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Back to Bridge in schools

A School-based Mental Health Service

Bridge in Schools (BiS) is designed to equip schools with the tools they need to work with emotional and mental health challenges. We offer Free Emotional Wellbeing Checks to all primary schools in the Bristol area, Supported Partnerships to schools in areas of deprivation, and a range of bespoke, subsidised and commissioned services on request. Our clinicians are highly-trained specialists whose impact is well-evidenced through regular evaluation.

Emotional Wellbeing Checks 

Bridge in Schools offers free Emotional Wellbeing Checks to all primary schools in the Bristol area. The checks are an opportunity for Senior Leadership Teams to take a step back and review Emotional Wellbeing activity across all areas of school life. Our staff work with each school individually to identify gaps, and signpost options.

In addition, we support schools with Emotional Wellbeing tools for the classroom, group programmes for vulnerable learners, and with Behaviour Support approaches for managing problem behaviour across school.

Supported Partnerships with Schools

These are partnerships between BiS and individual schools who wish to commission regular mental health input across a number of areas, to strengthen their emotional wellbeing programme. BiS clinicians are based in school one day a week, providing a range of services that include: professional assessments, classroom observations, staff consultation, supervision, training, parent support, and direct therapy with children and families. 

Supported partnerships are offered to schools in areas of deprivation. Bridge in Schools fundraises 50% of the cost, to help schools access the programme.

Assessments and classroom strategies

When a child does not respond to ordinary behaviour support interventions, further assessment can be needed to understand what is going on under the surface. Through our Brief Interventions programme, schools can commission specialist staff from Bridge in Schools to provide clinical classroom observations focused very closely on the child’s interactions with the task, teachers and other children. Observations are followed by staff and/or parent consultation, to build a clearer picture of the child’s needs and how best to respond at school and at home.

Therapeutic Interventions 

On average, there will be 3 children per classroom with significant emotional or mental health difficulties. In many cases mental health input is needed before a child can move on, but there is a wide gap in services –  between what school staff are trained to provide and what is available through CAMHS.  Schools can commission BiS to bridge that gap through Brief Interventions that bring specialist mental health skills into the school community. Our clinicians work with children and families in school, a setting that is familiar and easy to access. Therapists are highly trained in understanding children’s communication, both spoken and unspoken, and helping children and families to develop their own understanding and resilience.

Professional referral reports

It is frequently a struggle to access professional support or top-up funding for very vulnerable children. Through our Brief Interventions programme, schools can buy in the specialist know-how of BiS clinicians to build evidence of need, to speed up referrals, and to focus multi-agency planning. Our professional referral reports, based on a clinical assessment, are used by SENCos, Mental Health and Safeguarding Leads to access vital other services for vulnerable families.