This episode is a recording of the online conference and webinar on the topic Well Being that was held on 29th June 2021. The event and this recording contains presentations and talks from national leaders in the field of mental health, well being, trauma informed practice and psychology including Professor Barry Carpenter CBE OBE FCCT, Dr Tina Rae, Sharon Gray OBE and Laura Purser, as well as 5 school based practitioners and leaders from a wide range of settings and contexts.

Presenters and panellists:

  • Prof Barry Carpenter CBE OBE FCCT (Prof. Mental Health in Education, Oxford Brookes University)
  • Dr Tina Rae (Child Psychologist. Prolific & award winning author)
  • Sharon Gray OBE (Former-Headteacher. Former-Ofsted Inspector. Member of the Youth Justice Board, Wholehearted Learning)
  • Laura Purser (Head of Primary, Prep & EYFS at University of Buckingham. Designs/leads master’s level NASENCO course.)
  • Alison Wheeler (Headteacher, Palmerston School)
  • Alex Tomkins (Deputy Headteacher, Greenside School)
  • Jeanette Scull (Deputy Headteacher, John F Kennedy School)
  • Jonah Stancombe (Assistant Principal, Bridge College)
  • Tom Thatcher (PSHE Lead, St Hugh’s Special School)

Professor Carpenter writes…

The pandemic period has witnessed a rapid erosion in the mental health of children. National figures are worrying, but as ever, as Teachers, we must ask ‘how does this affect children’s learning, and how can we remove barriers to achievement generated by issues such as anxiety, trauma and loss?” 

Two major Curriculum initiatives from this September will enhance the foundations created, pre pandemic, of Mental Health Leads in school, Mental Heath First Aid Training, etc:

Firstly, for all children, the new DfE Relationships, Health and Sex Education (RHSE) Curriculum becomes statutory. With its clear focus on Mental Well Being and Relationships, these are perfect platforms for rebuilding each school’s curriculum on meaningful human values, with RSHE at its heart, … for teaching is a relationship based profession.

Secondly, for children with SEND, the implementation of the Rochford Review recommendations, not only brings the Engagement Model into play as statutory summative assessment, but sees a renewed emphasis on the 4 domains of SEND in the Code of Practice (2015) as the curriculum framework for children with an EHCP. As such Social, Emotional and Mental Health, (SEMH), is a vital platform for designing learning opportunities for children with EHCPs.

Evidence for Learning has a strong history of facilitating curriculum development, pedagogy, assessment and practice in the area of Mental Well Being (MWB) through a variety of strategies.”

Alongside Prof. Barry Carpenter, presenters included national leaders and experts in the field – Dr Tina Rae, Sharon Gray OBE, and Laura Purser – together with school based practitioners – Alison Wheeler, Alex Tomkins, Jeanette Scull, Jonah Stancombe and Tom Thatcher – for a rich and comprehensive collection of presentations and sharing of knowledge, ideas and practice that you are invited to take back to your own schools for your own discussions, planning and CPLD.

This episode is packed full of valuable ideas and insights, with colleagues sharing knowledge, ideas and practice that you are invited to take back to your own schools for your own discussions, planning and CPLD.

Episode 24: Well Being – Plans and Possibilities

This episode is a recording of the online conference and webinar on the topic Well Being that was held on 29th June 2021.  The event and this recording contains presentations and talks from national leaders in the field of mental health, well being, trauma informed practice and psychology including Professor Barry Carpenter CBE OBE FCCT, Dr Tina Rae, Sharon Gray OBE and Laura Purser, as well as 5 school based practitioners and leaders from a wide range of settings and contexts.

You can watch the recording of the conference including the 9 presentations on YouTube (below):

LearningShared Episode 24: Well Being – Plans and Possibilities (Conference: 29th June 2021)

This episode is a recording of the online conference and webinar on the topic Well Being that was held on 29th June 2021.

