Best Practice

Pupil wellbeing: The healing power of art

More schools are offering placements to trainee art therapists to support the rising number of young people with emotional or mental health issues. How does it work in practice? Sam Phipps reports

The crisis is mental health support for young people in the UK has been well documented, with chronic underfunding and a surge in demand for services coinciding. Art therapy can play a vital role.

Jan Stevens, deputy headteacher at Parmiter’s School in Watford, has provided a placement for a trainee art therapist since January last year. The student, Zoe Kenton, who is on an MA degree course at Hertfordshire University, has seen four young people for regular one-to-one sessions.

The placement benefits the school but also supports training and development in what Ms Stevens believes will be an increasingly vital profession.

“Any form of therapy is incredibly expensive,” Ms Stevens explained. “In the past we have paid for art therapy for a couple of students – you are looking at about £500 or £600 for 12 sessions.

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