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MEP learning pack

Masters in Educational Practice: Child and adolescent development 0-19


Social and emotional development


Social and emotional difficulties

Children are sometimes described as having social, emotional and behavioural difficulties in schools. Some children may also be described as having mental health difficulties or disorders. Some children may be in both groups.

Responding to social and emotional difficulties

Most schools respond to social and emotional difficulties in a variety of ways:

  • universal interventions to improve the social and emotional competence of all learners which might include personal and social education (PSE) and social and emotional aspects of learning (SEAL)
  • targeted interventions to address the social and emotional needs of specific learners or groups of learners which might include restorative practices, SAP and counselling in school.

For more information about social and emotional skills in school go to the following links:


Think about the following.

  • How do you identify learners in your class with social and emotional difficulties?
  • If you felt that a learner has these difficulties how would you respond?
  • Who or what resources do you have in your school that you can access?
  • Who or what resources do you have in your locality that you can you access?


Consider the following and discuss with a teaching colleague.

  • Why may some learners with social and emotional and behavioural difficulties not be identified or have their difficulties misidentified?
  • Do girls and boys present with similar difficulties or is there a difference?
  • Do learners from different ethnic groups or different cultures present with similar difficulties or is there a difference?

Learning pack contents

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