Resources and Videos referred to in the presentations

Laura Purser has created the following accompanying resource to accompany her presentation:

Defining Terms and Take away points LP Mental Health, Trauma and Self Efficacy – Laura Purser (DOC)

Below is the short video referred to by Alison Wheeler, that shows how Palmerston School is using Evidence for Learning with the Thrive Approach to develop healthy, happy, confident children who are ready and open to learning. The video highlights a genuine multi-agency approach to supporting learners that is built on engagement and a process of Inquiry and collaboration. It includes interviews with parents sharing their experiences and emphasising their perspectives on their children’s learning and well-being and their aspirations for the child’s social, emotional and mental health and independence.

SEMH: Creating a multi-agency approach to the development of Social, Emotional and Mental Health

This short video shows how Palmerston School in Liverpool, UK is using Evidence for Learning with the Thrive Approach to develop healthy, happy, confident children who are ready and open to learning. The video looks at how Evidence for Learning facilitates a genuine multi-agency approach to supporting learners that is built on engagement and a process of Inquiry and collaboration.

About Barry Carpenter CBE OBE PhD FCCT

Barry Carpenter holds the UK’s first Professorship in Mental Health in Education, at Oxford Brookes University. He is Honorary Professor at universities in the Ireland, Germany and Australia. He has been a Fellow of the University of Oxford.

He has been awarded an OBE and CBE by the Queen for services to children with Special Needs. In 2017 he was entered into “Who’s Who” in acknowledgement of his national and international contribution to the field of Special Education.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Barry has held the leadership positions of Headteacher, Principal, Academic Director, Chief Executive, Inspector of Schools and Director of the Centre for Special Education at Westminster College, Oxford. In 2009, he was appointed by the Secretary of State for Education as Director of the Children with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project. In that role Barry led an important and valuable piece of research on the use of Engagement as a pedagogy. This work become the foundation for Department for Education’s new guidance for assessment (DfE, 2019). Since completing that research, Barry has overseen the development of a national project developing online ‘Training materials for teachers of children with severe, profound and complex learning disabilities” (

He is the author of over 150 articles and many texts on a range of learning disability/special needs topics. In the last 12 months, his work has been translated into German, French, Dutch and Russian. His most recent book publications (with Carolyn Blackburn and Jo Egerton) focus upon Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Most recently he co-authored “Engaging Learners with Complex Needs” (Routledge).

Barry lectures nationally and internationally. In recent years this has included China, Japan, Abu Dhabi, USA, and Germany. In 2018 he will be giving lectures in Australia and New Zealand. He is the co-founder of the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education. For the Mental Health Foundation, he Chaired the National Inquiry into the Mental Health of Young People with Learning Disabilities. He is currently Chairing a working group looking at the needs of Girls on the Autism Spectrum, which is the focus of his latest book.

Barry has 3 children – one a School Principal, one a Senior Occupational Therapist and a daughter with Down’s Syndrome, who now has a home of her own, published her first book in 2017, and is on an Apprenticeship as a Teaching Assistant.

For more information:

Professor Barry Carpenter’s website:

About Dr Tina Rae

BA (Hons) PGCE MA(Ed) Msc RSADipSpLD ALCM DipPsych Doc App Ch Ed Psy

HCPC registered Educational and Child Psychologist, Author and Educational Consultant

Dr Tina Rae has over 30 years’ experience working with children, adults and families in clinical and educational contexts within local authorities and specialist services.

She is currently working as a Consultant Educational and Child Psychologist in a range of SEMH and mainstream contexts and for Compass Fostering as a Consultant Psychologist supporting foster carers, social workers and Looked after children.

She was an Academic and Professional tutor for the Doctorate in Educational and Child psychology (University of East London) from 2010-16. She is a registered member of the Health and Care Professions Council, a member of ENSEC (European Network for Social and Emotional Competence) and a former trustee of Nurture UK.

Tina is a member of the editorial board for the journal Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties and for the International Journal of Nurture in Education. She is also a member of the Advisory board for Fresh Start in Education.

