Partnership helps teachers and pupils with emotional wellbeing
22 December 2015
Earlier this year, a report by The Children’s Society claimed that children in England are among the unhappiest in the world. More than a third said they had been bullied in school, and half had felt excluded.
The report called for counselling to be available for all children. Along with the appointment of a school behavioural ‘tsar’ by the government in June to help teachers tackle low-level disruption, the emotional and wellbeing development of the country’s school children could not be more important.
For the last five years, the national charity Family Links and the Faculty of Education at Canterbury Christ Church University have been working in partnership to ensure that social and emotional learning is at the heart of teaching and learning in schools. The two organisations have recently cemented their relationship further by launching a Postgraduate Certificate in Social and Emotional Learning, the first of its kind in the country.
Family Links is dedicated to empowering children, parents, families and schools to be emotionally healthy, believing that emotional health is the foundation for achievement and happiness. They offer innovative, high quality training through different programmes aimed at providing adults and children with understanding, skills and ability to lead emotionally healthy lives, build resilience, empathy, self-esteem and support positive relationships.
One such training programme is the Nurturing Schools Network, which has been embedded into all primary teacher education at Canterbury Christ Church University.
This approach gives new teachers the skills and strategies to create positive classroom environments and greater confidence in dealing with challenging behaviour. It also helps the teachers to gain a better understanding of the connection between emotional health, self-esteem and pupil behaviour, as well as supporting the wellbeing of newly qualified teachers.
Wendy Cobb, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Christ Church, explained: “In the context of primary education, social and emotional learning is critical. In the context of teaching right now, with schools under pressure and nearly half of all new teachers leaving the profession within their first year, it is critical that we equip and support our beginner teachers, as well as experienced ones, with the most robust emotional skills.
“Our partnership with Family Links is aligned with our priorities and visions for our students and central to our work at the University. The Nurturing Schools Network model is a different kind of teaching; a model where the social and emotional aspects of learning are attended to from the outset. And our new Postgraduate Certificate in Social and Emotional Well-Being will offer the opportunity of continuing professional development for all teachers. Together we can work to improve systems and services for children and families.”
Nick, Haisman-Smith, Chief Executive of Family Links, said: “Family Links operates at multiple levels. At a professional level it is helping teachers to get better in their practice and at a personal level it is helping them to improve their sense of wellbeing.
“We are delighted to continue our relationship with Canterbury Christ Church University and excited to see the new developments, which include the Postgraduate Certificate and research that will look at the positive impact of social and emotional learning in schools for academic performance, engagement and further study. This places Family Links and Canterbury Christ Church at the forefront of this this work in the UK.
“The vision that staff from Christ Church had for its students to set-up this initiative for social and emotional health is replicable and it is essential that other communities and groups of schools and universities look to do the same. It is something we can’t afford not to do for our children and for families.
For more information on the work of Family links visit their website.
To learn more about training to teach visit the webpages for Canterbury Christ Church University’s Faculty of Education.