Our well-being panel took the strains away

8th October 2010 at 01:00

In response to "Confidence deficit: why teachers say they don't spot pupils' mental illness" (September 24), up until recently I worked in a large mainstream primary school in a very deprived area of East Sussex as the "teacher in charge of the social and emotional wellbeing of the whole school community".

My background was as head of an independent special school but also as an educational psychotherapist. My role was focused on "bridging" the gap, linking teaching and learning and emotional development.

To support this we set up a "wellbeing panel", which met once a month. The panel consisted of the head, head of inclusion, head of teaching and learning, team leaders for each of the phases, lead teaching assistant for behaviour and myself.

The team leaders "brought" a child to each meeting for discussion, having previously circulated documentation to panel members. This system created containment for the anxiety and issues that these children often bring to a school and allowed people at different levels to think about the needs of the child.

It encouraged class teachers and teaching assistants to become advocates for their children and engaged them in the process of assessment of needs.

Alison Waterhouse, Robertsbridge, East Sussex.

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