The Public Health Interventions Advisory Committee (PHIAC) took account of a number of factors and issues when developing the recommendations.
3.1 Secondary education establishments have a clear role to play in promoting social and emotional wellbeing within a broader national strategy. Other elements of this strategy will include, for example, the development of policies and partnerships to improve the social and economic circumstances of young people living in disadvantaged circumstances.
3.2 Good social skills, positive relationships and resilience can protect young people against low self-esteem and problematic behaviour (and other risks to mental health). It can also help them to benefit from educational opportunities.
3.3 Despite the limitations of the evidence, PHIAC considers that a number of principles for good practice have been established in progressive secondary education establishments. In particular, strong leadership and good management and organisation appear to be prerequisites for successful interventions.
3.4 PHIAC adopted an holistic approach to promoting social and emotional wellbeing within secondary education establishments. This emphasises the importance of a supportive and secure environment. It also emphasises an ethos that avoids stigma and discrimination in relation to mental health and social and emotional difficulties. The approach supports students with special needs, including those with long-term health conditions and disabilities.
3.5 The guidance should be adopted within the context of the services (and processes) involved in promoting young people's social and emotional wellbeing in secondary education. These may range from school-based, universal services to the referral and treatment of young people with mental health problems.
3.6 Many schools and other secondary education establishments already have well-established systems and processes for promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of their students, based on a whole-school approach. However, others have made less progress. PHIAC considers that the recommendations will address this inequity in provision.
3.7 It is important that this guidance is implemented in a way that recognises local circumstances.
3.8 Prevention of abuse is not the primary focus of this guidance. However, as neglect and abuse can lead to mental health problems, the guidance must be used in conjunction with local child protection policies and other procedures to safeguard young people.
3.9 Effective social and emotional wellbeing programmes in secondary education are based on partnership working with young people. Ensuring they can express their views and opinions is a vital aspect of this partnership.
3.10 This guidance does not consider:
the effectiveness of interventions in relation to educational attainment
interventions that address the relationship between social and emotional wellbeing and factors such as physical activity levels and nutrition
clinical interventions for established mental illness.