exclusionA new toolkit has been created to help schools deal with the issue of student mental health and wellbeing.

The National Children’s Bureau (NCB) has created the toolkit in response to a survey the organisation carried out earlier this year with the Association of School College Lecturers among school leaders, which reported that 55% had seen a large increase in anxiety or stress, while 79% said there had been an increase in self-harm or suicidal thoughts among students.

With such increasing numbers of complex mental health issues, the NCB and its Partnership for Well Being and Mental Health and in Schools has produced ‘A whole school framework for emotional well-being and mental health – A self-assessment and improvement’ tool for school leaders.

The framework is broken down into four stages:

Stage 1: Deciding to act and identifying what is in place already

Stage 2: Getting a shared understanding and commitment to change and development

Stage 3: Building relationships and developing practices

Stage 4: Implementation and evaluation.

Each step includes development questions to answer and activities to complete. The aim is to encourage the whole school come together to combat and prevent mental health issues in students and staff. It will help schools build on and develop existing practices, identify and implement new programmes, set priorities and evaluate the new ways of working.

Enver Solomon, director of external affairs at the NCB, said: “The toolkit is an accessible easy to follow guide that will help schools improve the mental health and wellbeing of all pupils. We know supporting children and young people’s emotional health contributes to a positive academic environment. It can enhance attainment levels, reduce exclusions, and re-engage students who may have experienced problems.”

The toolkit is available to download for free on the NCB’s website. Supporting resources can be found here.