Islington CAMHS in Schools


Information for children, young people, parents and carers

Over the past few years we have been developing our CAMHS services in Islington to try make it easier for all children, young people and families who need CAMHS support, whatever their background, to get to us. As well as holding clinics all over the borough, we have been developing our links with local schools with the intention of making support for the mental health and emotional well being of children and young people less of a stigma.

Islington Community CAMHS has a long history of close working with local schools, supporting staff to improve the emotional health of their students in order that they may make the most of their time in school. This work has developed further since 2011, when CAMHS was funded by Education (through Islington Schools’ Forum) to provide a service to all of the 45 primary schools and 10 secondary schools across the borough, as well as to Islington’s special schools (primary and secondary): The Bridge, Samuel Rhodes and Richard Cloudesley. We now have named clinicians working in every one of those schools.

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The aims of the service in schools are:

  • To make it easier for children, young people and families to see someone from CAMHS by being available in their school.
  • To provide training and support in emotional health and well-being to school staff.
  • To help school staff to think about children and young people’s social, emotional and behavioural difficulties early on.
  • To make it easier for CAMHS to work closely with people from other organisations, such as education, social services and voluntary organisations.

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What sort of work do we offer in schools?

How the CAMHS time in each school is used is very varied and is developed through discussion with senior staff in each school. It can include:

  • Seeing children, young people, parents and carers in school either individually or together to help with children’s social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, especially where the difficulties are related to school or if it would be difficult to get to CAMHS somewhere else.
  • Observing children in the school setting.
  • Offering groups for children and/or parents.
  • Running coffee mornings for parents about particular issues related to children’s social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.
  • Screening for developmental disorders such as ADHD and Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
  • Being part of the school’s Pastoral Care Team and attending meetings where children, young people and families with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties are discussed.
  • Talking to school staff and parents and carers about possible referrals to CAMHS and what to expect.
  • Helping communication between school and home.
  • Supporting school staff working with children and young people with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.
  • Offering training to school staff.
  • Organising mental health screenings of whole year groups to help schools understand what the needs in the school might be.
  • Linking families and school staff with clinicians in other parts of CAMHS.
  • Working closely with other professionals who are working with children and young people in school (e.g. Educational Psychologists / Social Workers / Speech and Language Therapists /Families First / Mentoring services such as Chance UK  and Friendship Works).

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What does this school-based service look like?

We have a Schools’ Lead Team for Islington Community CAMHS, responsible for supporting and developing the work in schools.

The Schools’ Lead Team:

Anna Picciotto and Vicki Matthison

Anna Picciotto, CAMHS Lead for Schools

Vicky Mattison, CAMHS Deputy Lead for Schools (with responsibility for special schools)

CAMHS clinicians working in the two locality organised multi-disciplinary teams are allocated to each of the schools in the borough. Each school and clinician is supported by a member of the Schools’ Lead Team.

Finsbury, Holloway and Canonbury MDT:

Sian Barnett and Helen Aspland (Senior School Clinicians)

Hornsey, Highbury and Barnsbury MDT:

Carolyn Edwards, Wilma Mangabeira and Wendy Isenwater (Senior School Clinicians)

Each primary school has half a day a fortnight of their CAMHS clinician’s time in school and each secondary school has a day a week of their clinician’s time. Some schools also buy in additional CAMHS time from their own budgets.

The clinician in school could be a Clinical Psychologist, a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist or a Family Therapist by training.

The work that they do in the school will depend on the needs of the school. Some schools may have more than one clinician with different training working with them.

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How can you or your child see the CAMHS clinician in school?

Referrals to the school’s CAMHS clinician usually come from the school. However, parents or carers can talk to school staff about the possibility of being seen in school if they have concerns about their child or young person. Often parents and teachers are asked whether they would prefer to be seen at school or at the clinic. Some families prefer to not to see someone from CAMHS in the child’s school.

The person who makes the referrals is different in each school, but is usually the person responsible for pastoral care (this could be the Head, SENCo or Inclusion Manager in primary schools and Heads of Year or the Head of Behaviour or Inclusion in secondary schools).

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In the same way as for all other parts of CAMHS, everything you tell us or we write about you will remain private and confidential within your child’s NHS records. Just because your child or you are being seen in school does not mean that we will talk to school about everything we talk about.

If you are being seen in school it means that certain key people there will know that you are seeing someone from CAMHS. For example, the person responsible for referrals will know, as well as the school receptionist who will let you into the school.

Often it can be very helpful to share some of the information that we talk about with key people in school, like the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) or your child’s class teacher, but we would agree that with you first and only do so with your consent.

The only time that we would need to share information without your permission would be if we learned that you, your child or another child were at significant risk of harm. Even in this situation we would let you know what information we had shared.

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Additional Information for School Staff and other Professionals

As well as being committed to providing accessible CAMHS support for children, young people and families in schools, our service in schools is also focused on making CAMHS support more available to school staff and other professionals who work in schools.

We are committed to delivering consultation and training to staff, both in the form of formalised trainings (such as Solihull /Attachment theory/ understanding ADHD), and also by supporting individuals or groups of staff with dilemmas relating to children in their classes.

We have found that requests for consultation to staff often increase after training on specific topics, and may mean that children and young people can access CAMHS support without actually being seen in a regular way themselves, through conversation and thinking with the teachers and teaching support staff who already know the child, young person and family well.

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Last updated on 26th February 2014