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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

Research project: Evaluating the Poole Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) Project

Currently Active: 

September 2009 - July 2011

TaMHS is a national initiative being led by combined practitioner teams from Primary Care Trusts and Local Authority (LA) and Education staff. TaMHS aims to facilitate the development of intermediate mental health support in schools for children and young people aged 5 to 13 who are experiencing difficulties which are not (yet) severe enough to consider referral to Community Mental Health Services. Poole is one of 55 LAs in the second wave of the project which commenced in September 2009, after an initial ‘Pathfinder Group’ of 25 LAs had started working on TaMHS the previous year.

An extensive set of data is being gathered including regular assessments of each young person’s Strengths and Difficulties and Emotional Literacy made by teachers and parents (and a self-report for the older children). Intermediate analysis at the half-way stage suggest there have been significant reductions in social, behavioural and emotional difficulties reported by both parents and teachers of the young people engaged in the programme. A deeper analysis in three specific schools has gathered interview data from parents and practitioners which suggests that the young people have formed significant attachments with the in-school TaMHS workers and have developed strategies which help them to deal with some of the difficulties they encounter during the school day. Sociograms data has also been collected in these ‘deep-dive’ schools to look at the social benefits of the project in the domains of both friendships and learning.

Additional data which logs the nature and extent of activity of various key members of staff working in the project will help the Poole TaMHS Team make a detailed case for the cost vs. benefits resulting from the project in order to review its sustainability when central funding for the project ceases at the end of the 2010-2011 academic year.

Funding body: Poole Borough Council

Related research groups

Leadership, School Improvement and Effectiveness (LSIE) Research Centre
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