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Past event Part of series: President’s Roundtable Seminar Series

President Roundtable Seminar Series: Wellbeing – Schools and pupil mental health: do we fix the child or do we fix the school?

Online registration for this event has now closed, please email  to register.


Lead: Professor Jane Hurry, UCL Institute of Education

BERA Presidential Roundtables provide compelling research reviews offering a state-of-the-art position on topics that are of interest to researchers, practitioners, policy makers and wider society. Each Presidential Roundtable results in a clear statement of the evidence in the field and implications for educational policy and practice. It is hoped that the statements will be a key reference point over several years, subject to periodic review and updating. The roundtables will also be used to promote engagement and dialogue across as many stakeholders as possible.

There is an understandable eagerness to engage schools in supporting the wellbeing and mental health of adolescents. From an environmental perspective, young people spend much of their time there and school influences their development. Factors such as experiencing bullying and poor school connectedness undermine wellbeing and are risk factors for mental ill-health. From a medical perspective schools offer an opportunity for early detection of mental health difficulties and early treatment. There is evidence that intervention in school can improve wellbeing and reduce mental health difficulties. However, the fact that schools are primarily educational institutions creates a fundamental challenge for providing this support. School focus is principally on an academic curriculum. Addressing wellbeing and mental health is more discretionary and school staff mainly untrained in these areas. An alternative is to invite mental health professionals into schools. This approach was supported through the Green Paper, Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision (2017). However, external mental health professionals are not well-placed to change school environments. In this Roundtable we will consider the evidence base on school-based approaches to adolescent wellbeing and mental health with the particular intention of drawing conclusions about how schools and mental health professionals can reliably and consistently support adolescents in their contexts. The implications of social and medical models of intervention will be foregrounded, exploring the extent to which approaches adopt a ‘deficit’ model to adolescent wellbeing and the extent to which the adults in charge of the institutional space address wider environmental factors.


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Profile picture of Jane Hurry
Jane Hurry, Professor

Professor at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society

Jane Hurry is the Professor of the Psychology of Education at UCL, Institute of Education. Mental health has been a focus of her research over the course of her career, and, over the last two decades, centering on adolescent wellbeing and mental...


Profile picture of Chris Bonell
Chris Bonell, Professor

Professor of Public Health Sociology and Associate Dean for Research at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Chris Bonell is Professor of Public Health Sociology and Associate Dean for Research at the London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine, previously been a professor at University College London and Oxford University. He specialises in...

Profile picture of Jess Deighton
Jess Deighton, Professor

Professor in Child Mental Health and Wellbeing at Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families/UCL

Prof. Jess Deighton is Professor in Child Mental Health and Wellbeing at UCL, Director of Innovation, Evaluation and Dissemination at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and Director of the Evidence Based Practice Unit. Her...

Profile picture of Catherine Carroll
Catherine Carroll, Dr

Senior Lecturer in Education at St Mary’s University

Dr Catherine Carroll is a Senior Lecturer in Education at St Mary’s University in Middlesex. She has over twenty five years of teaching and research experience in schools (mainstream and special) and higher education; lecturing in education and...


Profile picture of Matthew Hopkinson
Matthew Hopkinson, Mr

Policy Lead at Department for Education

Matthew Hopkinson is policy lead for pupil physical and mental wellbeing in the Department for Education, which incorporates policy on school approaches to pupil wellbeing support, anti-bullying and PE and school sport.

Profile picture of Ann Keane-Maher
Ann Keane-Maher, Ms

Principal at Ernest Bevin College

Ann Keane-Maher is a highly experience Head teacher with over 40 years’ experience in schools across the country. She started her teaching career in 1980 and spent 17 years teaching English and Drama at schools in the West Midlands. In 1997 she...

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