The emotional wellbeing of a child or young person has a significant impact, not only on their mental health, but also their academic achievement and levels of progress. Simply put, an anxious or angry mind will not learn.

90% of school leaders have reported an increase in the number of students experiencing anxiety, stress, low mood or depression, with three children in every classroom having a diagnosable mental disorder.

During the first decades of the 21st Century mental health is the current crippling disease, increasingly prevalent among the young. If we are to address mental health and wellbeing issues in society, we must do so at the earliest opportunity in all schools.  Earlier this week Mike Armiger writing in Schools Week, commented:

“Teachers should have mental health training.

“Teachers should be trained in counselling.”

“Teachers should understand the signs of mental illness.”

The list of things teachers "should" be doing is endless. And more often than not, the suggestions miss the mark.

So how about this one?

“Teachers should be given the tools and language to have a conversation about a pupil’s levels of stress, distress, pain or feelings of being overwhelmed.”

Are you expected to counsel someone through their depression? No. Should we have to become experts in mental illness? No. Can we have conversations with a pupil about stress, overwhelm, distress or worry? Yes!

Achievement for All has tried and tested support for teachers. The Achieving Wellbeing programme is an evidence-based programme that enables schools to unlock academic achievement and accelerate progress for pupils by improving their emotional wellbeing and mental health. 

Supported by qualified professionals, the Achieving Wellbeing programme is planned and implemented in partnership with schools by trained coaches who deliver face-to-face support and training to all staff.

The Emotion Coaching programme, developed by Achievement for All with the support of Emotion Coaching UK, draws on the latest neuroscientific research to support whole setting understanding, implementation and development of this attachment-based approach to improving wellbeing and attainment. Emotion Coaching gives every adult in the school a practical tool for managing behaviour and nurturing self-regulation in all learners and has demonstrated measurable positive impact on the whole school community, including families.

The Achieving Wellbeing programme is currently being delivered in 64 schools across England and Wales. 29 are virtual schools, the ‘corporate parent’, in which AfA is currently supporting 250 Looked After Children.

Achievement for All and Gloucestershire Virtual school have been working in partnership for many years to improve the outcomes of children in care. Jane Featherstone, Virtual School Headteacher at Gloucestershire Virtual School said:

“The AfA Achieving Wellbeing (CLA) programme is a welcome development to the provisions and programmes available to support schools and settings. We have had favourable feedback from our schools on the programme who have praised the AfA coaches for their input and expertise. Having time to reflect and look at how school improvement strategies can be further developed for this vulnerable cohort is vital for schools and settings.  The Bubble provides the additional materials that schools can use when they need to investigate further.

“AfA are great to work with, easy to approach and discuss progress of the programme of the individual schools. Prior to setting up the AfA programme, AfA took the time to meet with the Gloucestershire VSH to understand the context of each school, so that the coach was aware, and the offer was personalised. This ensures that the programme will have maximum impact for the school and ultimately the children that need this additional support to help them thrive in their learning.”

With your help and support we aim to:

  • Extend our reach to 10 schools in April
  • Reach 500 schools across England and Wales by the end of 2020

Please go to our website www.afaeducation.org  or contact Professor Sonia Blandford for further information sonia.blandford@afaeducation.org