The TaMHS programme was first delivered in Northamptonshire in 2009 as part of a wider Government initiative. Since then over 200 schools across Northamptonshire have participated in the programme, and there has been three evaluations exploring the impact of the TaMHS Programme.

TaMHS evaluation 2018

In 2018, eleven schools (one secondary and ten primary schools) from the Daventry and south west area of Northamptonshire completed an evaluation of the TaMHS programme. These evaluations were completed with the TaMHS Area Lead Educational Psychologist (TALEP), using a semi-structured interview. This enabled schools to discuss their own experiences of participation in the TaMHS programme and to share the aspects of the programme that were most salient to them.

The purpose of these evaluations was to obtain schools’ opinions about the TaMHS programme in relation to the four elements of the Common Inspection Framework used by OFSTED at this time:

  • Personal development, behaviour and welfare
  • Outcomes for children with regards to their social and emotional wellbeing and learning
  • Effectiveness of leadership and management
  • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment

It considered how the actual TaMHS processes and resources had enabled staff to build capacity within their schools to meet the mental health needs of the school community, as well as identifying what aspects of the programme could have been better.

Qualitative findings from the evaluations

​All schools reported that involvement in the TaMHS programme had raised staff awareness and the profile of mental health. Staff were reported to be more confident about mental health and there was a change in staff mind-set. Staff behavioural changes were recognised including being more available for children and focusing on developing positive relationships with them.  Changes were found in the way that staff responded to behavioural issues, recognising and focusing on the whole child and the relationship between wellbeing and behaviour; and creating a more inclusive environment, which considers the holistic wellbeing of the children.

"I look at children in a completely different way than I did a few years ago"

Headteacher, School E

The staff's whole mind-set has changed (in relation to challenging behaviour). Staff are now thinking more inclusively, and are more confident to address challenges. They are more mindful of tapping into alternative provisions and resources.

Reported by School H

​Through the TaMHS Programme, staff were able to access a range of training opportunities. In ten schools, this enabled all staff members to be upskilled and led to the development of new roles and systems to support children's mental health, including more consistent approaches and language being used across the settings. In other examples, reported by eight schools, individuals and teams were provided with additional training, enabling them to deliver specific interventions and to take on focused roles within school linked to mental health and wellbeing.

"Staff have been upskilled… [They have a] much better understanding of early warning signs and awareness of holistic factors."

Reported by School D

"The Inclusion Team's confidence in dealing with issues has improved - they know about pathways and have more curiosity i.e. digging under the surface behaviours to explore the underlying issues."

Reported by School A

​Following the input from TaMHS, all schools identified structural changes that had occurred within the school setting and now form part of their everyday practice. This included:

  • regular assemblies with a focus on mental health and wellbeing
  • increased focus on specific issues e.g. trans-gender; development of the PSHE curriculum
  • implementing interventions that worked at the preventative level
  • adding social or emotional wellbeing and mental health to the staff meeting agenda
  • specific approaches being embedded within the school ethos such as Restorative Approaches and Protective Behaviours.

"[School B have an] 'Outstanding' commitment to promoting emotional wellbeing".

School B, OFSTED Full Inspection Report, June 2017


PSHE has been revisited and improved and is on the weekly timetables.  Staff have to evidence this.

                Reported by School D

​Involvement in the TaMHS programme was reported to have a positive impact on outcomes for children across a range of areas including:

  • Academic achievements:
  • Children being able to talk to adults (both parents or carers and staff) about their concerns and worries
  • Improved resilience
  • Feeling safe
  • Attendance
  • Being more aware of their peers and more supportive of them
  • Improved self-awareness and cooperation
  • Behaviour within school
  • Confidence

Children are able to say when they are unhappy; they have improved emotional vocabulary. Children listen to each other and show respect in general.

                       Reported by School K

Input into emotional wellbeing has paid off- children with the potential for school anxiety are now thriving.

Reported by School H

​Involvement in the TaMHS programme also had a positive impact on outcomes for staff. Five schools reported a greater emphasis on staff wellbeing, focusing on relationships between staff and workload.

Relationships between staff members have improved.  They are more aware of pastoral issues .

Reported by School A

[There is an] increased focus on monitoring, and an awareness of, teacher workload. [We are] focusing on improving staff mental health.  

Reported by School E

​Outcomes for parents or carers was reported to improve following involvement in the TaMHS programme. Four schools specifically reported that parents were more involved and actively willing to seek support from staff. Staff felt that they were supporting vulnerable parents more, which impacted positively on relationships between staff and parents.

A vulnerable parent from a 'closed family' is now confident to come and talk to school.

Reported by School F

Vulnerable families supported in a non-judgemental way.

Reported by School J

​Through the TaMHS programme, schools were able to access a range of resources which enabled them to promote positive mental health and to support children within their settings. This included books linked to specific topics such as bereavement and gender identity, as well as things such as 'worry eaters'. Staff also spoke positively about the role of the TaMHS Building Blocks.

The TaMHS process has enabled us to] identify resources that staff can access.

                                Reported by School C

                [We now have] Worry boxes in every classroom.

