Woodbridge Park Education Service

Identifying SEMH Needs

Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs can be difficult to assess, identify and manage in a mainstream context. We advise schools to use basic toolkits such as the Mcsherry Scale. The Mcsherry Scale will enable school staff to clearly identify the specific areas of need in relation to challenging behaviour and conduct so that more targeted interventions can be put in place and an evidence base of need can be more effectively established. The simple premise is that a score of below 70% overall indicates that a pupil requires specialist support or alternative provision for at least an interim period of time.

Please find attached here the McSherry Scale used at Woodbridge Park:

Mcsherry scale for school referrals

There is currently no locally-agreed escalation ladder / staged approach to the  management of persistent SEMH needs or challenging behaviour. In the absence of this, Woodbridge Park recommends the following approach to indicate at which point referrals should be considered into preventative programmes or for further specialist advice and support:


Here you will find the staged approach Woodbridge Park takes in an alternative provision context to addressing persistent serious conduct, taking into account our belief that all behaviour is communication and is symptomatic of an underlying need:

 Intervening and supporting learners displaying persistent challenging behaviour

 Supporting children displaying persistent challenging behaviour mainstream school

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