VAST – a Tool for Recognising Vulnerable Children in the Classroom and Developing a Care Pathway of Intervention

Brian Hall, Sithy Haddow, Maurice Place


The increasing prevalence in young people harming themselves in an area of the North of England stimulated efforts to find ways of reducing this behaviour. The links with stress and poor coping mechanisms prompted this project which sought to explore if prevention strategies could be developed in a younger age group which would reduce the emergence of self harming behaviour, and other maladaptive coping strategies. The preventative intervention focussed (focused) upon primary schools in the area, and sought to identify and help children who were struggling emotionally on the assumption that they were vulnerable to begin cutting themselves as a way of coping. A specific assessment tool, the Vulnerability Assessment Scale for Teachers (VAST), was developed using teachers’ experiences (Author, 2007), and specifically built around current classroom practice in the UK. In addition a care pathway of intervention was developed and piloted, prior to its more general use in local primary schools.

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