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Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs30 creditsMaster of EducationOnlineContinuing Professional DevelopmentValidated by Middlesex University


Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs will develop your knowledge of theories influencing approaches to working with children with SEMH, allowing you to understand both the characteristics of children and young people with SEMH and the therapeutic approaches to pupils’ well being that could be used to support them.

This module will provide opportunities for you to identify and develop strategies to support children who are experiencing SEMH, including more specific mental health needs and well being issues, by adopting a multi-agency approach.

This module is one of the core / recommended modules on our Masters in Pastoral Care, but when combined with other modules can also be completed as part of one of our other Masters programmes: AutismEducational AssessmentSEND and Inclusion Programme or Inclusive Educational Leadership Programme.


Why take this module?

  • Understand the nature of SEMH as understood through a therapeutic lens including typical and atypical social/emotional development, the development of attachment, factors that can contribute to young people’s mental health and development, and the interface between SEMH and risk and resilience.
  • Explore behavioural science and the link with well being, including issues of intersectionality and identity. This will include neuropsychology of mental health and the impact of well being on cognitive functioning in young people.
  • Be equipped with a range of approaches to working with children with SEMH and effective provision for children and young people who may be experiencing poor mental health.
  • Confidently respond to pupils’ well being needs and consider the well being of the school community, making informed decisions about possible onward referrals based on evidence of effective intervention practice and their understanding of health inequalities.
  • Critically analyse the current research, good practice guidance and psychological theories to construct your own understanding, to reflect on your own practice, and evaluate your decisions made in terms of theory, working in a manner that is sensitive to child safety/protection issues.

Cohorts begin in January, May, or September.

The next cohort begins on 15 September 2024. Book and enrol before 15 September 2024 to join our next cohort.

How will you benefit?

This module will benefit you and your setting in a wide variety of ways. Over the duration of the course, you will:

  • Bring your practice up-to-date with the latest thinking and emerging trends in working with children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.
  • Develop the essential knowledge of the latest policies, theories and research. Acquire the ability to critique knowledge and existing practice seamlessly.
  • Recognise the significance of social, emotional and mental health difficulties and their relationship to mental health theories about risk and resilience.
  • Gain confidence and expertise in evaluating your own work context in relation to local, national provision and legal frameworks.
  • Attain 30 Masters level (Level 7) credits which you can put towards a PGCert, PGDip or Master of Education on our SEND and Inclusion or Inclusive Educational Leadership Programme

Choose a start date that suits you

Cohorts begin in January, May, or September.

The next cohort begins on 15 September 2024. Book and enrol before 15 September 2024 to join our next cohort.

The module content

  • Introduction to SEMH
  • Psychological perspectives; theories of typical/atypical development; elements of child development and developmental psychology and their impact on the emotional and behavioural development of children.
  • Educational entitlement, ’emotional literacy’, behavioural science, neuropsychology and well-being and children with SEMH.
  • Positive support for pupils with SEMH: effective and inclusive practice, interventions which work for the most complex and vulnerable children and young people.
  • Resilience and risk factors; theories of attachment and impact of well being on pupils’ cognition and behaviour.

Strand one: Theory and perspectives about social, emotional and mental health

In this Strand, you will consider a range of theories and perspectives about mental health and social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs. In particular, you will consider:

  • The nature of mental health and the range and prevalence of SEMH needs
  • The stigma and discrimination often associated with SEMH needs
  • The relationship between SEMH needs, behaviour and educational outcomes
  • Legislation and national and local policy concerned with SEMH
  • The perspectives of people with SEMH needs
  • A range of psychological theories that relate to social and emotional development
  • The factors that can influence children’s development and well-being, and
  • Good practice in supporting pupils with SEMH needs

Strand two: Supporting pupils with SEMH

In this Strand you will:

  • Develop your knowledge and understanding of SEMH and the ways such difficulties can be identified and supported appropriately in learning and social contexts
  • Review provision in your setting to support pupils manage SEMH needs
  • Understand and know how to respond to more specific mental health difficulties and well-being issues
  • Understand and facilitate effective inter-professional communication and collaboration
  • Assess, plan and monitor provision to meet the needs of individuals and groups of pupils with SEMH needs, and
  • Apply and evaluate approaches and interventions to maximise learning and manage behaviour.

Strand three: Planning to develop SEMH provision

In this strand, you will reflect on how interventions are evaluated in your setting as well as consolidate what you have learned about your setting in the light of current research evidence on the effectiveness of SEMH provision and the available range of interventions.

In particular, you will:

  • Develop a provision map and relate interventions in your setting to the research base 
  • Create a plan for personal and systemic change in relation to SEMH provision in your setting
  • Share your findings with your working group and manager or the headteacher
  • Draft your final assignment using information drafted in this learning experience

How will you be assessed?

  • Self evaluation questionnaires for you to check your knowledge and understanding throughout the module
  • Three assessed tasks:

Critical analysis (2,000 words): Critically analyse two psychological theories that can support your understanding of a learner’s mental health needs. How can these models help your understanding of a learner and what are the limitations?

Reflective analysis (2,000 words): Using one or more anonymous learners as a case study, reflect on the use of the framework of intersectionality to support the understanding of, and support for, the mental health needs of learners in your setting.

Practice analysis (2,000 words). A Powerpoint presentation outlining interventions and support available within the setting in relation to evidence of best practice, the universal, targets and specialist level.
The presentation should be aimed at professional colleagues in a chosen phase/stage of education (Primary Key Stages 1 and 2, Secondary Key Stages 3 and 4 or post-16/adult).

How is the module delivered?

  • Our courses are delivered through Campus Online, our unique provision for online learning.
  • Campus Online allows you to study at your own pace, without the need to travel, or commit to particular dates or times. Log in to access your study materials, contact your personal tutor for support, connect and network with other delegates and make use of the extensive resource library.
  • You can easily track your progress throughout the course and submit your work and evidence of assignments for feedback.

Are you eligible?

You will need an undergraduate degree to take this module.

You will need to be working in an educational setting for this module. If you aren’t currently working in an educational setting you will need written permission from a senior member of staff to regularly access a setting.

Are you based in an international setting?

This course is available online and can therefore be completed anywhere in the world. Please click here for advice on payment options and other information relevant to those studying outside of the UK.

How much does it cost?

We offer a flexible range of fees to suit your finances:

  • A one-off payment of £1,495 + VAT
  • Three instalments of £523 + VAT
  • Ten instalments of £162 + VAT

For further information please visit the payment FAQ page found here.

Speak to us (01273 358080) or make a booking.

When does the course start?

Cohorts begin in January, May, or September.

The next cohort begins on 15 September 2024. Book and enrol before 15 September 2024 to join our next cohort.

Please note: as it takes time to process your application and payment, we strongly recommend to register as soon as possible, so that you don’t miss the next intake.

How long does it take to complete the course?

The duration of this module is up to one year.

We do understand, however, that circumstances can arise that could prevent the course being completed in this time period. If this is the case, an extension can be arranged in conjunction with the admin team and your tutor.


‘Do this course… it gives you a great overview of SEMH and the opportunity to develop your knowledge and make an impact for young people in all settings.’Teresa Deverick

Module Leader 

Dr Joanna Wood

Jo qualified as a science teacher in 1995 and spent over fifteen years teaching in London secondary schools, including as Head of Science in a Pupil Referral Unit. After retraining as an Educational Psychologist, she worked in a local authority in London, before joining Real Group as a Senior Educational Psychologist in September 2019. Her doctoral research was on supervision for school staff. She has a particular interest in adolescence, school exclusion and mental health.

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