A new EEF guidance published today recommends that social and emotional learning should be prioritised to avoid “missed opportunity” to improve children’s outcomes. Key findings from new guidance published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) in partnership with the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) show that effective social and emotional learning (SEL) can increase positive pupil behaviour, mental health and well-being, and academic performance. However, despite being seen as one of their top priorities by almost all primary schools, only just over one-third say that dedicated planning for SEL is central to their practice.
The report – Improving Social and Emotional Learning in Primary Schools – reviews the best available research to offer school leaders six practical recommendations to support good SEL for all children. It stresses this is especially important for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and other vulnerable groups, who, on average, have weaker SEL skills at all ages than their better-off classmates.
Evidence from the EEF’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit suggests that effective SEL can lead to learning gains of +4 months over the course of a year. Yet – even though SEL is already a large (and often unrecognised) part of their current job – few teachers receive support on how they can develop these skills in their everyday teaching practice. This is particularly important at a time when schools are reviewing their core vision and curriculum offer and planning to implement statutory Relationships and Health education.