Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs

The Specialist Teaching and Preschool Service has a team of Specialist Teachers (Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs) and Support Workers. The team provides specialist support to mainstream schools in meeting the needs of children aged 4-11 who have social, emotional and mental health needs.

‘Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs’ (SEMH) is an overarching term for children and young people who show difficulties in one or more of the following:

  • managing their emotions
  • social interaction
  • mental health

These difficulties may be displayed through them becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as through challenging behaviour.

For some children difficulties in their emotional and social development can mean that they need additional and different provision in their school in order to achieve. It is important that they are able to form and maintain healthy relationships and fully engage in the learning opportunities provided. Our team works in a range of ways to:

  • help education staff carry out recommended assessments to better understand your child’s social and emotional needs ,
  • develop the skills of the staff in managing your child’s behaviour resulting from their social and emotional difficulties through modelling, coaching and training
  • coach support staff to carry out the recommended interventions that will develop your child’s social and emotional skills

Social, Emotional and Mental Health Support Workers work in primary schools and are skilled coaches and trainers of Teaching Assistants and Mid-day assistants. They offer staff guided problem solving sessions and encourage reflective practice. They support settings in partnership with parents and all those involved to develop a unified plan (One Planning) of support.

The team works with colleagues in the Specialist Teaching and Preschool Service and liaises with a range of professionals including:

  • school staff
  • health professionals
  • educational psychologists
  • social care professionals

Support for your child may include:

  • Assisting school staff to assess needs and monitor progress
  • Ensuring good liaison during transition phases
  • Ensuring good liaison between families, the school and other professionals
  • Observing your child or meeting with him/her, providing feedback to the class teacher, school support staff, SENCos and other professionals
  • Advising schools on the use of support staff to promote inclusion and independence
  • Signposting to other support agencies on sources of useful information and support
  • Promoting well evidenced practice and supporting appropriate reasonable adjustments for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs
  • Providing training and signposting to other relevant training

Specialist Teaching Team Managers:

MID (Braintree, Chelmsford and Maldon)

NORTH EAST (Colchester and Tendring)

SOUTH (Basildon, Brentwood, Canvey, Castlepoint & Rochford)

WEST (Epping, Harlow, Uttlesford)

Lead Specialist Teacher (Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs): Catherine Stephenson

Who the service provides for

The team supports schools in meeting the needs of children aged 4-11 with social, emotional and mental health needs.. Schools can contact the team at the stage of identification of need.

Hours of operation

We are available five days a week, 52 weeks a year.

How the service is accessed

Schools access the service when they need support with assessment of needs, planning effective interventions or how to implement an intervention.

If you would like the school to have the benefit of this service to support the needs of your child, then please discuss this with your child's school.

Operational locations

  • Essex


County Hall
Market Road