SEMH at Swarcliffe Primary School 

Swarcliffe Primary School promotes a caring, supportive environment in which each individual is valued and respected. We have high expectations for all and aspire to achieve excellence. Swarcliffe Primary School recognises that all children and young people need the foundation of positive mental health to benefit fully from all of the opportunities available to them.

Everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable. At times, anyone may need additional support to maintain or develop good mental health. The mental health of children and young people, adults in schools, parents and carers and the wider whole school community will impact on all areas of development, learning, achievement and experiences.

All children and young people have the right to be educated in an environment that supports and promotes positive mental health for everybody. All adults have the right to work in an environment that supports and promotes positive mental health for everybody.

Swarcliffe Primary School is committed to raising awareness, increasing understanding and providing a place where all children and young people feel safe, secure and able to achieve and experience success and well-being.

A consistent approach means that the school environment and school ethos all promote the mental health of the whole school community. Healthy relationships underpin positive mental health and have a significant impact.


At Swarcliffe Primary School we will provide:

A mentally healthy environment which has:

  • A clear and agreed ethos and culture that accords value and respect to all
  • A commitment to being responsive to children and young people’s needs
  • Clearly defined mental health links in school policies
  • Clear guidelines for internal and external referrals
  • Strong links with external agencies such as Place 2 Be to provide access to support and information
  • An allocated team of teachers for mental health promotion with the expectation that there is support and involvement and an ethos that ‘mental health is everyone’s business’


A mentally healthy environment is where children and young people:

  • Have opportunities to participate in activities that encourage belonging
  • Have opportunities to participate in decision making
  • Have opportunities to celebrate academic and non-academic achievements
  • Have their unique talents and abilities identified and developed
  • Have opportunities to develop a sense of worth through taking responsibility for themselves and others
  • Have opportunities to reflect
  • Have access to appropriate support that meets their needs
  • Have a right to be in an environment that is safe, clean, attractive and well cared for
  • Are surrounded by adults who model positive and appropriate behaviours, interactions and ways of relating at all times


A mentally healthy environment where staff:

  • Have their individual needs recognised and responded to in a holistic way
  • Have a range of strategies that support their mental health, e.g. a named person to speak to, signposting
  • Have recognition of their work-life balance
  • Have the mental health and well-being of the staff reviewed regularly
  • Feel valued and have opportunities to contribute to decision making processes
  • Celebrate and recognise success
  • Are able to carry out roles and responsibilities effectively
  • Are provided with opportunities for CPD both personally and professionally
  • Have their unique talents and skills recognised and opportunities are provided for development
  • Have time to reflect
  • Can access proactive strategies and systems to support them at times of emotional needs in both the short term and the long term


A mentally healthy environment where parents/carers:

  • Are recognised for their significant contribution to children and young people’s mental health
  • Are welcomed, included and work in partnership with schools and agencies
  • Are provided with opportunities where they can ask for help when needed
  • Are signposted to appropriate agencies for support
  • Are clear about their roles and expectations of their responsibilities in working in partnership with schools
  • Opinions are sought and valued and responded to
  • Strengths and difficulties are recognised, acknowledged and challenged appropriately


A mentally healthy environment where the whole school community:  

  • Is involved in promoting positive mental health
  • Is valued for the role it plays in promoting positive mental health
  • Contributes towards the ethos of the school

Swarcliffe Primary School aims to provide a whole school approach to SEMH, which is essential to ensure consistency and effectiveness for all pupils.

Additional practices to promote wellbeing and positive mental health include: 

  • A School Council with elected membership which represents all year groups, that meets every term.
  • A school behaviour policy which is consistently implemented across school which promotes excellent effort, outstanding attitudes.
  • Swarcliffe celebration assemblies every week.
  • Supporting Mental Health week and completing classroom activities.
  • Support and advice from Place 2 Be for staff, children and parents.


Swarcliffe Primary School aims to recognise our responsibilities in supporting pupils with mental health and wellbeing needs.

  • To increase the level of awareness and understanding amongst staff and parents/carers of issues involving the mental health of young people, in particular with low self -esteem, self-harm, emotional regulation, anxiety, depression, loss and bereavement.
  • To detect and address problems in the earliest stages where they exist in thinking and attitudes to self/image, self-esteem and self-control.
  • To implement the appropriate level of support in school available to pupils, staff and parents with mental health issues and also in partnership with outside health agencies and child support groups.
  • To continue to promote positivity around mental well -being.
  • To reduce the stigma associated with mental health.
  • To ensure all staff are alert to their responsibility to ensure the well-being and welfare of all pupils, progress and achievement in school depends on this.

Young Minds is the UK's leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people and empowering their parents and carers. You can find a confidential parents helpline, info about their campaigns, their publications and help and guidance for children & young people. They also advise professionals including teachers, school nurses, social workers and counsellors.

Leeds CAMHS website has useful information for Leeds Schools on advice, referrals, training, Evidence Informed Practice and other areas.

MindMate is a new Leeds website for families, professionals, children and young people around youth mental health. If you’re a young person, MindMate can help you understand the way you’re feeling and find the right advice and support. If you’re a parent, carer or professional, MindMate can help you support a young person you know.

As part of the PHSE curriculum we teach pupils about Social, Emotional and Mental Health.  We do this using the MindMate lessons which have been developed here in Leeds by teachers and mental health experts working together. The lessons have been funded by the South Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group as part of the Future in Mind programme. 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children will suffer mental health problems at some time in their life.

The lessons are contemporary and interactive and will help pupils:

  • understand their own feelings
  • understand the emotions and mental heal needs of others
  • ask for help when necessary
  • support their friends and families to be mentally well
  • reduce the stigma associated with mental health

There will be lots of interesting activities for pupils to participate in as well as clear ground rules to ensure that pupils are comfortable with the subject matter.  All lessons have been created to be age appropriate. 

Northpoint Wellbeing, formerly Leeds Counselling, is a registered charity with a mission to help people experiencing emotional distress. They work across West Yorkshire, and offer a range of services, including an Early Start Counselling Service for parents & carers of under 5s in Leeds and School Counselling Leeds for children & young people in Leeds.

Parent Gym is an evidence-based parenting programme involving a series of six sessions proven to increase parents’ skills and confidence and so improve the behaviour and wellbeing of their children.

Children's Sleep Charity are a national, award-winning charity supporting children with sleep issues. They provide support for families and accredited training for professionals and commercial organisations.

Childline offers free and confidential phone and online support lines to children and young people in need. They also offer online counselling via their website.

Rethink Mental Illness helps millions of people affected by mental illness by challenging attitudes and changing lives. Today they directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone. Their website is full of advice, support and resources.

Mind is National Mental Health Charity who won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect. They provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

The Leeds Bereavement Forum are a small charity based in Leeds who work to develop and improve bereavement services in the city. They signpost individuals to the most appropriate bereavement service either locally or nationally. You do not need to be referred to them, their service is free and open to all. They also campaign in partnership with Dying Matters nationally and locally.