Showcase your provision for ETI
The Inspection and Self-Evaluation Framework (ISEF) requires ETI inspectors to routinely assess and report on pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.
The Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) is responsible for inspecting schools in Northern Ireland.
The ETI does not inspect all schools on a regular cycle. Instead, it uses a risk-based model, looking at school performance and other indicators, to assess when schools next need to be inspected.
The ETI uses the Inspection and Self-Evaluation Framework (ISEF) to assess schools. The framework is designed to be a more holistic approach to inspecting schools, looking at academic achievement but also ‘the wider skills and dispositions that learners require to live and work in the world today.’
ETI approach to wellbeing
ETI’s framework, or the ISEF, is split into three sections: outcomes for learners, quality of provision, and leadership and management. Each section has three sub-sections. The area most concerned with wellbeing sits under outcomes for learners: ‘wider skills and dispositions/capabilities’.
What inspectors are looking for
According to the ISEF, effective practice in this area is demonstrated when:
- children and young people develop self-confidence and self-esteem through participating in and contributing to a range of activities both in and out of school;
- children and young people take personal responsibility for their learning, set goals and know how to achieve them;
- children and young people have a sense of personal and social responsibility and contribute confidently to the life and work of the school and the local community;
- children and young people are confident to plan, review and evaluate, and know how to improve the quality of their own work;
- children and young people are motivated, resilient and positively engaged in their learning;
- staff enable children and young people to develop insights into society and other cultures;
- children and young people work independently and with others, demonstrating and developing skills such as problem solving, decision making, managing information and thinking critically and creatively;
- children and young people develop dispositions to learning appropriate to their stage of development, for example, commitment, determination, openness to new ideas, respect, curiosity, flexibility and integrity;
- children and young people manage their own emotions, personal conduct and interactions with others; and
- children and young people apply their learning and develop team-working and leadership roles in a range of local and global contexts, and have an understanding of these roles in future life and employment contexts.
Things schools can do
Some of the aims laid out in the ISEF will be addressed through the teaching of Personal Development and Mutual Understanding (PD&MU) or Learning for Life and Work (LLW). The ISEF includes self-evaluation questions for schools to look at when auditing their own provision. These can be useful when beginning to think about a whole-school approach to mental health, but don’t offer many practical solutions.
To implement a whole-school approach to mental health in your school, there are some key steps to take:
- Assess your existing provision: it’s important to regularly evaluate and assess your school’s current performance and pupils’ wellbeing, as well as action planning for improvement.
- Prioritise pupil voices: putting children and young people at the heart of any whole-school approach to mental health is key. Find out more about how to do this.
- Staff induction, training and supervision: high-quality training and support should be available both for school leaders and for the broader staff team. Options could include mental health first aid training, or you could speak to your local health trust, or the Public Health Agency, to see if they have any preferred training providers. This website can also be a useful tool for staff induction and continuous professional development.
- Involve parents and carers: Parents and carers should feel engaged with the school and its approach to wellbeing. Find out more about how to do this.
- Link with external support: good links with external mental health support are important. This could include links with your local CAMHS, counselling providers or other organisations in your area. Find out more about how to find these services local to you.
- Support staff wellbeing: a mentally healthy school looks after the wellbeing of both pupils and staff. Giving staff the right mental health support will enable them to support their pupils in turn. Find out more about how to do this.
Assess your current provision
Know your starting point and your end goal before you begin.
Support staff with their own wellbeing, and train them to successfully look after their pupils’ wellbeing too.
Make sure children and young people are heard
An inclusive school culture that prioritises pupils’ voices is key.