Lincolnshire SEMH strategy

About the strategy

Our social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) strategy sets out our aims over the next three years so that children and young people are supported in their school settings to enjoy good mental health and wellbeing.  

The strategy will support mainstream schools to have the skills to meet the SEMH needs of most of our children and young people.  This will enable our special schools to provide more specialist provision at a time in a child’s educational journey when required for those with more complex needs.

What is our vision?  

  • build on strengths to ensure children and young people are supported in their educational settings to enjoy good mental health and wellbeing. 
  • ensure that children and young people get the right health, care, and education, in the right place, at the right time. The young person will be as close as possible to where they live, where they feel they belong, are respected, hopeful and optimistic about their future.  
  • access support as early as possible to prevent things getting worse so that children and young people become dependent on specialist support, provision, and services.   
  • access the right provision and support at the right time so that support changes depending on children and young people’s needs.  
  • a shared understanding of SEMH for everyone involved with children and young people to enable them to promote resilience and emotional wellbeing within their work, practice, and support. 

What is SEMH?

  • broad term used to define a range of different needs that children and young people may have at any given time and the impact that these needs may have on their wellbeing and ability to learn. 
  • a diagnosable mental health condition or set of symptoms that require professional support.  
  • a normal negative response to a difficult or challenging situation does not mean a child or young person has poor mental health.  
  • can be attributed to many different causes, some less obvious than others. Life experiences, genetic factors, environments all need to be considered.
  • can show in different ways including becoming withdrawn or isolated, displaying challenging, disruptive, or disturbing behaviour.
  • may affect children and young people’s sense of wellbeing, access to the community, ability to solve problems and learn effectively.  
  • if left unsupported, over time may lead to more serious, persistent concerns and mental health conditions.  

What are the challenges? 

  • the key aim of the government's SEND reforms in 2014 was to promote high quality special educational needs support in schools, enabling more children to have their needs met within mainstream education. 
  • children and young people with SEND and those educated in alternative provision are shown to have poorer outcomes than those of their peers.  
  • Lincolnshire has a higher percentage of pupils requiring SEN support and a higher percentage of pupils with EHC plans against the England average.   
  • SEMH is the top identified primary need in Lincolnshire special schools.  Lincolnshire has more pupils with SEMH needs in its special schools (more than double) than the England average.  This indicates a lack of consistent high-quality targeted support within our mainstream settings. 
  • increased numbers of placements are generating unsustainable pressure on Lincolnshire’s SEMH specialist provision 
  • financial resources are being used for specialist provision, rather than supporting high-quality mainstream provision.  

We will meet these challenges through:  

  • a collective understanding that inclusive education means that children are educated alongside their peers in a mainstream classroom for most of the school day.  
  • ensuring that children and young people have access to timely, high quality, meaningful and robust inclusive education, at their local mainstream setting, with the right support and provision in place.
  • having high aspirations for all children; policies that promote inclusivity; flexible and accommodating curriculums within diverse classrooms; strong and supportive leadership; inclusive pedagogy, and high-quality support.
  • acknowledging that while it is crucial for children and young people to access specialist support as and when required, it is equally crucial for this to be part of a range of support that builds emotional resilience and well-being. Enabling them to return to mainstream provision where they benefit from improved and increased positive achievements and outcomes.

Implementation – the five elements 

  1. Review of alternative provision in Lincolnshire: schools will effectively implement Lincolnshire’s ladder of behavioral intervention and work closely with available services to meet children and young people’s SEMH needs.  The support provided by alternative provision will be fully reviewed to maximise positive impact.  
  2. Development of emotional based school avoidance (EBSA) pathway: schools will review and adapt their policies and practice to deliver a long-term focus on supporting this area of need through a wide range of available tools, which will be reviewed and developed.  
  3. Embed and develop training and support offer: schools will work with support services to develop inclusive practice, working together to enable children and young people to stay in their local mainstream school.  Schools will be provided with relevant advice, training and support that enables them to promote emotional well-being and mental health resilience. 
  4. Transitions: schools will play an active lead role in supporting planned moves, within their school and also between school settings, through relationship-building, involving families and focusing on children and young people feeling safe and secure within their school.  What is working best in our mainstream settings will be reviewed and good practice rolled out and developed wider.  
  5. Provision used as a continuum of support: Lincolnshire’s Local Offer provides information around what support and provision is available to enable children and young people to access inclusive education.  The range of tools, such as VSEND and Lincolnshire’s Inclusion Toolkit, will be developed and widened to include a Transition Toolkit and an Inclusion Audit Tool. 

See the full strategy

We will know our strategy is working when there is:  

  • high-quality advice, guidance, and training for schools and a skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced workforce that is able to promote and support children and young people’s emotional well-being and resilience.   
  • appropriate early response from schools to meet children and young people’s SEMH needs.
  • improved attendance, reduced suspensions and permanent exclusions and part-time timetables only used as a short-term solution in exceptional circumstances.
  • reduced demand on specialist schools, alternative placements, and specialist mental health services. 
  • tailored support to meet children and young people’s SEMH needs at their local mainstream school.   
  • effective support for children and young people so that they have the skills and confidence to successfully manage planned school moves and, eventually, into adulthood.