SEMH (Social, Emotional, Mental Health)

SEMH stands for Social, Emotional and Mental Health.

What The Bio Psycho Social Can Do For Learners With SEMH Difficulties 687 526 80 int

At Kippax Ash Tree Primary we promote an inclusive, restorative environment in which each individual is valued and respected. We have an ethos of setting high expectations of attainment for all pupils with consistently applied support, tailored to each individual child where needed. We recognise that all children and young people need a solid foundation of positive mental health to benefit fully from all of the opportunities that are available to them. We want our children to be resilient and mentally healthy, so that they can succeed.

At times, anyone may need additional support to maintain or develop good mental health. The mental health of children and young people, adults in schools, parents and carers and the wider whole school community will impact on all areas of a child's development, learning, achievement and experiences. As a staff team, we understand and recognise the risk factors and indicators that may signify that a child needs additional support with their SEMH needs and we respond accordingly.

During their time at Ash Tree, some children may experience short but significant periods of high anxiety, stress, distress or anger that affect their education, whilst some children may have a range of longer-term recognised mental health conditions. Through high quality whole-class teaching, we provide our children with inner resources that they can draw on as a buffer when negative or stressful things happen, which helps them to thrive even in the face of significant challenges.

Where a child needs targeted SEMH intervention for a mental health problem, we work with others to provide interventions that use a graduated approach to inform a clear cycle of support. Assessment is used to establish a clear analysis of the child’s needs, a plan is set out as to how the child will be supported, the action needed to provide that support will be planned and regular reviews will be held to assess the effectiveness of the provision and lead to changes where necessary. We offer specific interventions led by specialists such as Pastoral Support, Family Outreach Workers and Play therapists and through close work with Outer Agencies such as GPs, Educational Psychologists and CAMHS, we respond re actively to meet all children's SEMH needs.

On this page you will find:

  • details of our proactive mental health teaching (MindMate)
  • support and guidance for parents, with useful links

Why is teaching about mental health so important?

Inspirational ideas explained by some older children in Leeds. A short film made by the Future in Mind:Leeds involvement panel:

Teaching SEMH skills has the potential to improve academic outcomes, keeps children safe and improves the mental well-being of pupils and future generations. There is an increasing focus on the roles of schools in meeting the SEMH health needs of their pupils, and this is something of upmost importance to us at Kippax Ash Tree.


All staff at Ash Tree are trained on the MindMate 'Scheme of Work'. MindMate is a brand new, exciting and modern social, emotional and mental health curriculum for Key Stages 1-4. The MindMate lessons have been written by a range of teachers, mental health professionals and consultants in partnership with other services and groups. They are designed to fit into our PSHE curriculum, in a modern, engaging and evidence based manner.

Age appropriate content includes both broad upstream topics such as healthy relationships and more mental health specific topics such as low mood and depression. In addition, Emotional Literacy skills (based on the work of the Southampton Psychology Service) are incorporated into all the lesson outcomes to ensure that the learning is personalised and embedded. This means that children practice a range of skills, including talking about their feelings, rather than simply developing a theoretical understanding of SEMH. In a safe environment, we’re equipping our children with the language that they need to be able to talk about their own mental health and that of others, and we provide activities to enable them to rehearse conversations around mental health.

The MindMate lessons are self-contained lessons, but they join together to form a spiralised social, emotional and mental health curriculum. There are six themes which form the framework for primary learning. In addition, there are specialised modules which allow for a more detailed focus on selected topics and which could be used in addition to the core lessons or for targeted groups of pupils.

The 6 key themes, which are taught in the order that they appear, are:

- Feeling Good and Being Me

- Friends and Family

- Life Changes

- Strong Emotions

- Being the Same and Being Different

- Solving Problems (and making it better)

This teaching directly complements our PSHE Scheme, 'You, Me and PSHE'.

What is available in Leeds to support Parents and Carers with their child's SEMH needs?

Useful links for parents: