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Posted on Jul 3 2024 by Bobbie Kelly

Education expert urges all schools to remember that "there are not problem children, there are children with problems" when it comes to behaviour management

Speaking ahead of the LightBulb SEMH Conference (Every Behaviour is a Communication) Conference being held on Tuesday 9 July, Education expert Jo Stockdale has urged schools to "deal with the root, not the fruit" when it comes to children's behaviour.

Jo is a keynote speaker at the conference, which is being held on Tuesday 9 July at Barclaycard in Northampton. The event has been arranged by the team behind the LightBulb Mental Wellness Programme for Schools, which is having a real impact on supporting mental health in young learners.

The LightBulb programme, which can be used in primary and Secondary schools, has been designed by the Education team at St Andrew's Healthcare. It aims to help teachers spot the early signs of mental health issues in children and then take appropriate early action, providing ready-made framework to help schools demonstrate and showcase excellence regarding mental health practice to regulatory bodies such as Ofsted.

The conference itself will be focussing on behaviour, a big topic of conversation in education, bringing experts together to discuss what learners' behaviour might really be communicating. It will ask the big questions, such as "If we focus purely on students behaviour, what affect does this have?", and "How do we deal with learners' needs and help improve their wellbeing?"

Keynote speakers include Jo Stockdale (Founder, Trainer & Consultant from Well Within Reach), Nina Jackson (Associate Director with Independent Thinking Ltd), and Kim Ferrari, Speech and Language Therapist from St Andrew's Healthcare.

Jo explained: "I’ve worked in lots of schools and know that behaviour is an increasing concern for many of them. The ‘solution’ is rigid behaviour management policies or ‘zero-tolerance’ approaches to ‘nip problems in the bud’, to stop what would be challenging behaviour from escalating, to keep pupils in line.

"Is it so surprising that ever-increasing numbers of children are disengaging from learning, resenting their teachers, or feeling so anxious about being in school that they can no longer attend? Nobody’s winning here.

"One-size-fits all approaches to behaviour management disadvantage the already-disadvantaged children. The environments young people are raised in, the experiences that they’ve had, the quality of relationships that they’re exposed to, the absence or presence of acute distress and trauma are all just a few factors which can significantly impact the development of the yet-to-mature brain.

"There are not ‘problem children’, there are children with problems. Let’s deal with the root, not the fruit."

Nina Jackson is also speaking at the event. She feels that Pastoral support in schools is crucial for pupils' mental health and wellbeing.

"Pastoral care provides students with a safe space to express their feelings and concerns. This emotional support can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. When students feel heard and understood, they are more likely to cope with challenges and maintain a positive outlook. Pastoral care also plays a key role in addressing bullying and other social issues.

“By fostering a culture of respect and inclusion, we can create a safe and supportive environment for all students, which is vital for their mental health. By addressing emotional, social, and practical needs, pastoral care helps ensure that students are well-equipped to face the challenges of growing up and learning."

To find out more about the conference and to book your place, click here.