Identification and early support
Identify and assess children who are showing early signs of anxiety or emotional distress or behavioural problems.
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Children in primary education (aged 4–11 years) who are showing early signs of emotional and social difficulties may include those who are showing early signs of anxiety or emotional distress, for example, children who have poor peer relations, low self-esteem, are withdrawn or have behavioural problems.
Children who are exposed to difficult situations are at higher risk. Difficult situations include: experience of bullying, racism, coping with socially disadvantaged circumstances, adverse life events (such as bereavement or parental separation) and those who have been exposed to abuse or violence.
Additional vulnerable groups may include: looked after children (including those who have subsequently been adopted), those living in families where there is conflict or instability and those who persistently refuse to go to school.
Normally, specialists should only be involved if the child has a combination of risk factors and/or the difficulties are recurrent or persistent. The assessment should be carried out in line with the Common Assessment Framework.
Actions should be taken to support parents or carers of children who are showing early signs of emotional and social difficulties, as well as school staff.