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Medway TAMHS Project. Final Evaluation. Sarah Evans - Educational Psychologist. The Targeted Mental Health in Schools programme (TAMHS) was set up by the DfES in 2008, with funding for three cohorts of 2 year projects.

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Medway TAMHS Project

Final Evaluation

Sarah Evans - Educational Psychologist

The Targeted Mental Health in Schools programme (TAMHS) was set up by the DfES in 2008, with funding for three cohorts of 2 year projects.
  • Medway’s bid was successful for Phase 2, with funding running from April 2009 to April 2011
  • The project bid identified the Strood and Hoo area. All 23 infant, junior and primary schools in the area were invited to express an interest, with 10 schools selected according to application of a range of criteria
Following the success of the Onside project, based at Silverbank Park, the TAMHS Project bid proposed following a similar model of offering a range of therapeutic approaches to pupils.
The schools involved were:

Elaine Primary School, including Chalklands Opportunities Unit, All Faiths Community School, Gordon Junior School, Sherwin Knight Junior School, St Nicholas CE Infant School, Stoke Community School, St James CE School, Temple Mill Primary School, Allhallows Primary School and High Halstow Primary School

The project was functioning in schools from September 2009 to July 2011
  • Interventions available were reflexology, play therapy, psychotherapy/counselling, art therapy and creative arts therapy
  • 338 interventions were completed by July 2011
In addition to therapeutic interventions, the TAMHS project also offered training opportunities to all schools involved.
  • Schools were offered the ‘Solihull Approach’ training, and bespoke training on attachment difficulties.
  • Schools also received funding to set up therapy space
Targets set by the project bid –
  • A 10% reduction in exclusions in TAMHS Schools
  • A 50% drop in statutory assessment requests in TAMHS Schools
  • 95% of pupils supported by the project, who transfer from KS 2 to KS3, to be maintained in Medway Schools
Target of 10% reduction in exclusions met
  • In TAMHS Schools, exclusions reduced by 71% in the time period examined
  • In the ‘comparison schools’, exclusions reduced by 84%, and by 78% for Medway primary schools as a whole
Target of 50% drop in statutory assessments not met
  • There was negligible change in statutory assessment requests in TAMHS schools or ‘comparison schools’
  • In TAMHS Schools, in the time period examined, there was a 45% drop in statutory assessments for social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, and autistic spectrum difficulties
Target of 95% pupils involved maintained in Medway Schools after transfer to KS3 almost met –
  • 89% of pupils involved in the project who transferred from KS 2 to KS3 were successfully maintained in Medway Schools (there were 2 pupils who were involved, who attended Chalklands Unit, and who moved on to a specialist EBD, out of authority placement
After a variety of ‘hiccups’, it was decided to ask parents, children and school staff to complete the Goodman Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire before therapy and at the end of therapy – and school staff also completed this 3 months after the end of therapy
  • The SDQ yields a ‘total difficulties’ score, and a ‘prosocial’ score.
For pupils who received psychotherapy/counselling, play therapy, art therapy and creative arts therapy –
  • Average total SDQ scores for all referral groups, and for SDQs completed by parents, children and school staff, all decreased – this is positive change
There were few differences in results when analysed by referral criteria or gender – with one exception
  • Parents of boys perceived greater change in their children than any other group
Questionnaires were completed at the end of the project by all the therapists involved, and by 8 out of 10 of the Headteachers involved.
Therapists felt well received in schools
  • Therapists expressed sadness that the project was ending
  • Therapists would have liked more qualitative information to have been captured
7 out of 8 heads responding said their school had received some training from the project
  • Heads whose schools had received training believed the project had had a positive impact on whole school practice
Heads found the Vulnerable Pupil Register useful (this was the tool which they were asked to use to identify pupils for therapy), but also used other strategies to identify pupils for the project
  • Heads were very positive about the impact of the therapeutic interventions on the child
For SDQs completed by school staff 3 months after all types of therapy had ended, total difficulties scores had continued to reduce and prosocial scores had continued to increase – representing on-going positive change
lessons for the future
Lessons for the Future….
  • There were over 6 months of funding before work began in schools – there were difficulties with set up, recruitment and selection, CRB checks etc. This issue would need to be resolved to make best use of funding available
There were a number of issues related to gathering data and information for this evaluation – these need to be addressed in the future. For example, information/database held relating to statutory assessments
There were issues relating to sharing of information – what was appropriate to share/methods of communication/codes of conduct – between therapists and school staff – as perceived by school staff. Early shared understanding would resolve some of these issues
Roll Out….
  • Emotional First Aid
  • Primary Onside?