Last week, the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition (CYPMHC) launched a new report on behaviour and mental health in schools, which gathered insights from young people, parents & carers and professionals on the links between behaviour and mental health in schools.
The report looked at the impact of school behavioural policies on children and young people and aims to understand what can be done to improve the approach to behaviour and mental health in schools.
The report found that whilst it is important for schools to have clear expectations and boundaries in place, punitive approaches to behaviour management are harming children and young people’s mental health. In particular, they heard that a young person’s behaviour is strongly linked to their mental health and their special educational needs and disabilities.
Key findings from the report found that:
🧠 Of the young people who told the CYPMHC they had experienced behaviour management techniques at school, over half (55%) said they were not effective in improving their behaviour.
🧠 Children and young people told CYPMHC that experiencing behaviour management techniques made them feel negatively about themselves, such as feeling worthless, invisible, and disappointed in themselves.
🧠Punitive approaches to behaviour management are harming children and young people’s mental health.
🧠Behaviour management techniques such as the use of removal rooms, exclusions, suspensions and fines and penalties for non-attendance are seen as some of the most harmful to children and young people’s mental health.
🧠 Children with special educational needs and disabilities, children from racialised communities and children from low-income backgrounds are some of the groups disproportionately impacted by harmful behaviour management techniques.
🧠81% of young people and 87% of parents and carers agreed that a young person’s behaviour is linked to their mental health.
🧠65% of young people who took part in the call for evidence stated that schools are not responsive to mental health needs when dealing with behavioural issues and 50% said they are not responsive to special educational needs and disabilities within this context.
🧠61% of young people said they do not feel listened to when their behaviour is being discussed by their school.
This 3 minute video is well worth a watch to understand more about the report:
The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition are calling for a culture shift in how behaviour is viewed in schools, with much more emphasis on proactively identifying and responding to children and young people’s needs at a much earlier stage. This should be accompanied by:
A more coordinated approach to school policy that recognises the links between behaviour, mental health and SEND
An increase in the availability of mental health support in schools
Full implementation of whole education approaches to mental health and wellbeing
Schools cannot do this alone, and the report calls for greater investment in specialist services to ensure that children, and young people, and their families can access timely support with their mental health.
Connect Before Correct
At Future Action, we are proud to be members of the the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition and we share these concerns, particularly in some secondary schools based on our own experiences.
We also acknowledge there are some schools doing an incredible job of balancing this tricky challenge such as Bohunt Worthing under the leadership of Paul Collin and Harleston Sancroft Academy under the leadership of Rob Connelly.
Our founder, Neil Moggan, created & roadtested a 5 step ‘connect before correct’ pyramid in his school which reduced send outs by 95% in one term and transformed relationships with his young people.
This approach enables us to manage behaviour that challenges us in a compassionate way that does not retraumatise our young people but maintains high standards so that we can achieve the outcomes we need and want for effective teaching.
When behaviour that challenges us improves, so does our children’s engagement, wellbeing and progress and also our own wellbeing. Teaching becomes more enjoyable and learning becomes fun again.
The ‘Connect Before Correct’ approach is part of our new Trauma Informed PE teacher training course. Click on the video if you want to know more.
Taster resources for you
We have got a range of taster resources for you to try. We have created the ‘Enhancing Engagement Scorecard’ to help you track your progress in implementing Trauma Informed PE practice within 2 minutes.
This scorecard acts as a valuable tool for self-reflection and continuous improvement. Click on the link to take the first step and get your score.
Additionally, we offer a complimentary ‘Taster Trauma Informed PE Course’ for you to Step 1 of our full course so you can develop your understanding of what a trauma-informed approach is, what Adverse Childhood Experiences are, and how this affects children in the classroom at the moment and their life chances, based on the ACEs studies.
Click here to complete this 1 minute form to receive your personalised login.
Take the first step today to creating a better future for you and your young people.