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Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH)

There's a growing momentum around Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs. The introduction of this broad area of need into the 2014 SEND Code of Practice reminds us that schools clearly are part of the 'Tier 1' response along the continuum of wellbeing. The SEND Code requires schools to consider any causal factors that may lead to a pupil apparently presenting with special educational needs.

Whilst, mental health issues remain a medical diagnosis –There's a clear emphasis on understanding the nature of individual need in order to work out what action the school needs to take, not to fit a pupil into a category. And so, some of the anxieties about the introduction of the SEMH area of need might be alleviated by the fact that successful schools including Linwood have long been working systematically on the development of non-cognitive skills and on emotional and mental well-being as part of their universal provision for all pupils.

These effective schools have recognised the impact of resilience and well-being on attainment outcomes, they are witness to the increasing pressures of 21st century living and their responsibility to support young people with managing the stress and pace of our world today. Even where a significant proportion of pupils are disadvantaged, schools work determinedly to address such socioeconomic factors as generational unemployment, which can adversely affect their students' well-being and attitudes to learning. Ofsted has highlighted the quality of general provision that meets a wider range of needs (rather than always increasing additional provision) as being symptomatic of best practice, stating that lessons should be planned to address potential areas of difficulty and to remove barriers to pupil achievement.

At Linwood we support staff in using a range of strategies to provide students that may have SEMH with appropriate provision that will allow them to progress and reach their personal potential. These strategies includes resources by Barry Carpenter - picture books, social stories, small group intervention sessions and an openness for students to be able to recognize the importance of their own mental health. We strive to become a centre of excellence in supporting the wider needs of our students and have an excellent collaborative relationship with the community disability team and CAMHs to help achieve this.