Nurturing young people's social and emotional wellbeing
Between the ages of 11 and 19 years, young people undergo numerous physical and emotional changes which will help shape their adult life. Experiences during this time could determine whether they will choose to misuse drugs and alcohol - or whether they will have emotional and behavioural problems later in life.
NICE's guidance on ‘Social and emotional wellbeing in secondary education' outlines how secondary education providers and service commissioners can help protect and nurture young people by providing a friendly, supportive environment.
The aim of the guidance, which was published in September, is to ensure they are happy, confident and in control, with the ability to solve and cope with problems and have good relationships.
Professor Mike Kelly, Public Health Excellence Centre Director at NICE, explains: “Social and emotional wellbeing can help protect young people against poor physical health, emotional and behavioural problems, violence and crime, teenage pregnancy and the misuse of drugs and alcohol”.
The set of six recommendations complement existing initiatives such as the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) and Healthy Schools programmes.
It includes advice on implementing an organisation-wide approach to meet young people's needs. It also advises head teachers and governors, as well as others working in children's and youth services, to work in partnership with parents, carers and other family members.
Secondary education establishments, it says, should have access to the specialist skills, advice and support they require. Practitioners should have the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to develop young people's social and emotional wellbeing.
The guidance also recommends providing young people with clear and consistent information about the opportunities available for them to discuss any personal issues and emotional concerns.
Professor Kelly adds: “This guidance aims to help schools, colleges and Children's Services to ensure young people's social and emotional needs are recognised during secondary education, allowing them to continue to develop and learn, undisrupted by emotional concerns or behavioural problems.”
Indeed, it is only by taking such measures that education providers can ensure our secondary schools foster a supportive environment which promotes both the learning and the wellbeing of students.
For more information please click on the following link:
1 Morgan A, Malam S, Muir J et al. (2006) Health and social inequalities in English adolescents. Findings from the WHO health behaviour in school-aged children study. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Issued: 28 September 2009
This page was last updated: 10 May 2010