In June, we were proud to launch our behaviour and mental health in schools report. This followed a year-long inquiry where we explored the links between behaviour and mental health, and looked at what can be done to improve both behaviour and mental health in schools. We spoke to hundreds of young people, parents, carers and professionals to understand their views and experiences.
We found that the underlying drivers of behaviour are much more complex than is sometimes assumed. We heard how persistent poor behaviour in the classroom may be an indication that a child or young person has an unmet or undiagnosed need or is struggling to communicate or to regulate themselves. The young people, parents and carers, and professionals who gave evidence to the inquiry highlighted that a young person’s behaviour is linked to both their mental health and to their special educational needs and disabilities.
Our findings also suggest that punitive approaches to behaviour management, such as the use of removal rooms and exclusion, may be harming children and young people’s mental health, and that these approaches may not even be effective in improving behaviour in the long-term. This is because they do not address the underlying drivers of the behaviour.
The report calls for a wholescale culture shift in how behaviour is viewed and responded to in schools, including full implementation of whole education approaches to mental health and wellbeing in order to build supportive and inclusive school environments.
You can read more about our findings and recommendations for change in our full inquiry report or watch our animation.