Welcome to the SEAL Community!

Social and emotional learning helps children and young people to:

‘… learn how to communicate their feelings, set themselves goals and work towards them, interact successfully with others, resolve conflicts peaceably, control their anger and negotiate their way through the many complex relationships in their lives today and tomorrow’.

This kind of learning underpins positive behaviour and attitudes to learning, personal development and mental health and wellbeing. It is at the heart of PSHE, relationships and health education.

Research shows it also helps raise attainment. Social and emotional learning is attracting increasing attention in schools. On this website you will find age-related teaching resources and whole school frameworks to support your work.

Many of them come from the national ‘Social and emotional Learning’ (SEAL) initiative. By registering with us (which is free, quick and easy), you can immediately find and download all of the national SEAL curriculum materials and teacher guidance. There’s a progression in learning objectives that can be used in any school, and training materials if you want to introduce or refresh a whole-school SEAL approach. Click on National Resources  then click the Getting Started with SEAL tab.

If you would like regularly updated resources and a termly newsletter, you can join our SEAL Community. Set up and supported by leading experts in the field, the SEAL Community is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to promote and develop SEAL through sharing news, practice, resources and expertise. Joining costs £30 for individuals, £75 for schools/settings and £100 for local authorities or other multi-school organisations Join online here

News update

In a survey of over 3000 secondary students by the Anna Freud Centre, just over half of respondents identified at least one adult in school who they would talk to if they were worried about their mental health or that of another pupil, but 47.8% said they wouldn’t speak to anyone in school. The younger the children were, the less likely they were to speak to an adult at school.

Serious mental health conditions in children up 50 per cent in three years

Public Health England have launched a new psychological first aid (PFA) online training course to help support children and young people that have been affected by emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. The training is available to all frontline workers and anyone who cares for or is regularly in contact with children and young people aged up to 25, including parents and caregivers.
 

The Department of Health and Social Care in England has committed £79m to expand plans for increased mental health support. The number of mental health support teams in schools and colleges will grow from 59 to 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children.

Mental health charity We Are Beyond have designed a free mental health and wellbeing festival for schools across the UK. Schools can book virtual sessions hosted by experts, including educational psychologists, yoga teachers, art therapists and more, with each school receiving a free programme of sessions, based on their needs. Festival day will be held on 3rd February, but schools can sign up advance and access teaching packs and resources on mental health and wellbeing.

Sharing practice

Adrian Bethune of Teachappy has described fantastic work on kindness at John Stainer primary school in London. Kindness is a super-power, children were told.

Meath is a special school in Surrey that caters for children with speech, language and communication difficulties. In this year’s national children’s mental health week, the focus was on the theme ‘Dress to Express’.  On Thursday the children and staff were invited to wear bright colours or outfits that made them feel happy.

 

Staff at Billesley Primary in Birmingham have created a ‘Social Emotional Learning Toolbox’, a digital collection of content covering the core SEL competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships and responsible decision making. The toolbox includes visuals, videos and online interactive tools to support each competency.

In a blog for the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) research school network, Laura Butler, specialist teacher and leader of SEL, describes some of the content.

At Cherry Tree primary school in Basildon, Essex 97% of pupils have English as an additional language and 57% of the population of the area are living in poverty, according to a report last year. Wellbeing is a priority for the school. Children aged eight to 10 in four classes do different mindfulness exercises for 10 minutes after lunch each day.

First aid stations have been converted into mental and physical health stations, with trained mental health first aiders to be there at break and lunch times.

Resource roundup

The BBC and Young Minds have produced a set of resources to support young people's mental health as they start at secondary school. https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/teacher-resources-for-students-transitioning-to-secondary-school/zb68y9q

The resources cover four topics related to starting secondary school (being brave, changes, hopes and dreams, support networks) with a video and activity pack for each topic.

We’ve uploaded a useful tool to help children make decisions. You can teach effective use of the tool early in the school year (or as needed) using the following steps:

1. Introduce the tool as a framework for helping them make the best possible decisions – their own decisions.

2. Normalize the use of the tool for all students in your class by introducing it as a universal strategy and not a stigma.

The free ‘Every Mind Matters’ (formerly ‘Rise Above’) suite of PSHE education lesson plans and resources from Public Health England supports primary and secondary school teachers to promote the health and wellbeing of their pupils.

