How Health Mentors are Working to Reduce School Suspensions

News archive

How Health Mentors are Working to Reduce School Suspensions

Research by FFT Education Datalab shows that school suspensions have been on the rise with no signs of slowing down since the pandemic. In particular, the Autumn term of 2023/24 saw a drastic rise in suspensions with Year 9 experiencing a 40% rise and Year 7 facing an alarming 55% increase.

This increase carries profound implications for students. Excluded children are more likely to fall behind at school, due to lost teaching time. This also increases the risk of dropping-out, unemployment and deviant tendencies later in life.

However, perhaps the most concerning part of this drastic increase lies in the complex interplay between school suspensions and mental health. Research reveals a symbiotic yet precarious relationship between the two: mental health issues escalate suspensions and truancy, while suspensions and truancy, in turn, facilitate mental health challenges.

Additionally, according to data collected from a cohort of over 15,000 children in the UK, there is a correlation between early manifestations of mental health issues in primary school and subsequent experiences of suspensions and truancy in secondary education. In particular, the research found that boys who faced suspension during their secondary school years exhibited heightened levels of depression and anxiety that persisted into late adolescence. These findings reinforce the necessity for schools to both support children’s mental health and reduce the number of suspensions they administer, unless unavoidable.

This relationship between suspensions and mental health is something that our Health Mentors see regularly in schools and that’s why our mentoring programs focus on promoting positive mental health habits and cutting down on suspensions .

Our mentoring process focuses on improving wellbeing metrics such as sleep, diet and self efficacy, which have positive mindset benefits in the form of improved executive function, confidence, and resilience. These mindset improvements are the foundation of long-term improvements in performance metrics such as behaviour and achievement.

For schools experiencing an increase in suspensions and decline in mental health, a Health Mentor may be the perfect solution. To find out more about our brilliant track record of improving behaviours and reducing exclusions in schools, please contact us at

Read more about the increase in exclusions and its connection to mental health here: