Improving mental health support in South Yorkshire schools

6th February 2019

A new course helping South Yorkshire schools be better prepared for supporting young people with mental health issues has begun at Sheffield Hallam University.

The Trauma Informed Schools (TISUK) course, delivered in partnership with Sheffield Hallam's social mobility programme South Yorkshire Futures, provides training to professionals from a range of education settings, in helping pupils and students with mental health problems. The ten-day course builds on work already being done in Sheffield Hallam's Sheffield Institute of Education (SIoE) to ensure newly-qualified teachers are equipped with an understanding of what children and young people might be experiencing and how best to support them. The course, which recently had its first session, is spread over six months, with education professionals from nurseries, primary schools, secondary schools, further education colleges and other education organisations enrolled. Clare Miller, headteacher at Wath Victoria Primary School in Rotherham, recently started the course: "I wanted to come along to develop my knowledge and be able to upskill our staff so that we're meeting the needs of children. We currently don't have the skills to support children who come to us with underlying traumatic experiences and mental health issues - courses like this can help us to address this knowledge gap at all levels. "It's quite an emotional topic to study. There are some difficult concepts to get your head around and some quite difficult emotions that you have to ride through yourself." Nikki Pullinger, lead advocate for early years and primary at Sheffield Virtual School said: "So far the course has been brilliant, it fits really well with the needs of the children we support in various settings and it's going to help us provide further support in schools for children who have been or are in care." Julie Harmieson, co-director of Trauma Informed Schools UK, said: "We are really excited to be a part of this innovative practice in translating the learning from being ACE (adverse childhood experiences) aware, to being ACE active, enabling practitioners from across the region to integrate this into their teaching. "This course is training practitioners from across South Yorkshire, from early years through to further and higher education, because all our children and young people need this support." Sally Pearse, early year's education lead at South Yorkshire Futures said: "South Yorkshire Futures is supporting the expansion of trauma of mental health informed practice in schools and settings in the region by hosting this course at Sheffield Institute of Education. "We believe that these research-informed approaches ensure that vulnerable children and young people in our region receive the support they need." As a key regional institution, the University has committed to improving education across South Yorkshire through its ground-breaking social mobility partnership: South Yorkshire Futures. The flagship project, backed by the Department for Education, aims to improve attainment and raise aspiration for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds across all age groups, whilst developing a dedicated workforce to support them. From early years through to higher education, Sheffield Hallam provides over 1,000 qualified teachers each year to the education system regionally and nationally. The University works with a range of partners to undertake world-leading education research to inform and influence practice and policy, including working with UK and international governments.

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