“Children’s mental health services swamped” – what can we do? 

“Children’s mental health services swamped” – what can we do? 

 What part do school’s play in strengthening children and young people’s mental health?  From “Swamped – NHS mental health services turning away children say doctors” “The shocking state of CAMHS care is laid bare in a survey for the youth mental health charity stem4 of 1,001 GPs across the UK who have sought urgent help for under-18s who are struggling mentally. CAMHS teams, already unable […]

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Solution Focused Education – the positive pathway to wellbeing and behaviour for learning

Solution Focused Education – the positive pathway to wellbeing and behaviour for learning

How can we get children to behave properly in school, to take their work seriously and stop messing about? The answer offered by the DfE is to do more of what’s done already. Focus on the bad behaviour you can see, put aside thinking about what might underly it, and apply graded punishment it until it stops. Knowing what children find unpleasant the pain can […]

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School attendance – a complex issue

School attendance – a complex issue

Recently a number of threads have been drawing together, connecting children’s behaviour and their mental health and wellbeing, school attendance, exclusion and the various approaches to supporting and managing these vital factors in children’s lives. One thread is the new DfE drive to “improve the consistency of school attendance support and management”, proposing  teams of attendance advisors, and an ‘attendance alliance’ of education leaders, setting […]

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Structured kindness; striking the balance between discipline and care in schools

Structured kindness; striking the balance between discipline and care in schools

A while ago I met twenty children from years 7 to 11 in a high school, for 1:1 Solutions Focused Coaching sessions. They’d been put forward as children finding life in school most difficult and beyond the reach of the established routines of reward and punishment behaviour management. The group included; A 12 year old who spoke in a whisper, who struggled to think of […]

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A Few Kind Words

A Few Kind Words

Lisa Feldman Barrett, professor of psychology at Northeastern University, Boston author of  ‘Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain’ says this (see Guardian March 1st 2022 ‘The big idea: is it time to stop talking about ‘nature versus nurture ?’): “Few scientists today would say that 100% of your attributes are inborn or are learned; the debate tends to be about where to draw […]

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Talking about scrapping exclusion from schools

Talking about scrapping exclusion from schools

My article last week ‘It’s time to scrap exclusion from schools attracted a few replies on Twitter, among them: * This is interesting. Reasoned sensible argument about exclusions. Thank you Geoff.The need for change. * And prison of course. Let us not safeguard children. * I’d be all for a system that doesn’t include exclusion. But I’ve yet to hear a practical proposal that achieves […]

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It’s time to scrap school exclusion.

It’s time to scrap school exclusion.

It’s time to scrap school exclusion. Why? Because Plan A isn’t working.   A story – Plan B. A young man on the edge of adulthood, experiencing such severe panic attacks it’s causing him to disengage and putting his educational future at risk. As part of a school team developing Solutions Focused Coaching as a new pastoral approach, I’m asked to work with him. His […]

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Solutions Focused Coaching in Schools – the way forward

Solutions Focused Coaching in Schools – the way forward

Case note 1: “Some members of my team who are in school now starting to deliver Solutions Focused Coaching sessions shocked the socks off the school and surprised the young people – two very, very good sessions with two disillusioned young people. It was an incredibly uplifting professional experience to break through that original cynicism, disillusionment, disengagement …. They actually came into school to meet […]

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‘Stop school exclusions’ says DfEs mental health tsar

‘Stop school exclusions’ says DfEs mental health tsar

The important thing about science is not much to obtain new facts but to discover new ways of thinking  about them  – Sir William Bragg (1862-1942) 21st century behaviour science is presenting us with a wealth of new facts about children and young people, demonstrating the close linkages between their mental health and what they show us through their behaviour. It’s become clear that physical […]

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How does kindness figure in school for the 2020s?

How does kindness figure in school for the 2020s?

Performance is currently the clear front runner when it comes to assessing school effectiveness. Accountability is the keyword, evidenced by exam results backed up by a consistent discipline regime. This was emphasised this month in the English education secretary’s reference to children’s behaving in ways that promote performance, “… if they choose not to do so, then they need to be held to account where […]

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