with the coping skills to manage the transitions to secondary school and adult life.
To support children’s mental health and well-being, Aquila will offer all schools within the trust a package which aims to:
- Help schools identify those children who are experiencing mental health difficulties
- Help schools work with parents to support mental health and well-being
- Promote a system within the trust where schools can share their expertise or experience of working with children that promotes wellbeing in children
- Support schools to implement a range of evidence based interventions to support wellbeing and resilience
- Utilise the support of the trust’s educational psychologists to work with schools, families and children to support wellbeing
- Develop a database of interventions that schools can utilise at a whole school, class or individual level to support mental health and wellbeing
Aquila recognises that schools offer a ‘universal level’ and as such do not offer a level of support which aims to replace that offered by the health service. However, since children are spending a majority of their day at school we want adults in our schools to have a good level of understanding of children’s needs and be able to offer additional support under the close supervision of relevant professionals.
The offer to the schools will consist of three levels of support:
- Level 1: Awareness training where schools will be offered the chance to attend training developing their knowledge and understanding of mental health difficulties in children based on current data. This will equip our schools to identify and prioritise their needs in terms of further training and support.
- Level 2: Training will be offered to schools which will allow them to implement psychological theories allowing them to identify strategies to support children and to monitor their progress. This training will utilise the Kolb learning model to support learning. Therefore, training will be offered in stages:
- Step 1 is where theories and concepts will be introduced and examples given of practice
- Step 2 is where attendees return to the schools and implement what they have learnt
- Step 3 is where attendees come together to learn and share their experiences of implementing the training
- Level 3: This support is offered by relevant professionals, such as the Trust’s educational psychologist, which can be used to support the school at a strategic level, or to support children, families and adults on a one to one level
Further details can be read at the bottom of this page
Review and outcomes of this strategy
Aquila will undertake regular reviews of the strategy through:
- Feedback from training events
- Annual surveys to the SLT of schools in the Trust to help identify prioritise for the next academic year.
Staff mental health and well-being.
Aquila commissions the following services as additional support for staff well-being:-
Staff Care Services
Level 1 Support
Training on mental health difficulties in schools – Schools will have the opportunity to access training which gives an understanding of mental health in schools. Attendees will come away with an understanding of those most at risk of future mental health difficulties and protective factors.
Level 2 Support
Attachment in schools training – Schools will be able to access yearly training that aims to support a school’s understanding of attachment needs of children. The training will introduce an attachment observation schedule, which will help staff identify the needs of the child, and the impact of interventions and strategies
Resiliency – Schools will be able to access yearly training which will introduce resilience. Attendees will come away with an understanding of the different components of resilience and their application in schools. There will also be opportunities to explore different tools which can be used to support resilience in schools through resilience mapping to resilience coaching.
Implementing Cognitive Behavioural Approaches – Yearly training will be offered to schools on designing and setting up a manualised cognitive behavioural programme. Attendees will come away with an understanding of the model of cognitive behavioural therapy and how to apply it with groups of children. To attend this course those who wish to put in place a CBA approach in their school must commit to a supervision programme.
Supporting bereaved children and families – This training will equip schools to support children and families who are experience bereavement.
Level 3 Support
Services offered by the educational psychologist can be used through the school’s time allocation or through the allocation identified by the trust, i.e. to support training. In exceptional circumstance (e.g. a critical incident, designated by the trust’s CEO and educational psychologist), may offer additional support beyond this allocation based on the school’s needs. The educational psychologist can offer:
- One to one CBA work with children who display a high level of need
- Video Interactive Guidance (VIG) – an evidence based programme that aims to build on positive communication between children and other children, or children with adults
- School based reviews – an opportunity for members of the school’s SLT to meet with the educational psychologist to help decide on best ways forward to support wellbeing in children in particular where there are concerns around groups of children or where a school’s own data analysis identified priorities
- SENCO Forum – to provide SENCos with a forum to discuss best practice in their schools and to learn and share from each other’s experiences.
- Maintain a set of resources that schools can use to support mental health and wellbeing that can be used at the whole class or whole school level, such as lesson plans.
- Resiliency coaching – This could be offered to children and adults.
- Consultations with the educational psychologist – An opportunity for class teachers to consult with an educational psychologist to help identify and put in place strategies to support wellbeing in children.
- Critical incident support– A critical incident is when a sudden and unplanned event happens at the school that has the possibility to effect children, families and the community. Events which are determined to be critical will take precedent over all other work and will consist of visits by an educational psychologist to support the schools, children and families, when it is necessary or appropriate to do so.