- Latest News
Social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs are a type of special educational needs, (one of the four areas of SEN) in which children/young people have severe difficulties in managing their emotions and behaviour. They often show inappropriate feelings and responses and to situations. Children and young people may also experience SEMH but have no formal recognition in terms of diagnosis or special educational needs categorisation. Furthermore, this areas of SEN can act as an umbrella to a number of disorders and diagnoses such as Autism and communication needs. Many children and young people who find managing their emotions and display disruptive behaviours and unsafe actions can be supported under the SEN provision within the area of SEMH.
Alder Brook is recognised by the Local authority as a specialist provision for pupils with SEMH as their primary area of need. As a setting we are experienced in supporting pupils with SEMH needs and we continue to develop and build on our knowledge and expertise with continuous training and professional development opportunities. When a child comes to Alder Brook, we develop our understanding of their individual needs through assessments of tasks and tests as well as observations and the tracking of incidents and actions from the pupil. We also involve external agencies such as the educational psychology service, speech and language and CAMHS, where needed, to support in understanding and meeting the needs of the pupil.
All of the staff are trained in behaviour management including physical intervention which is only used as a last resort and with the safety of the pupil at the centre. All incidents which are high level (without physical intervention) and incidents with physical intervention are recorded and the information is reviewed by the leadership team. The information is also included as part of the assessment of the pupil’s progress as a reduction in incidents demonstrates a positive SEMH change and progress for the pupil. Where there isn’t a reduction over time we look for patterns to identify possible triggers and design pro-active strategies to help meet the needs of the pupil.
We use a range of tools to assess SEMH progress over time. These include monitoring and tracking incident forms for high level or physical interventions (not every child will have these incidents), their attendance in school, positive academic progress and The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). The SDQ is an emotional and behavioural screening questionnaire for children and young people. We ask parents and teachers to complete the questionnaire at the end of each term and then the data is collated and the output shows the pupil’s level of need within 5 areas; pro-social behaviour, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity and peer problems.
As part of the person centred provision, each pupil at Alder Brook has an individual pupil progress (IPP) plan with targets that are reviewed termly and for which the provision planning is then based around for the specific targets for learning and social and emotional needs. Many of our pupils have an Education, health and care plan (EHC plan), and the IPP targets link to the objectives on their EHC plan.