Reported by School G

​Eight schools directly reported that the outcomes of the TaMHS programme had impacted or fed into their school development, improvement or action plan, which had clear priorities linked to developing resilience and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. Senior leadership teams were reported to be taking a more active role in promoting and monitoring positive mental health and wellbeing for both children and staff.

In five schools, governors were reported to be more aware of the importance of mental health, with one school reporting that the specific role of governors had been developed. This had included allocating a Governor to PSHE, as well as adding mental health and wellbeing to the agenda for Governor Meetings.

All members of staff have a 'mental health and emotional wellbeing' related target [as part of their performance management].

Reported by School B

The Heads of Year are more aware of mental health. [They are] using training to address everyday challenges and embedding [this] into normal practice. This leadership is filtering down to the majority of staff.

Reported by School A

​Nine schools identified future aspirations including:

  • involving fathers more
  • developing the PSHE curriculum
  • incorporating growth mind-set and resilience into the whole school ethos
  • developing tools for assessing and monitoring social and emotional wellbeing and mental health
  • developing an annual wellbeing survey for children

[We] aim to develop a PSHE Scheme of Work linked closely to the school's value system and British Values, but also incorporating a greater emphasis on pupil wellbeing.

Reported by School F

[We aim] to include a concept of resilience when teaching about the 'learning behaviours'.

Reported by School G

[We plan] to take a more strategic approach towards staff wellbeing.

Reported by School H

​Due to the training that they had received, six schools shared that they had implemented specific programmes and interventions that focused on promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. These included FRIENDS For Life, Drawing and Talking, Zippy's Friends and 1-2-3 Magic.

 Zippy's Friends has been very well received.

Reported by School F

[Different programmes are used in school including] 'Time to Talk'; 'Socially Speaking'; 'Drawing and Talking'; and 'Social Stories'.

            Reported by School K

​Three schools shared that participation in TaMHS had led them to hold specific events such as a mental health or wellbeing day or week, staff wellbeing day and family safety and wellbeing event, which aimed to raise the profile of mental health and emotional wellbeing.

 [We held a] Family safety and wellbeing event.

Reported by School C

[We had a] Staff wellbeing day in April including a stress management workshop and an afternoon spa. All staff participated.

Reported by School J

​Four schools shared that they had developed specific measures or ways of monitoring, tracking and measuring the mental health and emotional wellbeing of all pupils. This included creating checklists of positive and negative indicators of mental health, and screening Foundation Stage children in order to collect baseline data for emotional issues.

Eight schools reported they had developed their use of similar measures for pupils identified as having additional social and emotional needs. Four schools shared they were collecting pre- and post-data when delivering interventions to targeted children. Measures included the Boxall profile, Stirling Children's Wellbeing Scale and the Strength and Difficulties questionnaire.

[We are] using assessments to ensure that interventions are effective and timely, both academically and with regards to social and emotional wellbeing, and mental health.

Reported by School I

 Pupil voice surveys have been developed, tapping into their perceptions.

Reported by School H


​For more information on the quantitative findings from the evaluation and more, please read the full Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) evaluation report (October 2018)

TaMHS evaluation 2011 to 2014

As part of the TaMHS evaluation written in 2014, outcomes for two groups of schools were compared: those schools who were invited to participate in the TaMHS Programme 2012 to 2013 and engaged (IE), compared to those schools who were invited, but did not engage (IBNE).

The invited and engaged (IE) primary/infant/junior schools, when compared to those with similarly challenging pupil-populations who did not engage (IBNE), showed more improved:

  • Average attendance;
  • Permanent exclusions;
  • Attainments at KS1 in terms of average point score (APS) in:
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Maths.

There was clear evidence that secondary school engagement with TaMHS positively correlated with improvements in:

  • Attendance
  • Fixed-term and permanent exclusions
  • The proportion of pupils with 5 A*- C (including Maths and English) and the proportion of pupils with 5 A*- G.

School leaders were asked to complete a brief questionnaire about the impact of the consultation process that schools complete with a TaMHS Area Lead Educational Psychologist (TALEP).

One hundred percent, agreed or strongly agreed with all of the following statements:

  1. This process has raised awareness about mental health provision within the school
  2. This process has raised staff awareness about mental health more generally
  3. This process has helped the school to self-evaluate at an organisational level
  4. This process will inform future provision in relation to mental health and wellbeing within the school
  5. It has been useful to work with an Educational Psychologist at an organisational level
  6. It would be useful to have access to further support of this kind in the future

Evaluation of TaMHS Interventions (2009 to 2011)

From April 2009 to March 2011, thirteen schools participated in the original government funded Northamptonshire TaMHS Project. As part of this project, schools were able to access training on a range of different interventions, which aimed to support the schools in improving their capacity to promote children's mental health and to intervene where needs were identified.

An evaluation of the project identified the range of evidence-based approaches, programmes and interventions that demonstrably positively impacted on children’s mental health and children’s outcomes in terms of improvements in attendance, rates of exclusion and attainment. This project phase spawned the Northamptonshire TaMHS Building Blocks for building mentally healthy schools model and the subsequent Northamptonshire TaMHS Programme.

If you would like a copy of the 2009 to 11 evaluation document, please request a copy from tamhs.ncc@northnorthants.gov.uk.