Defining social, emotional and mental health difficulties: Thematic analysis of interviews with headteachers in England.

Martin-Denham, Sarah (2021) Defining social, emotional and mental health difficulties: Thematic analysis of interviews with headteachers in England. Journal of Teacher Education. ISSN 0022-4871 (Submitted)

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Abstract

In the UK there is growing concern regarding the increasing prevalence of social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties experienced by children and young people. Using thematic analysis this article sought to answer the following objective ‘to determine how a sample of headteachers define SEMH’. The analysis found no consensus among the headteachers of a definition of SEMH though four themes were identified; establishing the root cause of the behaviour, unable to cope in school, variation in the child’s emotional state and unidentified mental health difficulties. The results suggest that headteachers are identifying behavioural ‘problems and difficulties’ as an SEN despite this not being a category within the SEND code of practice. To improve identification and response to SEMH difficulties it is recommended that the Department for Education revises language in statutory guidance from ‘should’ and ‘could’ to ‘must’ to enforce a legal duty on schools for prompt identification of needs.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Education and Society > School of Education
Depositing User: Leah Maughan
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2021 16:12
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2021 16:15
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/13117
ORCID for Sarah Martin-Denham: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4028-4197

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