School staff in Swindon trained to spot the early signs of poor mental health among pupils are celebrating the success of a new scheme.
The town was one of 50 areas given money as part of the Targeted Mental Health in Schools Project to run services for three years from April 2008.
The Swindon scheme has reduced unnecessary referrals to the NHS and has led to children being treated locally.
In total staff have worked with 451 children, 300 teachers have been trained and 17 primary school nurture groups have been set up. A new study shows they have reduced children's "difficulties" by 85 per cent. Secondary schools in the town also now have a "Stress-busters" programme, which has helped all pupils involved improve their mental health.
The town was given #163;325,000 in the first year, falling to #163;155,000 by year three. It also received #163;50,000 for services in special schools and pupil referral units.
Swindon Borough Council said staff from the Department for Children, Schools and Families have been impressed by the way the programme was set up, and the activities run. Work in the town will be used as an example of good practice for other areas. KM.