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Why listening to the voices and views of children and young people should be the basis for promoting their social and emotional competence. Sir Al Aynsley-Green.

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Presentation on theme: "Why listening to the voices and views of children and young people should be the basis for promoting their social and emotional competence. Sir Al Aynsley-Green."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why listening to the voices and views of children and young people should be the basis for promoting their social and emotional competence. Sir Al Aynsley-Green Kt. Professor Emeritus,University College London Former Childrens Commissioner for England Chair, Anglican Diocesan Board of Education Patron, Childhood Bereavement Network

2 The death of a loved one – a devastating life experience challenging emotional resilience Harrowing stories Enormous courage Opportunity to meet Ability to talk about and share grief Understand they are not alone Receive personalised support Allow life to continue Its possible still to have fun Successful role models despite tragedy

3 Winstons Wish December 2009 Celebrating the memory of a loved one

4 Bereaved children today: death is the great taboo subject* An under-recognised and often poorly managed issue ~20,000 children each year A child experiences bereavement every 22 minutes Who can they turn to?

5 The huge diversity of need Wide range of family structures, resilience and beliefs Range of ages – toddlers to adolescents Expected death Unexpected death Violent death A massive challenge to the design and delivery of effective support services No one size fits all!

6 Cautionary notes Crucial importance of not making bereavement a pathological entity with a sense of failure Many children and families cope well, but we should not underestimate the overwhelming challenge In many ways it is not so much who died and how and why, what really matters is the childs attitude to the family death, how they make sense of it, and what story they tell to people they trust 10-yr follow up of supported children show that they can and do grow up with a resilient mind set and achieve their full potential

7 BUT: overall, bereaved children Visit primary care more At risk for immediate and long term mental health problems Have low self esteem and may be bullied Difficulty forming relationships At risk for physical and sexual abuse Teenage girls increased risk of pregnancy More likely to misuse substances and commit serious crime More likely to be taken into care & excluded from school Underachieve Where does this fit on your radar screen?

8 Nobody understands Ive got nobody to talk to I get bullied at school and the teachers punish me for not doing my homework on time I really needed help when my mum died If families cant help, who can they turn to? Many young people tell us:

9 Death is a reality for every school Death of a Student Teacher or other member of staff Parent or family member Death can be Expected Unexpected Violent or traumatic Should schools be better prepared?

10 Essential resources + Knowledge of local support organisations

11 Lets celebrate wonderful people The Laura Centre, LeicesterHelen and Douglas House, Oxford

12 Wonderful practices The Little Room Helen House

13 Penhaligons Friends

14 What do bereaved children need? Information and education on what death means Encourage to talk about how they feel Understand and express their grief Meet others and share experiences Opportunities to remember Access to support What does this mean for schools & primary health care? – think adult think child!

15 Grief in childhood – a paradigm for emotional and mental resilience. Recognising that there is an issue Getting facts Listening to children and young people Providing appropriate and accessible services Adequate and auditable training Underpinned by research Effective political advocacy for resources The crucial need for someone to turn to!

16 Listening to grief in young people in prison Lancaster Farms Werrington Feltham Unresolved grief ++

17 A vision for the future: In every locality children, young people and families will know how to access expert support appropriate to the family or childs needs. In every school there will be staff trained to understand how to support emotional needs of grieving children. A National Virtual Centre for Grief in Childhood for excellence in research, teaching and training to support service delivery What does this mean for you?

18 A searing commentary on childhood today: Excessive individualism Soaring family breakdown Commercialisation Overly-competitive education Dire poverty The Good Childhood Inquiry 2009 What does this mean for emotional well being and resilience?

19 International league table UNICEF Report Card 7

20 The context of emotional and mental health in childhood: 1 in 10 children has a diagnosable mental health disorder Highest rate of self harm in Europe in UK Particularly vulnerable groups – Asylum seekers – Young carers – Children in care – Disability – Children who have been abused – Bereavement – Hidden harm - young people with drug or alcohol issues Who can they turn to?

21 300,000 children with drug misusing parent 850,000 children with alcohol misusing parent - Impact of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum 160,000 children of prisoners Parental mental health: < 50% of adult mental health users are parents Domestic violence: 700,000 recorded episodes in 1 year 175,000 young carers in the UK – high risk of mental health problems Who can they turn to? Exposing hidden harm:

22 Listening to those with physical and learning disability Who can they turn to?

23 The burden of mental health for schools In a 1000 student secondary school, at any one time: 100 will be suffering significant mental illness 50 pupils will be seriously depressed 10-20 pupils will have an obsessive compulsive disorder 5-10 girls will be affected by eating disorders 35-60 are bereaved of someone close BUT: – Only 25% of CYP with clinically significant mental health problems will be accessing the services they need. Who can they turn to?

24 How can we promote emotional resilience Someone to turn to –Confidentiality –Non-stigmatising –Appropriate setting and environment –Properly trained staff –Whole school environment –Crucial importance of the head teacher Primary SEAL(Social & Emotional Aspects of Learning) Secondary SEAL UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Roots of Empathy

25 A School Drop-in Centre The Tic Tac centre Paignton Community College Someone to turn to – in school

26 Someone to turn to – drop in centres Weymouth Hove

27 Someone to turn to: The staggering success of Child Line Exposes the huge unmet needs of children & young people Many thousands are unable to access the services We need more people for children to turn to

28 A framework for responsible listening & action - UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Children from RRR Schools in Andover, Hampshire Respect, Responsibility and Rights

29 Rights Respecting (RRR) ethos Evaluation suggests wide benefits: –Improved empathy & pro-social behaviour (less bullying and aggression) –Enhanced school democracy –Increased personal confidence and enthusiasm for learning –Greater awareness of international issues –Greater support for diversity and inclusion Being introduced in pre-school settings Rights Respecting Communities in Hampshire: continuity across ages and services

30 Investing in parenting: Roots of Empathy

31 Witnessing baby development: - the basis for empathy and parenting Winnipeg, Canada

32 Can we promote RoE here?

33 The Melksham Resilience Project

34 Wrap-up!! Someone to turn to Bereavement – services, organisation, training and research Childhood today, and international indicators Mental and emotional ill health – context, burden and impact on schools Awareness of the needs of the most vulnerable Promoting emotional resilience Listening to the voices of children and young people What works and how do you know you do any good?

35 So, what does all of this mean for YOU? Identify one Action you will do tomorrow that you hadnt thought of until now!!

36 Thank you for listening!

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