What schools and further education settings can do

Guidance for schools and settings on supporting pupils with diagnosed or possible OCD.

If you are at all concerned about a child or young person, you should always speak to your designated safeguarding lead as a matter of priority. They will be able to advise on suitable next steps, and speaking to them about any concerns should always be the first action you take, ahead of any of the suggestions on this page.

Although the suggestions on this page are broadly split into primary and secondary age groups, the majority of the advice can be applicable for all ages. All children and young people are different, and it’s important to understand the needs of the individual child and young person when looking for ways to support their mental health and wellbeing.

What primary schools can do

Ensure children understand what to do if they feel overwhelmed

If a child is feeling anxious/overwhelmed in the classroom, they should know what their options are – e.g. sitting out for a bit, visiting a sensory play area, etc.

Communicate with staff

ensure that staff understand the condition and how it may present in class. This will make sure that staff do not punish a child for behaviour they can’t control.

Communicate with peers

If the child and family agree, you could have a class lesson about OCD so that their peers understand it better.

What secondary schools and further education settings can do

Communicate with parents/carers

If a young person has been diagnosed with OCD, communicating with their family about how best to manage the condition in school is important.

Refer to specialist support

If a student is presenting with possible OCD but has not had a diagnosis, they will need specialist support via CAMHS. For advice before making a referral, schools can call their local CAMHS duty line.

Ensure staff understand the condition

If you have a student with a diagnosed condition, ensure that all staff understand it and how it may present. Share any relevant coping strategies with staff so that the young person can be supported across their lessons.

Concerned about a child or young person?

If you are worried that a child or young person is at risk involve your designated safeguarding lead as a matter of priority who will contact the parents/carers and other services as necessary. If the child or young person is at immediate risk, ensure that they are taken to their GP or A&E as a matter of urgency, depending on the severity of the concern.

Related resources

Filter by:
Debunking the myths of OCD video
Secondary

Debunking the myths of OCD video

This animated TED talk debunks some of the common myths surrounding OCD.

View resource
OCD in children and teenagers: FAQ for parents

OCD in children and teenagers: FAQ for parents

A set of questions and answers that parents may have if their child is diagnosed with OCD.

View resource
OCD planning tool for schools
Secondary

OCD planning tool for schools

This clinical document can help schools plan how to support students who have been diagnosed with...

View resource
OCD information for people supporting a child
Primary

OCD information for people supporting a child

Webpage and factsheet for parents and school staff. Information is for older young people. However,...

View resource