About Us

Barnardo’s Let’s Connect Service supports the emotional wellbeing and mental health of whole school communities. 

We know that mental health and wellbeing affects us all. 

We believe that, for those experiencing difficulties, gaining help from people who understand, within an environment committed to maintaining everybody’s wellness, is vital and helps schools to be an educating, encouraging, and enabling place to be.

Click here to see our Let’s Connect brochure.

Why it’s important

The prevalence of mental health challenges children and young people are experiencing is increasing and we all know that unaddressed challenges impact on pupils’ learning and academic outcomes.

Barnardo’s experience of working in schools has shown us the increasing challenge and expectation of school staff to have the know-how to support the range and extent of complex needs pupils bring. School staff are often the first port of call to children’s distress and upset and there is increasing expectation that schools provide the answers, direction and support to growing numbers of pupils.

At Barnardo’s we appreciate that wellbeing in schools starts with school staff: recognising that a pupil or colleague may be struggling can be difficult and supporting the wellbeing of others if you’re struggling with your own wellness can be even more difficult.

We can provide evidenced based support which will help schools develop their foundation to work with the Ofsted framework and develop positive evidence across aspects of mental health and wellbeing for pupils, for school staff and for the wider school community.

The provision of a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing enables the development of a shared wellness language and shared approach to wellness across your entire school. Speaking the same language and using the same approach then helps to develop strengthened connections and relationships across your school community.

1 in 3

children and young people struggle with their mental health.


of teachers report experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression at work.

1 in 6

How we can help

  • We support schools to develop a whole school approach in delivering effective mental health and wellbeing support for pupils, staff and the wider school community. 
  • We offer a menu of support options which align with latest guidance from NICE, the DfE, Ofsted, the Children’s Commissioner and latest published research.
  • We understand the essence of trauma informed practice and can support your school’s understanding of what this looks like in a school setting. We can provide training to staff as well as guidance and strategies for staff supporting pupils who are experiencing difficulties, due to the effects of trauma.
  • We support schools to grow their own resources by training members of the school community to facilitate evidenced based support programmes. This enables schools to provide sustainable support early, and to be more self-reliant and reduce the need for funding from external providers.
  • Our support is evidence based and we can use our experience and expertise to tailor each offer to meet the needs of individual schools and settings.

Our mission is SET:

  • Support pupils and staff to have a better understanding of themselves, so they feel confident to manage their own wellness. 
  • Enable early access to wellbeing and mental health support to prevent difficulties escalating, and help children and young people reach their potential in school.
  • Train staff and young people to deliver evidenced based and sustainable models of wellbeing support so they can support others in their school community year-on-year.

Whole School Approach

Evidence based models have been developed to provide a framework and guide to promote social and emotional wellbeing in schools for the benefit of the individual, the whole school, and the wider community. This requires engagement from all within the community and with a focus on early identification and intervention along with a focus on staff wellness too.

Barnardo’s support offer can help schools achieve a sustainable whole school approach to wellness and mental health and embed nurturing, inclusive and trauma informed environments.


Ofsted’s current strategy prioritises children’s health with a strong focus on guidance and support of healthy relationships and the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. 

The Ofsted framework requires schools to routinely assess, monitor and address pupils’ mental health and wellbeing under the key judgement area of personal development. This includes resilience, confidence, independence and an understanding of how to keep mentally healthy.

Barnardo’s Let’s Connect Service provides the foundation for schools to work with the Ofsted framework and develop positive evidence across the aspects of mental health and wellbeing for pupils, for school staff and for the wider school community. 

The different types of support we offer provide an early response to potential school exclusions; improve individual self-esteem, wellbeing and confidence; support positive mental health issues; address specific concerns such as exam worries and managing transitions and enable schools to build a nurturing, effective and positive whole school culture.

Trauma Informed Practice

Many Integrated Care Boards are promoting the benefits of developing environments which are supportive of the difficulties we all face and the impact of these, particularly for pupils. Schools are being encouraged to adapt their working practices to become trauma informed. 

Trauma relates to many events such as sexual, physical and emotional abuse, as well as neglect, disasters, accidents and medical injury. Events or experiences such as bullying, school transition and exam pressure, where the individual’s support mechanisms fail to provide essential protection, can also result in a trauma response. Similarly, living with high levels of anxiety can impact on how thoughts and feelings are processed and can result in trauma reactions to situations that people ordinarily would not find challenging. Given the prevalence of difficulties that pupils and staff are likely to experience that may evoke trauma responses, it is important for schools to adapt policies, processes and protocols to be trauma informed. 

Barnardo’s Let’s Connect support offer can you help you do this and can help you understand what trauma informed practice is and what it looks like in your school. We can provide training to staff as well as guidance and strategies for staff supporting pupils who are experiencing difficulties, due to the effects of trauma.

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