SEMH stands for Social Emotional Mental Health. It is something that is a high priority in our schools, as we fully understand that positive mental health is the bedrock of all learning, and enables children to thrive both in school and all through life. Our sensitive and pro-active approach to the well-being of pupils and staff is something we are very proud of, and having small cohorts enables us to engage with and understand the social and emotional needs of our pupils intimately. We are a school that cares very deeply about the aspects of children that cannot be measured or easily observed through academic assessments.

The World Health Organisation defines mental health as a state of wellbeing in which every individual achieves their potential, copes with the normal stresses of life, works productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act.


Good mental health helps children:

•      Learn and explore the world

•      Feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions

•      Form and maintain good relationships with others

•      Cope with, and manage change and uncertainty

•      Develop and thrive.


Children’s social and emotional development underpins our curriculum, and bespoke lessons and projects are planned with these elements in mind. Whether it’s through challenging texts in English, philosophical thinking in RE, connecting mind and body in PE or specific teaching in PSHCE, our highly skilled teachers are able to lead conversations about a wide range of mental health topics with ease and sensitivity.

In classes children work on a bespoke programme of learning that equips them with a set of skills and strategies for emotional regulation. We draw on a broad range of stimulating texts and resources, and regularly share book lists with parents.






“I love having big in depth discussions in English lessons and exploring the complex characters and
emotions of the characters in the books we read.”
(Year 5 pupil)

“I find the feelings bears cards really help me to understand my own feelings and the feelings of other children.”  (Year 2 pupil)

“My favourite time of the week is when we all curl up on the floor and listen to the
guided meditation about the magic treehouse. It’s so calming and makes me feel so good.”
(Year 3 pupil)

“I know I can talk to the teachers about anything that is troubling me.
They really care and always know what advice to give.”
(Year 5 pupil)

“I think everything we are learning about emotions is going to really help me when I start secondary school.”
(Year 6 pupil)

“I love doing forest school because it teaches you a lot about being resilient and overcoming obstacles,
that’s a really important thing for life.”
(Year 3 pupil)


Our ‘Mental Health Champion’ Mrs Hume is leading a team of teachers across the Dales Academy Trust to roll out a Mentally Healthy Schools Strategy for all our Trust Schools. This exciting collaboration will enable us all to share best practice and quality resources with schools of different sizes, and gain insights and understandings from pupils from a variety of different backgrounds.

If you would like any further information about our SEMH policy and practice, please contact Mrs Hume at Kirkby Fleetham.


Useful links for parents

Guided Meditation on YouTube

NHS Service