Tina is a prolific author and has over 100 publications to date. Recent publications include the following:

  • Rae, T. (2020) A Toolbox of Wellbeing Easy-to-use activities to support and nurture young people. Divided into activities for younger children, teenagers and whole groups or classes, and grouped into 3 key recovery approaches of: Self-Regulate; Get Moving Mentally & Physically; Connect for Wellbeing.
  • Rae, T., Such, A. & Wood, J. (2020) The Well Being Tool Kit for Mental health leads in schools A comprehensive Training Resource to Support Emotional Wellbeing in Education and Social Care (Buckingham: Hinton House Publishers)
  • Rae, T. & Such, A. (2019) The ASD Girls’ Wellbeing Toolkit An Evidence based Intervention Promoting Mental, Physical & Emotional Health (Buckingham: Hinton House Publishers)
  • Rae, T., & Wood, J. (2019) The Essential Resilience and well-being tool kit for the early years (Buckingham: Hinton House Publishers)

You can download some information about Tina’s recent publications here:

Tina Rae Books and Publication List 2021 (PDF)

You can find and follow Tina on Twitter at:


Tina’s YouTube Channel website (FREE CPD Resources):

Tina has recorded and shared on her YouTube channel more than 57 CPD videos in her popular “CPD Coffee Time” and “Teens and Tweens” series covering a wide range of topics including:

  • Using Tools from CBT with Children and Young People
  • Anxiety
  • Grief & Loss
  • Peer Group Supervision
  • Emotional Literacy & Emotion Coaching
  • Understanding & Supporting CYP with Body Image Eating Disorders
  • Understanding & Using Mindfulness to Reduce Stress
  • Self esteem & Growth Mindset
  • Using Solution focused Brief Therapy with CYP
  • Understanding and promoting Resilience in our CYP
  • Supporting the Mental health of Teens
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • A Quick Focus on Perfectionism

plus many, many more…

Visit and subscribe to Tina’s YouTube Channel (above) for free access to these and other CPD resources.

Link to Tina’s podcast episode in the LearningShared podcast series recorded in 2020:

Episode #8

About Sharon Gray OBE NLE

Sharon has been a Headteacher for 18 years. This includes 12 years headship leading special schools including residential units for children and young people experiencing severe social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH) and 6 years as the Headteacher of a larger than average mainstream school with an enhanced provision for children excluded from other schools due to experiencing significant social emotional and mental health difficulties. Sharon has also led two nurture units and a provision for vulnerable 2 year olds. During this time Sharon became the Executive Head whilst supporting an additional school in need.

All three settings that Sharon led were judged as Outstanding by Ofsted. She has also been an Ofsted inspector for 9 years and is a BSO accredited inspector.

Sharon is currently an Education Consultant at Wholehearted Learning, a co-opted member of ‘engage in their future’ – representing special schools nationally for young people experiencing severe social, emotional and mental health difficulties. She is also a member of the Youth Justice board – with the strategic overview project lead; of education in custody and the development of our first secure school.

Sharon is a published author and describes her work and purpose as taking a systemic approach to help adults, teams, school, communities, local authorities to create environments that enrich the emotional well-being, creativity and learning of children and young people. The focus being to release a child’s innate desire to learn and for them to discover joy in their learning and so achieve the best outcomes possible.

Her philosophy is one of authentic inclusion and her aim is for everyone within the community that she works with to see themselves as a responsible and vital part of securing positive outcomes for all.

Sharon’s website:

You can find and follow Sharon on Twitter at:

Link to Sharon’s podcast episode in the LearningShared podcast series recorded last year:

Episode #7

About Laura Purser

Laura is Head of Primary, Prep and EYFS at The University of Buckingham. She also leads on SEND & Inclusion, designing and leading the master’s level NASENCO course, training SENCOs for accreditation. With a background in Psychology and Counselling, Laura is also the point of contact for trainees who need emotional support, providing advice on developing positive mental health and well-being.

Laura delivers core lectures and seminars across Primary & Secondary QTS, independent, maintained and international cohorts of PGCE students. Laura delivers a wide range of teaching pedagogy as well as focus on inclusive practice, mental health, balancing stress and workload and increasing self-esteem and efficacy in schools.

