Managing mental health in school children

New educational resource monitors social and emotional development in pupils 

“Fagus” is an educational framework used in schools by teachers to monitor, review and support social and emotional development in school-age children. It has been developed by a team of educational psychologists at Beech Lodge School in Berkshire. The school was established in 2013 to support children with emotional and social difficulties and the resource was developed because nothing similar exists in the educational arena.

Alastair Lidster, who lead the team of educational psychologists who developed the resource, says: “Fagus was born out of a need we identified while working with children at Beech Lodge and we are delighted that our knowledge can now be shared with Teachers and Educational Psychologists throughout the country. Monitoring children's social and emotional development is an important part of helping all children to have good mental health.”

Fagus is used to establish a child’s current level of development, set appropriate goals and track progress. It comprises 13 developmental guides, each one relating to a social and core development areasemotional domain. Every section is supported by online tools including developmental checklists, developmental profiles and goal attainment record sheets.

Furze Platt Junior School in Maidenhead is currently using Fagus and Inclusion Manager, Rachel Endacott, is already beginning to see positive results:

“We have used Fagus to help a pupil and their teacher focus on one particular area, in this case, ‘coping’. By concentrating our efforts, we have been able to set a clear objective - ‘to co-ordinate coping responses with less support from adults and to independently choose coping behaviours without support’. This has resulted in a change in the pupil’s reactions and behaviour. As a result, the child is happier and their classroom is calmer. We have also found that the simplicity of the Fagus framework is helping us explain to parents the challenges their children are facing at school.  And to describe how we are supporting them – through the Fagus programme -  to develop the emotional resilience they need to thrive.”

lucy and fagusFagus has been warmly welcomed by the adoption community, as it was principally developed for use with pupils with attachment and trauma related difficulties often faced by adopted and looked-after children, however it can also be used for a range of school age children who demonstrate delayed or impaired functioning in emotional and social areas.

Dr Jennifer Nock is a Chartered Psychologist specialising in developmental/relational trauma and attachment in education and care settings who believes a resource like Fagus is long overdue:

“Fagus provides a clear and comprehensive framework for teachers to support a child who feels disconnected from the educational environment because they are not emotionally and socially equipped to cope. By applying Fagus tools and checklists, teachers can assess a child’s current development and in so doing, acquire a deeper understanding of their challenges. Then the Fagus resource can be used to develop a clear pathway - punctuated by achievable objectives - to help the child attain the skills they need to build emotional resilience, succeed academically and ultimately, feel happier at school.”

If you would like to know more about how Fagus could be used to support children in your school, please visit or call our helpline 0845 5651758

March 9, 2017

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