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Supporting Wellbeing and Emotional Resilience Through Learning

A programme by University College London (UCL) that took schools through a broad and comprehensive audit of school wellbeing and supported the development of a whole school approach to building resilience. 


Head Teachers / School Leaders, Local Authorities, School Teachers, Trusts

Aimed at

Early Years Foundation Stage, KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5


Inclusion and SEND, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Workforce: Recruitment, Retention and Development

Why was the project needed?

Education professionals reported that young people can sometimes lack the confidence and resilience needed to learn, which can prevent them from achieving their full potential. Support for wellbeing and mental health through services such as Child and Adult Mental Health Service and Primary Mental Health Workers is in high demand. 

What happened and what was the impact?

The Opportunity Area funded training and supplementary funding for “Supporting Wellbeing and Emotional Resilience” (SWERL) – a whole-school programme devised and delivered by UCL. This training included facilitator support to conduct an audit of need across seven domains and develop an action plan.     

Schools were then given supplementary funding to implement their action plans. 


  • Training for 3 members of staff on the SWERL approach. 
  • Facilitator support to schools. 
  • Conducted an audit of wellbeing and emotional resilience. 
  • Created an action plan based on the audit’s findings. 
  • Allocation of funding for implementation of action plans. 
  • Facilitated visits to support implementation. 
  • Creation of case studies with impact. 

What did and didn't work?

Small changes can have a big impact! 

All schools who have undertaken SWERL have found that they have had successful outcomes from staff wellbeing and pupil attainment. The group sessions enabling sharing of learning and peer to peer support were particularly appreciated. The funding enabled larger projects to be implemented. 

The project was adapted for Covid-19 restrictions in year 4, with the training being delivered in manageable hour or two hours virtually, rather than 2 full days for three members of staff.
Provision of evidence of impact from earlier schools who had gone through the process would be beneficial – peer to peer support.
The supplementary funding was sometimes a distraction to schools rather than a support.
Timescales for training, audits, and implementation can feel a bit rushed.

How did you measure success?

Each setting has its own outcome measures. We also measured confidence of staff with being able to support students. 


How is the Project Sustainable

  • The audits can be repeated annually – this is encouraged. 
  • Further support from UCL and facilitators is available. 
  • Sustainability forms one section of the action plans so plans are developed with this in mind. 


  • Capacity to embed and openness to the approach.
  • Training is £2,500 per school.
  • Schools received between £8-10k to implement projects. 

Area Most Impacted

Mental Health Empowering Young People Improving Attainment Speech Language & communication Transition

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Thrive Awareness Course - Morland Primary

The Pastoral Care Manager and myself went on a Thrive awareness course, one of the hour-long sessions, and came away convinced that was what we needed at Morland CEVC Primary School. It evolved from a wider issue concerning attainment and barriers to learning.

SWIM (Support With Individuals' Mental Health) - Westbourne Academy

At Westbourne, we had just created our own internal Mental Health Strategy called SWIM (Support With Individuals' Mental Health) where we had three waves of Intervention: Wave One is our universal offer including assemblies and delivery of lessons through our PSHE curriculum.

"SWERL" Supporting Wellbeing, Emotional Resilience and Learning - Ipswich Academy

"SWERL" Supporting Wellbeing, Emotional Resilience and Learning - Gusford Primary School

SWERL - Castle Hill Infant & Junior Schools

"SWERL" Supporting Wellbeing, Emotional Resilience and Learning - St Alban's Catholic High School

Next steps to do something similar yourself

These are a list of Big Idea resources that you can use to implement in your setting:

These are case studies demonstrating impact of SWERL in Ipswich schools after the first year of engagement with the programme:.

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Social and Emotional Learning here:

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Putting Evidence to Work here:

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Metacognition and Self-Regulated Learning here:

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Improving Behaviour here:

Read the EEF Guidance Report on SEND in Mainstream Schools here:

Have your say

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