The school view the training available as part of the MHST programme as “a wish list that’s really just come to life”. Teachers at Birstall benefitted from having time between the training sessions so they could put into practice what was delivered, reflect, then use the next session to feedback and develop greater understanding. The Principal described how the programme has developed the capacity of staff to support pupils through their daily practice: “So what we’re able to do is put some of those strategies in place, as I said, really quite early on and it’s about doing little but often”.
The impact of this whole-school approach has meant fewer referrals are made to CAMHS, and pupils are being supported directly by the school staff or by the education mental health practitioner.
Birstall have developed a relationship policy using the principles of emotion coaching which should be implemented before the behaviour policy. They believe that through the training from the MHST programme they came to appreciate how pupils interact with school policies differently, so changing the structure of the policy helped adapt to pupils’ needs. They have also seen relationships with parents and carers improve, and have provided training for them in conjunction with the MHST staff.