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Measuring and monitoring children and young people’s mental wellbeing: A toolkit for schools and colleges

Schools and colleges are a vital part of children and young people’s support system and are increasingly recognised as key sites to help promote mental wellbeing. The Department for Education offers specific guidance on mental health and counselling in schools. In addition, Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare is a key judgement area within the Ofsted inspection framework. As such, school and college leadership teams have a strong rationale for assessing the health and wellbeing needs of their population and taking proportionate action to address their needs.

Who is this toolkit for? The toolkit will be of interest to senior leadership teams and those with particular responsibilities for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), inclusion, Personal Social Health and Economic education (PSHE), welfare or pastoral support and mental health support. It will also be of interest to partners from the health, voluntary and community service sector who are supporting schools and colleges to improve mental health outcomes for children, young people and their families.

What does it aim to achieve? The aim of this toolkit is to make schools and college staff aware of the range of validated instruments that can be used to measure and monitor student mental wellbeing.

Scope: The instruments that are signposted to focus on subjective measures of positive wellbeing and can be complemented by other objective measures collected routinely in schools and colleges such as the extent of student participation or rates of bullying and behaviour and attendance. Collectively this kind of data will help to build a wider picture of the mental wellbeing of the student population.

Whilst the general content of the toolkit will be of relevance to schools and colleges, the compendium of tools have been categorised according to their application across key stages 1 to 5, therefore the upper age range covers 16-18 year olds. Whilst we sought to include practice examples from across the primary, secondary, special and college sectors, we limited the focus in this toolkit to those examples where validated tools had been used in practice.

We have used the term ‘students’ as an inclusive term covering primary school age pupils as well as secondary and college students.