Skip to content

Schools Outreach Therapy Service

A school-based service for children, young people and their families for children whose behavioural and emotional difficulties impact their ability to learn.

Direct help for children and families within the school setting

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families’ Schools Outreach Team (SOT) is for children and young people who are struggling with a range of complex difficulties in the classroom, and for their families. The service is designed to make mental health expertise accessible at the earliest possible opportunity by destigmatising crucial discussions and working with the two most influencing areas of a child's life: the family and the school. The sessions are delivered at school by the Centre’s experienced Schools Outreach Therapists, who have expertise in delivering specialist and innovative therapeutic interventions across both Primary and Secondary settings. Schools that commission the service would receive support over one or half a day per week across the academic year.

The team consists of Family Therapists, Clinical Psychologists and Child Psychotherapists who all have experience of working in schools.  The aim of the service is to support children and young people to improve the difficulties they have with their learning due to behavioural or mental health-related issues. The types of work the team delivers include individual therapy sessions with children, individual therapy sessions with a family and group therapy with eight to ten families (multi-family groups). When working with each child and family, the team are mindful of the role of wider networks, family and school context, individual characteristics, motivation and goals.

Promoting mental health across the whole school community

The School Outreach Therapists provide consultation and supervision for school staff in order to try to support the mental health needs of the whole school community. The outreach therapists can also be used to deliver whole class-based interventions around topics such as transition to secondary school for children in year 6, anxiety and stress reduction workshops.  The therapists can also deliver workshops and coffee mornings for parents/carers around topics such as positive parenting, sleep, resilience and problem-solving.

Expert training and professional development for school staff

Our team can provide tailored training and development workshops on a range of topics.  Below is a list of some of the trainings that have been delivered by the outreach team in the past.

  • Recognising early signs of mental health problems and knowing what to do when you see them.

  • Recognising mental health problems and when to refer to specialist services.

  • Attachment in the classroom.

  • The impact of childhood trauma.

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and tips for managing some of the common difficulties in the classroom.

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and tips for managing some of the common difficulties in the classroom.

  • Triggers, hotspots and self-care for teaching staff.

Measuring and monitoring pupil needs and outcomes

It is important for us to track the progress that children and families make across the course of our involvement.  We currently use a range of outcome measures before, during and after our intervention, which we ask children, parents/carers and teachers to complete.  We then use this data to look at change over time as well as using satisfaction questionnaires to get feedback on the service as a whole.  This data is collated at the end of each academic year and fed back to schools as part of our commitment to ensuring that we strive to continually reflect on and improve the service that we deliver. 

How to find out more

Enquiries about our Schools Outreach Therapy Service can be made to Laura Cliff, Project Manager Telephone: +44 (0)20 7443 2230 Email:

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is strongly committed to ensuring and promoting the safety and wellbeing of all children, young people and vulnerable adults.