Agenda item

Social and Emotional Mental Health Strategy

Jenny Lingrell, Assistant Director Commissioning, Performance and Inclusion to present.


Jenny Lingrell, Joint Assistant Director Commissioning, Performance & Inclusion (RMBC and Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group), delivered a short presentation to provide the Health Select Commission with an overview of the latest draft of the new Social, Emotional and Mental Health Strategy.


Initial actions had commenced in October 2018 with the development of robust data on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Sufficiency and would culminate in new provision being introduced in a phased approach by September 2021.  An action plan covering the six priorities was incorporated within the draft strategy and set out timescales to implement the Mental Health Trailblazer (see next item), which would pilot a new approach to delivering mental health support in schools and act as an enabler.  The action plan would also be refreshed annually.


Social, Emotional and Mental Health Strategy



        Provides a strategic framework to underpin activity

        Builds on the foundation of existing work and policy drivers but tries not to over-complicate

        Does not identify every activity or action in detail

        Has been co-produced with headteachers; and reflects the views of children and young people


Principles of Collective Responsibility for Children and Young People with Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) difficulties

        Be based on the equitable use of resources which is affordable, with realistic expectations and clearly defined outcomes

        Be a whole Borough response which is informed by transparent information and data and knowledge of local and national good practice;

        Recognise the importance of early intervention and be family and person centred;

        Recognise the importance of collective responsibility, which includes education, health and care partners and is based on a shared understanding of what is expected of all parties;

        Provide a graduated response with thresholds to prevent escalation into expensive out of borough provision;

        Provide local and flexible solutions which are developed and managed by schools;



Rotherham meets the social, emotional and mental health needs of all children and young people through seamless access to the right services at the right time and a confident and resilient workforce



1.     Sufficiency: develop local education provision that responds to need – this will include flexible and specialist provision (special schools and specialist provision in mainstream)

2.     Seamless Pathways: ensure that pathways to support are connected and aligned and develop a clear behaviour pathway that includes responses to attachment and trauma


3.     Partnerships: develop and sustain robust inclusion partnerships that enable schools to meet need through a collective approach to responding to the needs of individual children


4.     Evidence-Based Approaches: ensure that the local authority offer (from Early Help and Inclusion services) responds to need and is underpinned by evidence-based approaches and aligned with clear pathways


5.     Workforce: develop a robust training and support offer, enabling professionals to feel confident in responding to the needs of children and young people with SEMH needs


6.     Outcomes Focused and Value for Money: ensure that all activity can demonstrate a clear outcomes and value for money


The draft strategy and action plan were discussed with the following issues raised by Members.


·          Would workforce training and support include training for NTAs and other such workers? Could it encompass understanding behaviours and being able to deal with them, especially regarding some of the challenges of complex behaviours of Looked After Children? – Yes, that was exactly the vision of what the outcome of the training should be, although it would be a significant undertaking.  Training needs across the system, including schools, staff, parents and carers needed to be understood, with clarity on how these would be met.  Who would be best to meet these needs could include the private sector, health and RMBC. Schools were buying in training and needed support to navigate through what was out there as it was probably confusing.


·          Would train the trainer training be possible as there were some excellent Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs) out there who could potentially become involved? – It was confirmed SENCOs were involved.


·          Would there a focus on prevention as although this seemed to be about early help or early intervention some innovative things were already happening in schools to help young people around their mental health? So would this support that development?  - Going on to the Trailblazer next would probably bring that to life.  A whole school approach was desired and having a positive attitude to mental health and strategies to support good mental health applied in all workplaces.  Trailblazer will support that and although the pilot was only in a small number of schools the governance structure aimed to broaden it out.  Priorities could not really be discussed in isolation as they fitted together like a jigsaw.


·          Why then was prevention not included as a priority as it was really an underpinning part of the model? Punishments were seen from schools regarding behaviour which emanated from a child’s needs and it was important to have whole school approaches and create those environments otherwise the other priorities could become quite piecemeal. – This was helpful feedback and the whole school approaches and prevention would be strengthened in the document.


·          What types of emotional behaviour were most common – anxiety or depression? Did distressing media stories have an impact or seeing other children have difficulties in the classroom? – It was impossible to generalise as the whole spectrum of presenting behaviour was seen, from children being very withdrawn to exhibiting traumatised or violent behaviours.  How they responded to trauma or stress depended very much on the individual.


·          There seemed to be a heavy reliance on the Trailblazer, so were there concerns about sustainability, such as future funding? – It did have a strong focus this year with going live and being a good opportunity but not all priorities relied on Trailblazer and they had separate funding streams to support them.  The aim was to maximise the opportunities from Trailblazer to learn from it regarding future activity. For example, for the work with the workforce separate funding had been identified. Trailblazer would provide intelligence and sufficiency work would be delivered through the capital programme.


·          Was there involvement from sixth form colleges and Further Education? - Yes as SEMH was a category within SEND and responsibilities around SEND go up to age 25 they were included.




1)    To note the draft strategy and information provided in the presentation.

Supporting documents: