Monitoring needs and targeted support
Use targeted programmes and interventions
Involving specialists can help to refresh approaches. Longer term, school staff need to work alongside the specialist and receive training to take over the intervention. Using the skills learned in everyday interactions with pupils:
- reinforces the skills learned
- embeds the principles
- sustains the impact of the intervention
- improves academic performance
- is more cost-efficient and sustainable
The interventions do need continued quality control. This ensures staff continue to deliver them as intended and quality does not drift over time.
Assess needs and track impact
Spotting problems early and prompt help means reduced risk of mental health problems. Staff need to be clear about what is ‘normal’ or a cause for concern, and recognise the early signs of mental health problems.
Form tutors and class teachers may spot changes in behaviour, attainment or attendance. This could suggest a problem and it is helpful to keep and track reliable data on this.
Targeted (graduated) support
Develop a graduated approach to your school’s mental health and emotional wellbeing (MHEW) provision.
What is a graduated support system?
This model enables you to provide appropriate help. It has a clear pathway, systems and processes for making decisions. You access support from within the school and refer to outside agencies where needed.
This is support delivered at whole school level. It includes reasonable adjustments, interventions and support for all pupils. This includes discussing MHEW topics in assemblies, tutor time, circle time and the curriculum.
Stage 1: Support and interventions delivered by staff using in-house resources, for example:
- one-to-one support from an individual needs assistant or teaching assistant
- small group work led by a staff member on issues such as bereavement, anxiety, or social skills
Stage 2: As above, with advice or in-person support from an external professional.
This is for pupils who:
- have more complex and enduring MHEW needs
- need help from a trained expert, in addition to ongoing support from your school or college
Embedding an in-house graduated support system
Use this document to identify the strengths and gaps in your provision.
MHEW Support pyramid template and example [324.2 KB] [docx]
In-house mental health team
It’s recommended that every setting has a mental health lead and mental health link governor. Having an in-house MHEW team helps to embed the approach into strategic planning. This might include a:
- member of the senior leadership team
- MHEW lead
- pastoral staff member
To decide the adjustments and support a pupil needs, the MHEW team need a shared understanding of pupil needs.
- Observe pupil behaviour: is it internalising (such as low mood), or externalising (such as aggression)? Behaviour is communication so it's important to explore the feelings and motivations behind it.
- Use a collaborative approach: base your approach a broad and holistic range of information. Include the pupil voice, parent or carer views, observations and information gathered through assessment tools
Clear referral pathways
It’s essential for all staff to know and understand the following:
- The MHEW support that is available within and outside your setting.
- How a pupil accesses this support.
- The process for agreeing support in your school or college.
- How you evaluate interventions.
- What path to take if the pupil does not improve with initial support.
- How to signpost the pupil and their family to the right staff member(s) for more information or support.
In larger schools or colleges it can be helpful to set up a MHEW panel. The panel can discuss pupil needs and make group decisions about suitable support that is available.
Referral flow template
To see an example of a successful referral model you can view the Support Services available at St Richard's document on their website.
Within the referral flow model, you can include the following:
- The aims, purpose and membership of the panel and experts you may invite.
- Referral form, guidance and process.
- How and where to save referrals on the school system.
- Responsibility of referrer.
- Contact with parents and carers.
- Intervention and support guidance with thresholds.
- Interventions for the year, such as type, criteria, intended outcomes, details, key staff and their role.
- Signposting information.
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