This page includes information about:

  • considering the school or college environment


Schools and colleges should be safe environments for pupils and staff, places that promote respect and diversity. When thinking about safety in your setting consider emotional safety as well as physical safety. We know that when a child or young person feels safe they are more likely to be able to engage in their learning, manage their emotions and ask for support when they need it.

Considering the physical environment in your school or college

When it comes to creating a safe environment for pupils and staff within your school or college setting, you might like to consider the following things:

  • designating a quiet corner of the classroom that is removed from classroom activity. Make available self-care activities for pupils to do in this space
  • designating a wellbeing room for staff that is separate from the staff room. Encourage staff to donate self-care items or books for colleagues to use in this space
  • designating a time-out area for pupils outside the classroom to provide space to decompress and reflect – that is, a wellbeing space as an alternative to an isolation room
  • the physical boundaries of where school/college spaces end: how are these boundaries staffed to encourage a welcoming environment and promote safety
  • making sure that all signage around the school or college is clear and accessible. Clearly signpost areas where staff and pupils can go for additional support and advice
  • creating processes for new pupils, families and staff to familiarise themselves with their school/college environment

For more suggestions about signposting support across your setting, explore our action on signposting for staff, governors, pupils, parents and carers.

Anna Freud Centre's Dr. Rina Bajaj speaks about how schools can help to create a safe environment for both pupils and staff members.

Anna Freud Centre: Moving Up! The transition to secondary school

This animation and accompanying teacher toolkit is aimed to help year 7 and 6 pupils feel more confident, less anxious and better equipped to cope with the changes associated with moving to secondary school.

Mentally Healthy Schools: Wellbeing poster for pupils

Pin this poster up in classrooms, corridors and toilets to encourage (primary) children to think about their general wellbeing and do things that makes them feel good.

Mentally Healthy Schools: Rebuild and recover resources

Our Mentally Healthy Schools team have created a set of practical resources to help make the transition back to school post-lockdown easier for everyone.

Mentally Healthy Schools: Mindfulness calendar

This is a two-week calendar with daily mindfulness activity suggestions. The simple, short activities encourage children to focus on what’s around them to find a sense of calm.

Reviewing existing school policies

A guide to reviewing all of your existing school policies with an anti-racist lens.


Teaching curriculum topics linked to racism and handling racist world events

A lesson planning guide for teaching a curriculum topic that is linked to race and racism, or for when a potentially traumatic racist incident occurs in the wider world.

Create an account and login to access and update your personalised 5 Steps action plan

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More information about 5 Steps and easy to follow instructions

User Guide

Find out more about our trainings for Schools and FE Colleges


Schools that successfully implemented the 5 Steps Framework

Practice Examples

Access videos and materials from our 5 Steps seminars



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