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Blue Smile service in schools

Blue Smile provides a whole school approach for mental wellbeing, with both its extensive Menu of Services aimed at teachers, heads and groups of school staff, and 1:1 counselling and therapy for children aged 3 to 13. For children, we work using proven fun, arts-based therapies which engage the child in a non-threatening way, helping them to organise their feelings and process traumatic experiences. So far, our highly skilled therapists and mentors have helped nearly 700 children to be happier and feel better.

We are proud of our impact (2016-2017):

95% of parents say that their child's problems improved because of Blue Smile
83% of children with very worrying mental health issues improved
88% of teachers say that Blue Smile children improve in the classroom

We have two types of children's service: our subsidised Partner Schools and our flexible Outreach Therapy.

Partner School Service:

We currently have eight partner schools, mostly in areas of deprivation in Cambridge, which is our training and development hub.

Teams of 6-7 Therapists and Mentoring Counsellors led by an experienced Team Leader go into Partner Schools on a Blue Smile day every week. They see 15-18 pupils, one-to-one, in each school during that day. There’s no stigma as we’re seen as part of the school. Therapists also work with parents, carers and teachers on goals and strategies for helping the child with their emotions.

We subsidise this service and children with less complex needs see our Mentoring Counsellors who are volunteers early in their clinical training. This is the training ground for our Outreach Service.

Outreach Menu of Services:

Blue Smile Outreach uses our most highly qualified therapists who can go anywhere in Cambridgeshire and surrounding areas. An individual therapist sees 3 or 4 children in a school, usually with complex needs. Counselling is a recognised use of pupil premium.

We have a large range of other services with Outreach, including groupwork for children, teacher training, work with parents and carers, and teacher “supervision” – giving teachers and senior managers time to consider personal and professional issues affecting their work.

Read our Outreach Leaflet to learn more about how our menu of mental health services could be tailored to support your school.

How therapeutic support can help

Empathic support through therapy and mentoring helps children and young people to manage and make sense of their feelings. It builds self-esteem, confidence, self-control, concentration and the ability to form good relationships.

The referrals taken by Blue Smile include support for difficulties such as:

  • bullying
  • anxiety states
  • distress, grief and bereavement
  • eating disorders
  • relationship problems
  • adjustment to illness
  • stress and post-traumatic stress
  • panic attacks
  • phobias
  • behavioural problems
  • depression
  • self-harm
  • withdrawn behaviour
  • suicidal thoughts

Therapy and counselling works towards better coping strategies and school performance, and away from later mental health difficulties and problem behaviours.

The government recognises the importance of such early intervention and a good school is judged by its ability to deal with problems that arise, while OFSTED increasingly recognises the important part played by counselling in a school’s pastoral care system.

Blue Smile has exemplary safeguarding practices and policies.

If you are interested in the possibility of Blue Smile coming into your school, please contact our Outreach Project Leader, Jess Manley on Tel. 01223 314725 or by email at jess.manley@bluesmile.org.uk

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