What does semh stand for is an abbreviation of Social Emotional and Mental Health, which is a type of special educational need. The term was first introduced in the 2014 Code of Practice and replaces both BESD (Behavioural, Emotional & Social Development) and EBD (Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties). SEMH challenges can make it difficult for students to learn, leading to underachievement academically and a lack of confidence and self-esteem. These issues can also contribute to poor peer relationships and isolation.

Children with unmet SEMH needs may display difficulties such as poor emotional regulation, difficulty in making and maintaining healthy relationships, self-harm, substance misuse and/or physical health symptoms that are medically unexplained. They are also more likely to be excluded from school.

Deciphering the Acronym: Understanding the Meaning of SEMH

Students with unmet SEMH needs can become frustrated and act out in the classroom, which can impact their learning outcomes. They can also develop low self-esteem or a negative self-perception and have difficulties with memory, concentration, and attention. In turn, this can lead to anxiety and depression.

It is important to recognise early signs of SEMH challenges and provide children with appropriate support. This can help to prevent them from escalating, improve their wellbeing and allow them to achieve the best possible academic results. By taking an outcome-focused approach, teachers can ensure that all pupils succeed in their education, regardless of their SEMH requirements. They can do this by establishing clear goals for each child and using positive reinforcement strategies to help them meet those targets.