These resources feature peer-to-peer activities, self-reflection and discussion ideas based around influencer and youth-led videos.

The latest lesson plans explore the important relationship between physical and mental wellbeing. Two separate lesson plans are available — one for Year 6 pupils and another for KS3-4 — covering:

Have you seen these nice BBC short films using puppets to explore a range of feelings (embarrassed, envious, lonely, shy as well as the more basic happy/sad/worried/angry)?

The clips are suitable for use with children in the Early Years Foundation Stage/Phase and up to age seven in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Scotland.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/class-clips-video/pshe-early-years-foundation-stage-ks1-feeling-better/zm2st39

Check out this free to download interactive slide deck– some nice ones for check-ins, perspective taking, active listening. https://www.peardeck.com/sel-templates

Practical tools

We all understand R numbers now, and have been trying to keep the COVID R number below 1. From this podcast https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p096kzt8 I learned that research has shown that the R number for kindness is between 4 and 5. Each person being kind passes that on to 4 to 5 others. Each of these in turn pass it to four or five more, through three ‘degrees of separation’. The end point is that, using 5 as the R number, 1 person’s kindness will make 125 people happier. Tell that to your class!

LIGHT BULB MOMENT……SKIPPING GAMES – Could They Be The Best Social Distancing Games Ever?

Jenny Mosley has been collecting skipping games as a teacher since 1972 – so she had 48 years’ worth, either in published Positive Press books or handwritten in notebooks. She is now giving her collection of long rope skipping games away for free. ‘Just use a long skipping rope – one adult and a tall child hold either end of the rope with a child skipping in the middle. They can all line up 2 metres away. Everyone is always desperate for a go,’ says Jenny.

Stella Jones, Director of Town End Associate Research School, suggests ways of developing empathy using structured questioning about stories.

In INSIDE: OUTSIDE, staff use the template to help children explore the feelings of a specific character at a pivotal point. They are asked to consider what is happening beneath the surface (thoughts and feelings) based on observable behaviours (actions and interactions).

Try this on yourself and your friends… what is the ‘core message’ about how to live your life that you think you got from your parents? For us and our friends we got ‘Make something of yourself’, ‘Feel guilty about having more than others’, ‘What will the neighbours think?’

Here’s a top tip from the Edutopia website. A 2018 study showed that positive greetings at the door increased academic engagement by 20 percentage points, and decreased disruptive behaviour by 9 percentage points—adding as much as “an additional hour of engagement over the course of a five-hour instructional day,” the researchers said.

New research

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues have published a report on a sample of Ofsted inspections in Birmingham and London schools.

They found that inspectors focused more on perseverance, resilience and grit than other social and emotional capabilities.

Find out more at https://www.jubileecentre.ac.uk/media/news/article/6784/New-Insight-Series-Paper-Character-and-Ofsted-


 

The Early Intervention Foundation applies rigorous standards to rate different programmes according to the strength of research evidence behind them. The latest to get a strong rating is the .b school based mindfulness programme.  

Watch this nice film about the programme here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8UhpgtSzvg&feature=emb_logo

A  new study shows that schools which promote relationships, resilience and belonging have a bigger impact on the long-term success of pupils from disadvantaged or minority ethnic backgrounds than those which just raise attainment test scores.

In this study, seven-year-olds were given a test of emotion recognition (ER) based on faces and voices. Three aspects of the school climate were assessed:  children’s well-being at school, positive relationships and negative relationships. Girls showed better greater ER than boys; children from socio-economically disadvantaged families showed lower ER than their better-off peers.

School-based humanistic counselling consists of one-on-one sessions with a counsellor employed by a school, and is based on a child-centred approach, with children talking about their issues and developing solutions with the aid of the counsellor, rather than therapist-led approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

 

Top resource

We really like this programme to teach young people aged 8 – 16 years to manage their own anxiety and worry. It helps them develop techniques to use on their own when they begin to feel worried; these are printed onto a fan to keep in their pocket or bag.


We all want children to enjoy playtimes, benefiting from the physical and mental exercise and social interaction that effectively-run outdoor spaces allow. This book has been written to help you or your children teach exciting games that will encourage children's social and emotional development.