Laura is currently undertaking a Practitioner Doctorate of Education by Professional Record (EdD) exploring interpersonal neurobiology and psychological approaches in initial teacher education. Laura is considering the impact on child mental health and well-being through teacher development of emotional regulation strategies, sense of self concept and trauma attachment sensitive approaches that promote positive behaviour practices and policies in schools.

Laura contributes to BELMAS SEND Rig as well as being a member of the Nasen Advisory Group 0-11 and LLSENDCIC NASENCO Provider Partnership.

Laura aspires to ensure that all teacher training develops quality inclusive teachers who put children at the heart of their practice.

You can find and follow Laura on Twitter at:


Some of Laura’s recently published work includes:

Navigating Your Inclusive Compass

Transforming Trauma

The Motivation Mystery

Exploring Concepts of Self: Self Esteem vs Self Efficacy

The Little Guide for Parents on Home Schooling During Lockdown

About Alison Wheeler and Palmerston School

Headteacher at Palmerston School, a secondary (11-19) school for pupils with severe learning difficulties, profound and multiple learning difficulties and associated conditions such as complex health, communication and sensory processing.

Started life as an Early Years teacher working in a nursery where I met a young boy with autism. He kick started my passion for SEN and I took a leap of faith and went on supply working in SEN schools. I got a job at Fox Wood in Warrington which is an all age SLD school and worked my way to the role of 14-19 manager.

In 2008 I moved to Palmerston as the Deputy. We became a teaching school a few years later and the Head as an NLE was out more often than in, so I was promoted to Head of School.

In Sept 2017 we moved to a purpose build school in Aigburth, south Liverpool and in that September I became Headteacher.

Palmerston have 4 Outstanding OFSTEDs with the last one under the new framework in Dec 2019. We no longer hold the Teaching school badge but continue to support mainstream schools in the Merseyside region with outreach and CPD training as I firmly believe we should support all children not just the ones under our roof.

On a personal level, I’m a season ticket holder at Warrington Wolves (Rugby League) but open water swim to compensate for the ups and downs of being a Warrington Supporter

About Alex Tomkins and Greenside School

I have worked in education for 15 years, starting my career working in a residential care for children with complex SEND.

After seeing SEND from a parent perspective I trained as a primary teacher before working in a number of SEND schools, until my current position as a Deputy Head at Greenside Special School in Hertfordshire.

I have strong passion for developing everyone’s mental well-being and an advocate for the importance of a 24 hour curriculum.

My experiences and connections have led me to develop a SEMH project specifically for SEND settings and children.

You can find and follow Alex on Twitter at:


Link to Alex’s podcast episode in the LearningShared podcast series recorded last year:

Episode #14

Greenside School is a special school for 160 learners aged 2-19 years who have severe or profound learning difficulties.

The specific needs of each young person is at the heart of everything we do. We have highly personalised approach, which we call My Curriculum. The 4 aspects are: My Body, My Communication, My Thinking and My Wellbeing. We empower learners to express themselves, to have a sense of fun, curiosity, adventure, achievement and to form safe, fulfilling relationships.

We are co-located with Barnwell Middle School which enables exceptional opportunities for inclusive learning and new friendships. Some of our specialist teaching provision is based in the heart of our community at The Hyde shopping centre, enabling our learners to develop resilience, confidence, self-esteem, vocational skills and independence.

We provide an out-reach service for local primary schools.

About Jeanette Scull and John F Kennedy School

I am an experienced educator and has worked in a range of settings in East London and Botswana (2 years). I delivered NASENCO Newham accredited to I o E and more recently for UEL and am interested in curriculum development and a movement towards inquiry based practices in school.

I am currently a Deputy Head at JFK Special School and enrolled at UEL in the Professional Doctorate. My research area is Curriculum Personalisation, and teachers perceptions of personalisation and belief around their classroom practice with a focus on learners with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities.

