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Social, emotional and Mental health


Socialemotional and mental health (SEMH) needs are a type of special educational needs in which children/young people have severe difficulties in managing their emotions and behaviour. They often show inappropriate responses and feelings to situations. So to support them, we use a range of therapies to help them manage their emotions better. 


Lego Therapy


Lego therapy interventions are really useful for children and young people with social difficulties. To access a lego therapy intervention, a child or young person needs to have basic fine motor skills and basic language comprehension skills.

Lego therapy interventions can be an option for young adults and children who have difficulties with: 

  • Communication and language
  • Social skills e.g making friends
  • Expressing how they feel
  • Problem-solving activities
  • Sticking to a task
  • Teamwork
  • Fine motor skills
  • Understanding and following instructions


Play Therapy


Play therapy may be suitable for young people from 2 years up to the age of 18. 


Play therapy may be beneficial for those who have difficulties with: 

  • Overwhelming emotions
  • Processing a trauma or bereavement 
  • Problem-solving
  • Socialising and communication e.g making friends
  • Expressing thoughts and feelings verbally
  • Managing emotions
  • Understanding past experiences
  • Viewing a situation in different ways

THRIVE approach

The THRIVE Approach draws on the latest research from current neuroscience, recent attachment research, current studies of effective learning and current models of child development, in order to help us to understand the needs being signalled by children’s behaviour. Working with parents and class teachers, our THRIVE practitioner carries out assessments of identified children’s social, emotional and behavioural needs which help us to build an Action Plan of targeted strategies and activities to help children re-engage with learning and life.


The THRIVE approach is based on growing evidence that the brain develops through personal and social interaction. The relationships that we have with significant adults is fundamental to who we grow up to be. Our brain is built through trillions of brain-cell connections made by sight, sound, smell, touch and movement. Positive experiences enhance brain connections, and sustained negative experiences can restrict them. Through simple, repeated activities over time, within a safe and caring environment, THRIVE aims to compensate for interruptions in emotional development, when they affect a child’s ability to enjoy life and learn.


A THRIVE assessment helps us to identify emotional developmental needs as early as possible, in order to support and meet those needs on an individual basis. As well as offering new ways of dealing with challenging behaviour, THRIVE also offers both teaching staff and parents useful approaches to working with and helping any child who is experiencing emotional upheaval, whether short or long term. This is not a quick-fix; it  takes time and commitment to see results. However, from research it is clear that early intervention to support children’s needs is the most effective approach to preventing issues becoming more problematic in later life.


A THRIVE Action Plan is a plan of activities tailored to support a child’s identified social and emotional learning targets. The activities are one-to-one and small group play and arts-based activities designed to help the child feel better about themselves; become more resilient and resourceful; form trusting, rewarding relationships; be compassionate and empathetic; and/or  be able to overcome difficulties and setbacks.


Activities might include playing in the sand, cooking, painting, model making, exploring difficult situations through role-play or comic strips, playing strategy games or projects focusing on the child’s own interests. Action Plans are shared with parents who are encouraged to do some of the activities at home with their child. Action Plans are reviewed regularly to monitor the progress children have made.


Our schools THRIVE practitioners are SENco Karen Coates and Deputy Head Sarah Taylor


Forest School


Forest school sessions are designed to address some of the social and emotional difficulties children may have in the classroom and support their holistic development.

Throughout the six-week course, the children take part in various activities including forest games, shelter building, practical skills, forest crafts and learning about plants, animals and the environment. These are designed to:

  • Improve listening skills
  • Improve their ability to follow instructions
  • Develop team work
  • Develop problem solving skills
  • Manage risk taking
  • Give children the freedom to explore

Please select the link to view our forest school curriculum.


Forest School Leaders Jane Bushell and Jo Hammond