SEMH High Needs Pathway

The SEMH High Needs Team was conceptualised in the light of several factors:

  • The closure of the Auckland Pupil Referral Unit
  • The exclusion rate, particularly in Primary aged children
  • The inequality in access to specialist educational support for children and young people with SEMH needs, due to the trading of SEMH support services
  • The reflection that in some cases, referrals to more specialist placements were not able to go ahead as panels felt schools ‘could have done more’ to support children in mainstream and had not followed a ‘graduated’ approach

The work of the SEMH High Needs team is primarily to support the prevention of exclusion through early intervention and responsive support.

It is envisaged that the intensive nature of the SEMH High needs team will impact on the level and type of exclusions, will reduce the severity of perceived need and increase feelings of confidence in parents and teachers, as well as impacting on factors that are individual to the child, the family and the school context.

The initial bid was secured by Paula Thompson, Head of Specialist Inclusion Support Service (SISS) and the work agreed by Phil Leivers, Assistant Director. The joint nature of the work was then agreed between Paula and Halit Hulusi, Principal Educational Psychologist.

The team is run by Jane Shaw and Melissa Jones from SISS SEMH team and Community Educational Psychology. There are several SEMH High Needs team members; Ann Frost and Sarah Moorman will work as Inclusion Support Practitioners (ISPs) within the team, alongside three teachers from the SISS SEMH Team and all 9 of the CEPS team who have been allocated identified time for high needs work.

Evaluation of the work will take place around May 2020 and this will involve a range of interested stakeholders who are keen to support meaningful evaluation and positive change.

We wish to reduce bureaucracy and provide positive and proactive support for children and young people, so there are no ‘set’ criteria for children and young people’s level of need currently.

It will be important that school colleagues consider carefully the support they have provided for children and young people (as described on the accompanying High Needs Team checklist). If these things are in place and school have used proactive strategies, requests for involvement will be considered by Jane and Melissa.

SEMH high needs work is designed to complement existing SEMH and EP involvement and is not envisaged to provide an ‘emergency service’ for reactive exclusions.

The SEMH High Needs work will begin at a planning meeting on a Wednesday morning with existing services, parents and school colleagues. At this meeting, individual targets will be set, timelines will be determined and a review meeting will be scheduled.

Each child/ young person, family and school will access a tailored service comprising of an EP and SEMH teacher (and ISP if required). Work is envisaged to take place in school and at home with the family, depending on need.

All requests require the following documents:

  1. The Request Form
  2. High Needs Team Checklist

SDQs for parents, teachers and young people where appropriate:

Please email completed forms via email at to Jane and Melissa who will consider each request carefully. Where requests are declined, there will be individual follow up with the person making the request to explain why and suggestions for further actions.

There are evaluation measures built into the SEMH High Needs work and a full breakdown of these is available via email from Melissa directly. We will start to gather information from the evaluation measures and have some results in May 2020; it is anticipated that this will be shared within the Borough, and then changes can be made from this feedback.

If you have any feedback at all at any stage about the process of request for support, or anything else, please email us and input in the subject line ‘SEMH evaluation comments’.