Promoting emotional health, well-being, and resilience in primary schools
Cotney, Jessica Louise
- Publisher: Public Policy Institute for Wales
• This report synthesises evidence on promoting emotional health, well-being, and resilience in primary schools. We argue that: a) both universal support for all pupils and targeted work for specific groups and individuals can be very effective, and b) connected school systems help to translate the research evidence into sustained positive impacts. \ud \ud • We focus on preventing or reducing problems such as emotional difficulties and aggressive behaviour, as well as efforts to promote emotional health more broadly and to address the underlying social and emotional skills. Reported activities involve specific teaching curricula and the use of specialist staff or services, but also encompass broader school systems and climate, as well as pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning. \ud \ud • Therapeutic approaches to remediating or preventing emotional difficulties can be successful in schools, but effects are variable and may not be sustained over time. \ud \ud • Whole-school approaches to supporting mental health are encouraged, but evidence suggests that the implementation of such approaches is challenging. \ud \ud • Specialist school-based staff and services with dedicated responsibilities in this area have an important role to play, but the evidence base for their impacts is not sufficiently developed, and the way in which their activities can be integrated with other school systems needs close attention. \ud \ud • There is a compelling evidence base regarding the potential impacts of school-based strategies that are designed to promote social and emotional learning, including both enhancement of a variety of skills and positive attributes and reduction of emotional and behavioural difficulties. \ud \ud • Even where social and emotional learning programmes have a very strong evidence base, there is no guarantee of success, as there are significant challenges in terms of both implementing the programme activities and embedding them in broader school systems and everyday interactions. \ud \ud • Research on anti-bullying programmes provides a good illustration of how effective work in this area needs to permeate the school climate. \ud \ud • Overall, we recommend a carefully planned and well-supported programme of work on social and emotional learning that is rooted in, and reinforced by, connections with school systems and all stakeholders, and integration with broader pedagogical approaches to good teaching and learning throughout the revised Welsh curriculum.
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