Inquiring Minds

Emotional wellbeing support to promote pupil resilience


Pupils with disabilities are at least four times more likely to experience mental health problems than their non-disabled peers. Journal-writing has been associated with reducing stress, behaviour difficulties, depression and anxiety, as well as improving coping strategies. Chadsgrove Teaching School’s action research (May 2015-April 2016) therefore focused on adapting mainstream KS1-4 mental wealth journals, developed by Marilyn Tucknott, for pupils with physical and/or learning disabilities.

Eleven KS1-KS5 pupils took part in the research with fully informed consent from parents. The research team collected data about teachers’ adaptations and their impact on students’ emotional and social wellbeing and engagement.

The main findings were that:

  • With adaptations (some personalised) the mental wealth journals were beneficial for the pupils
  • Pupils’ understanding of their own and peers’ emotions broadened and deepened, increasing their ability to empathise
  • Pupils took pride in ownership of the journals: ’It’s about us'
  • Teachers’ perceptions changed from journals as a series of mental health promoting activities to a therapeutic journey increasing pupil resilience

In conclusion, teachers said that the framework provided by the mental wealth journals enabled them to support pupils’ resilience in ways that they would not otherwise have explored. Following the research outcomes, Chadsgrove School has timetabled the mental wealth journals throughout the school as part of their positive mental health curriculum.

The Department for Education has also published research case studies exploring how schools and colleges are supporting the mental health needs of children and young people. The report focuses on models of provision for mental health and comprehending the issues that schools and colleges face in their delivery. The report can be downloaded here.