Secondary SEAL Update

Posted on October 13, 2008 by Martin Watson
Categories: Secondary,

Secondary SEAL Update – Year 8, 9 and Anti Bullying

Secondary SEAL has been in existence now for approx 18 months. Originally just material for Year 7, it has now grown to include taught materials for Year 8 and 9 and anti bullying material, primarily for use during anti bullying week (17th to the 21st November) but applicable at any point in the year.

Brief recap

SEAL stands for Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning
It is a Government sponsored initiative to develop the social and emotional skills of young people in order to improve their emotional health and wellbeing and ultimately help them to reach their potential.
Originally only available in Primary schools, the secondary version of SEAL became available nationally in April 2007. Up until June 2008 there was only material available for Year 7 students. This consisted primarily of plans and resources for SEAL lessons to be taught in schools alongside and complimentary to tutor time, PSHCE and Citizenship. Now expanded to include Year 8, 9 and anti bullying.

What's new?

A whole new set of materials for use in lessons has been developed and published. Designed to follow on from the Year 7 material, the new material allows students to carry on their work on social and emotional skills right up to the end of key stage 3.
The basic format of the material is the same as for Year 7, each lesson plan or lesson opportunity as they are called includes: learning outcomes; resources, starter activity, main activity, plenary and applying learning. The material itself is very easy to follow, it is interactive and encourages young people to think discuss and share ideas and experiences.
Some of the topics covered include: rights and responsibilities; friendships; empathy; peer pressure; motivation; dealing with failure; worry; moods; expectations; loss and stress (you can find an overview of the material and a more detailed list of topics covered on
The key difference with the new stuff compared to the Year 7 material is that rather than four themes spread across the year there are now three. The first theme in Year 7 has now been repackaged as an introductory theme. This looks at issues around transition to high school from Year 6 and is not applicable for Year 8 and 9. The three themes covered in Year 8 and 9 therefore are as follows:

Theme 1 – Learning to be Together, a focus on social skills and empathy
Theme 2 – Keep on Learning, a focus on self-awareness and motivation
Theme 3 – Learning about me, a focus on managing feelings

The anti bullying material is a series of ten learning opportunities focussed around the issue of bullying.

The material is based around poems, stories and art and encourages young people to think about some of the issues involved and their responses to it.

Below is an extract from the SEAL website giving details about the Anti Bullying material
'The anti-bullying resource includes:
- a theme overview;
- a set of structured staff development opportunities;
- ten example learning opportunities for use with pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 that can be delivered flexibly to promote progression or to develop specific skills according to needs. These flow from a series of stimulus materials. They are divided into three themes: individuals, resilience and bullying; group bullying; prejudice-driven bullying; links to other materials and references.'

All of the material links very closely in with the new PSHCE and Citizenship curriculums and is designed to compliment rather than replace existing provision.

Feedback from schools already using the Secondary SEAL programme is very positive, both in terms of the material itself and the impact it is having on the social and emotional skills of both young people and staff in schools.

The SEAL programme is making a big impact in schools across the country
A lot of money and time has been invested by Government to get the programme in place. The importance of the SEAL programme was highlighted in the Children's Plan published by Government in December 2007, which stated that the Government expect the great majority of schools in the country to be implementing the SEAL programme by 2011 (Children's Plan 2007 available on the DCFS website).

Schools workers and youth workers are in the ideal position to be supporting local schools to implement and establish the SEAL programme. Hopefully this brief update and the supporting materials will provide you with a good starting point. More information can be found on the SEAL website at

Martin Watson
Learning Mentor and Secondary SEAL Coordinator for Luton Borough Council