One-Eighty: Emotional and Behavioural Support in Education

I started volunteering with One-Eighty in January last year, and soon after took up a part-time paid role.  My experiences over the last eighteen months have been crucial in helping me get a place on a primary school, teacher-training program.  My time working with children with a variety of special educational needs (SEN), learning disorders, and emotional and behavioural difficulties(EBD) has given me a fantastic insight to the difficulties they may face in the classroom, and what we can do to help overcome these.

Unsurprisingly, evidence suggests teachers find EBD the most difficult of needs to deal with in the classroom, as it can be highly disruptive, interrupts academic progress, impedes social functioning and can destabilize positive school environments [1].  Whilst an intervention in mainstream school for dyslexia or language impairment is unlikely to be withdrawn if a child’s reading does not improve, in the case of those with EBD, failure to improve behaviour can often lead to exclusion [2]. This can often lead to increasing negative development pathways [1], and impacting negatively on the wider community.  At One-Eighty, we recognize EBD as requiring at least as much attention any other developmental disorder as there is always a reason for their expression of emotion and behaviour, something which is not always considered.

Our approach involves taking the time to understand the issues at the core of the problem, be it separation or attachment anxieties, peer relations or developmental disorders.  Given that we work 1-1, each intervention can be carefully tailored to meet the individual needs of a young person and address their specific problems.  Recognising the importance of involving families in the process [3], we can take a holistic approach, working with families and staff at school, to help build relationships that are more positive.  In my time at One-Eighty I have seen real success in helping young people understand their own emotions and those of others close to them.  This has given me confidence in being able to tackle these areas in my own work in the future and the knowledge that an appropriate service exists for dealing with young people who need a more tailored approach.


[1] Jull, Stephen K.(2008) Emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD): the special educational need justifying exclusion, Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 8 (1) pp. 13–18.


[3] MacBeath, J., Galton, M., Steward, S., MacBeath, A., Page, C., The Costs of Inclusion, University of Cambridge Faculty of Education