Emotional Health and Wellbeing

Lead: Sarah Lyles sarah.lyles@surreycc.gov.uk


To help children and young people to understand and express their feelings, build their confidence and emotional resilience, and therefore their capacity to learn through the promotion of positive emotional health and well-being.


When a school promotes positive emotional health and wellbeing pupils can better understand and express their feelings. This builds their confidence and emotional resilience and therefore their capacity to learn.

Emotional and spiritual resilience that enables us to enjoy life, survive pain, disruption and sadness and cope successfully with change. It is a positive sense of well-being and an underlying belief in our own dignity and worth (MIND, 1998)

'Poor social and emotional capabilities increase the likelihood of antisocial behaviour and mental health problems, substance misuse, teenage pregnancy, poor educational attainment and involvement in criminal activity. For example, aggressive behaviour at the age of 8 is a predictor of criminal behaviour, arrests, convictions, traffic offences, spouse abuse and punitive treatment of their own children. (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Guidance: Social and Emotional Wellbeing in Early Years, April 2012)

All who work with children and young people have an impact on their emotional health and wellbeing. Schools are a key piece in a multi-agency jigsaw of services which can ensure that children develop self-esteem and maintain good levels of emotional health; and that children who are having emotional / mental health difficulties are identified and supported.

Many schools are emotionally healthy communities with positive behaviour and rising levels of achievement. There needs to be recognition that emotions, thinking and learning are all linked. Where staff and pupils feel good about themselves they perform better.  As Goleman notes, “80% of all adults ‘success’ comes from their emotional abilities rather than their cognitive ability" (1995).

Effective emotional wellbeing comes from ongoing whole school programmes that promote positive mental health rather than reactive strategies which focus on reducing poor behaviour. 

Emotionally healthy schools develop a climate where everyone is valued, motivated and inspired to achieve.  They develop in everyone the social, emotional and behavioural skills that enhance learning. We need to remember that in communication only 7% of what is said is absorbed: much more is absorbed through action and body language.

Interventions in the early years are especially important because inappropriate parenting practices and language delay may lead to emotional or behavioural disorders.