Universal / Whole School Approach 

A Universal / Whole School Approach to emotional wellbeing is an effective, evidenced based of both boosting wellbeing across the whole school community as well as contributing to belonging / inclusion and attendance and attainment. 

An Approach...  Not a programme or a linear pathway but something that schools can work with to meet specific needs and starting points. The are a number of models but the most effective are underpinned by the 8 principles set out in the Public Health England approach below.

What is a Whole School Approach? 

Research shows that schools  that adopt a multi-component approach are more effective in promoting social, emotional health and mental wellbeing. The whole school approach involves pupils, staff, parents and the community as well as outside agencies in addressing emotional wellbeing and mental health issues.

It recognises that all aspects of the school community can impact upon students’ learning and mental health and that they are inextricably linked. 

The Department of Education (DfE) and Ofsted recognise that the whole school approach will help pupils succeed, as the approach supports them to become resilient and mentally healthy and will be effective in improving long term outcomes for children and young people. The current Ofsted Framework draws on the PHE Whole School Approach and the DfE funded MH Leads Training is centred on the 8 Principles.

Public Health England produced the superb "Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing: a whole school and college approach". The document sets out the 8 principles for promoting emotional health and wellbeing. It has been recently updated

PHE WSA model

The Mentally Healthy Schools Workbook 

Headstart Kernow are working with Dr Pooky Knightsmith during Y3. Part of the work is to offer schools access to and support around Pooky's recently published 'The Mentally Healthy Schools Workbook'  which is full of practical tips, ideas and case studies for supporting school to make small successful changes along the way to creating a WSA. 


Six Litmus Tests

6 litmus test image

Here is a quick guide to to the workbook and the 6 Litmus Tests and Pooky gives an introduction to the workbook in this short film. 


Trauma informed practice and a Whole School Approach 

Dr Margot Sunderland on The Key Components of a Mentally Healthy School. and the TIS UK Self-assessment Implementation checklist for Protect, Relate, Regulate, Reflect

More information on the TIS Website  


Resilience and a Whole School Approach

The BoingBoing Resilience Framework and the Young Minds Academic Resilience Approach (based on BoingBoing's Framework) provide another, asset focused, approach that schools can use to suit their needs support wellbeing in the context of a Whole School Approach. Find out more and access resources by following the links above or click on the image below.

Resilience Framework



Creating Trauma-Informed Organisations 

Dr Karen Treisman, another highly regarded thinker, author and trainer in the field of trauma informed practice has recently completed

a mammoth resource for looking at a whole school / setting approach on how to become a trauma informed organisation.

It is an outstanding resource that we can't do justice to here... Karen gave a super webinar for Cornwall soon after publication in June '21

and we are hoping that she'll come back in the new school year.