The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition have pulled together our member’s views and responded to the Department for Education’s call for evidence on behaviour in schools. Our joint response highlights how whole school and college approaches to mental health and wellbeing are critical in supporting behaviour and makes key recommendations to the government on what needs to change.

Our members are concerned about how children and young people’s behaviour is approached within education settings through the use of ‘zero tolerance’ and punitive approaches. There is growing evidence that such approaches are detrimental to children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing and can create a vicious cycle of escalating distress and punishment for those with pre-existing needs.

We know that behaviour and the aim of a calm and orderly classroom can be promoted in a variety ways, and we share the ambition to enable and facilitate learning. The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition urge the Department to recognise that understanding and addressing the causes of behaviours that challenge is far more likely to achieve sustainable improvement in behaviour. We believe that this approach enables children to learn, securing educational attainment.

This response focuses on behaviour management strategies. To inform our response, we have collected evidence from a diverse group of members. We highlight case studies of good practice throughout this response where positive behaviour strategies and whole school and college approaches are being used successfully to support behaviour. Through such approaches, schools and colleges in these case studies have demonstrated how educational attainment and mental health are inextricably linked.

Read our full response here