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Plan/do - Social, emotional and mental health

The findings of assessments need to be collated and analysed to consider the social, emotional and mental health needs of the child/young person and the functions of the behaviours in order to identify any patterns. This is the start of solution-focused problem solving. 

An individual plan (link to be added) should be written using the baseline information and reviewed regularly in line with the SEND Code of Practice. This is based on the information collected from the more detailed assessment and prior knowledge of the child/young person's needs and any relevant background knowledge. 

Any approach to address social, emotional and mental health needs should follow the following principles:

  • Responding to the child/young person as a ‘whole person’ specifically taking into account their positive qualities and interests rather than concentrating on the unwanted behaviour.

  • Agreed actions/ interventions:

    • focus on addressing the child/young person’s social and emotional needs as well as environmental changes that are thought likely to help the child/young person engage successfully in learning

    • are based on previous experience with this child/young person, good practice guidelines and/or research evidence

    • are aimed at teaching the child/young person positive skills that will help them engage more successfully

    • supports staff to work together to spot and respond to potential ‘incidents’ early and positively

    • include targets/ desired outcomes that can be evaluated by all involved, including the child/young person, using objective data as well as verbal reports

    • always take into account the child/young person’s views and children/young people are actively involved in the process

    • are disseminated to all adults working with the child/young person

    • a range of different strategies are used systematically to support the achievement of the outcomes identified on the child/young person’s individual plan.

Any strategies and interventions are informed by the assessment carried out in order to address the specific areas of need and could include:

  • Additional contact and interaction with adults, e.g. meet and greet and regular checking-in times

  • The use of visual structures to support classroom routines, such as:

    • visual timetable and other symbols/photos

    • choice boards

    • ‘Now/Then’ cards

    • Activity boxes

    • Time out tents

  • The use of strategies to support concentration, such as:

    • carpet places

    • wobble cushions

    • weighted cushions

    • egg timers

  • Additional verbal and visual prompts

  • Additonal reinforcement and praise for desired behaviour, including any structured reward systems that are developed with the child/young person

  • Additional structured activities at unstructured times, e.g. at playtime and lunchtime if this is when there are concerns

  • Peer support from older children/ Mentoring

  • Daily home-school communication and support for the family, if required

  • Small group social skills work

  • Lunchtime clubs

  • Adaptations to the timetable

  • Time out

More information on different types of intervention for SEMH needs, please see the intervention central website and Happy Maps.

When responding to unwanted behaviours and angry responses, it is important that adults consider the following:

Please refer to Derbyshire's Emotional and Mental Health Toolkit for Schools for much more detail on supporting children/young people with SEMH in schools.

Records should be kept of all interventions that have been delivered and the impact they had on the child/young person’s engagement and achievement and be available to be reviewed at regular intervals.

After a review, it may be recommended, in consultation with specialist support services, that more specialised approaches and interventions are needed as part of the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle such as:



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