I’m looking for participants next year who would like to share their views through Q methodology (let’s call it fancy sorting). If you are interested I would love to hear from you. Please contact me (Jeanette Scull) at

John F Kennedy School are a special school with dedicated sites for profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) and autism spectrum conditions (ASC), full of fantastic, vibrant and incredibly talented students. Our dedicated and highly skilled staff team are passionate about supporting our pupils and each other. Their constant focus on finding new ways to meet our mission statement of enhancing life through learning is a source of inspiration, and something that makes me, personally, very proud.

Covering ages 5-19 we emphasise the importance of communication skills and increasing independence through engaging activities and a class structure that allows us to personalise each student’s learning journey to fit their individual sensory, behaviour, communication, medical and learning needs.

We aim to work in partnership with parents and other professionals as well as enhancing our links in our local community and beyond. And as a founding member of the Learning in Harmony Trust and with our Teaching School Alliance status we also seek to outwardly support other schools in our region in areas of specialist provision and teaching. We know that a collaborative approach is the only way to ensure the best possible opportunities and outcomes for all learners.

About Jonah Stancombe and Bridge College

I am Assistant Principal Bridge College. I have been working in the SEN sector at the college for over 10 years in various roles in the curriculum team. Over the last 3 years I have worked with the MDT team to redesign the curriculum with a focus on preparation for adulthood and embedded therapy.

My key areas of accountability are:

  • Lead on evidencing learner progress (data and RARPA)
  • Lead on admissions assessments
  • Annual learner outcomes
  • Operational running of the college
  • Strategic and operational curriculum
  • Lead on community engagement and liaison

Bridge College is a specialist independent college in Manchester. Bridge offers learning opportunities to young people between 16 – 25 with autism, behaviours which may challenge, profound and multiple learning difficulties and disabilities and young people with complex health needs. The college employs a multi-disciplinary workforce comprising of tutors, support staff, therapists and medical staff. The over-arching aim of the college is to prepare young people for the next stage of their lives.

About Tom Thatcher and St Hugh’s School

Tom Thatcher has been a teacher for 10 years. After completing his PGCE in 2011, he taught in primary education for 5 years before teaching young people with Special Educational Needs.

He has always had a passion for working with the disadvantaged young people in our society which began after leaving school. This is what drew him back to the world of SEND. Tom has been teaching at St Hugh’s Special School in Scunthorpe for 5 years where he contributed towards the school achieving the current outstanding Ofsted status. He has taught across both Key Stage 3 and 4 and he specialises in teaching young people with complex needs.

Tom is an Advanced Team Teach tutor where he trains staff to equip them with the relevant skills and knowledge to support the students within the school. This promotes the young people of St Hugh’s to manage and self-regulate both their behavior and emotions. He has also led the Department for Education pilot of the Engagement Model within St Hugh’s and he has further supported the development of this within his school. Since completing this school based research project, he has completed his NPQML award to become the PSHE lead for St Hugh’s. In this role he has re-structured the PSHE curriculum for key stages 3-5 as well as participating in the recent DfE’s RSE pilots.

Tom is married to Amy and has two young children both whom are yet to start school. He aspires to continue to deliver the best provision for the young people in his school. He aims to focus on supporting their wellbeing and independence alongside their academic achievements. This is so they can become confident young people who can safely access and contribute to their local community.

St Hugh’s School is rated Outstanding by Ofsted, after successful inspections in 2010, 2013 and 2018. It has held National Teaching School status since 2013, when it established a new Teaching School Alliance. Today, this alliance includes over 100 partner and associate schools across North Lincolnshire and beyond.

Join the conversation:

Facebook: EfL SEND Community Group

Join us at:

or search for “eflSENDCommunity” in Facebook.

The purpose of the group is to provide a safe, closed space to seek out and share ideas, experience and resources that can help with any and all aspects of SEND provision. It’s also a community for practitioners and schools that use Evidence for Learning and Insights for Learning to share ideas, resources and support each other in using these apps. This is a peer-moderated and supported group.

Facebook Group: Recovery Curriculum

We’ve set up a private facebook group specifically for The Recovery Curriculum at:

or search for “recoverycurriculum” in Facebook.

Linkedin Group: The Recovery Curriculum

The group is called “A Recovery Curriculum for children & schools post-pandemic” and you can find it at: