Our impact

We inspire happier children

If children who are struggling with their mental health don’t get satisfactory support early on, the repercussions can be enormous, increasing the probability of social issues, lower attainment and increased risk of mental illness in adulthood. Early help is a fraction of the cost of the urgent and high level interventions in mental health that might otherwise be needed later.

Mental health challenges can happen to any child, but we know there is an additional risk for children from deprived backgrounds, who are four times more likely to suffer mental health difficulties and have poorer attainment, with correspondingly poor prospects in the future.

Children supported by Blue Smile show significant improvements in their emotional wellbeing, relationships and behaviours. Teachers and parents tell us that our support has a positive impact on the child’s happiness and ability to learn.

We take a holistic approach, working closely with schools to support pupils’ emotional wellbeing and with families to offer parent support strategies to meet their child’s need ensuring a child’s progress is maintained at home.

Committed to long term support

We know that the reason we’re so effective is that our therapists are experts in child and adolescent work and are committed to supporting children as long as is needed, far longer than most other agencies. This makes a huge difference to their lives and the long term help is vital where there are complex issues.

Operating with children directly in schools means there’s no stigma and no difficulty in the child reaching that expert therapy (children receiving their therapy in school are ten times more likely to access it ¹).

¹ Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling Psychology, University of Roehampton; National Advisor for Counselling for CYP IAPT; Chair, CYP IAPT Integrated Services Group; Clinical Lead, Counselling MindEd e-learning project; Lead Investigator on a range of research projects into school-based counselling.

Our results are amazing!

We’re proud of the impact we’ve made in 2021-2022:

93% of parents say their child’s mental health has improved

94% of teachers say children’s mental health has improved

74% of children with very worrying mental health issues have improved at school

Since 2010 we’re proud to have supported over 2,000 children and over 150 therapists:

2,230 children were helped

181 clinical staff were trained

37,810 therapeutic sessions were provided

Making a difference for children

Blue Smile measures the impact of its work on every child seen.

Our support during the 2021-2022 academic year included:

• 53% of children who were eligible for Free School Meal
43% of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)
55% of children who had more than one problem (“complex”)

Our intervention had a positive impact on classroom learning, friendships, home-life and behaviour.

41% of the children were performing below the national curriculum level for reading, writing and maths.

Making a difference for parents and carers

As well as measuring the impact of our work on children, Blue Smile measures the impact on parents and carers of the therapeutic support we offer in schools.

When supporting children, we believe it is very important to involve parents/carers as much as possible.

We discuss goals of therapy and offer strategies to help parents help their children improve relationships and behaviours at home as well as in school. This enables the child to maximise the benefits of their Blue Smile support.

‘The family is happier, secure and safe.
We are a unit rather than splintered


Making a difference for teachers

Blue Smile seeks feedback on teacher welfare and the impact on the schools where we work, helping the school achieve its best.

School staff benefit from being able to discuss strategies and issues with expert therapists, to consider how they can help children with emotional issues in class. Many of our therapists are former teachers who know what a difference this can make.

Blue Smile provides:

• Professional mentoring support for teachers
• Training on mental health for school governors

Emotions can significantly influence a child’s learning and engagement in school, affecting it positively or adversely ². As the Chief Medical Officer for England puts it:

“Promoting physical and mental health in schools creates a virtuous circle reinforcing children’s attainment and achievement that in turn improves their wellbeing, enabling children to thrive and achieve their full potential.” ³

² Farahmand F, Grant K, Polo A, Duffy S, Dubois D (2011). School-based mental health and behavioral programs for low-income, urban youth: a systematic and meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology. 18(4):372-90

³ Quoted in Brooks F (2013). Chapter 7: Life stage: School Years, in Chief Medical Officer’s annual report 2012: Our Children Deserve Better: Prevention Pays, ed. Professor Dame Sally C Davies. London: DH – cited in ‘The link between pupil health and wellbeing and attainment: A briefing for head teachers, governors and staff in education settings, Public Health England, Nov 2014).

‘What excellent support blue smile are able to provide. Giving time and opportunities we are unable to in school


Our impact is felt in schools

We know that children who are from low income backgrounds are at four times higher risk of emotional wellbeing issues so this was a consideration when choosing our Partner Schools, many of which map onto the highest areas of disadvantage in Cambridge.

The levels of disadvantage in Cambridge are hidden and unrecognised and there are pockets which are in the most deprived 10% of the UK. ‘Index of Multiple Deprivation 2010’, ONS, 24 March 2011.

Cambridge, East Cambridgeshire and Fenland are among the worst 20% of Local Authority areas for child social mobility. The Social Mobility Index, Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.

‘I absolutely love blue smile’s ethos and approach to providing school based therapy for children, which is why I wanted to become a therapist with them. I love working with the arts and play and having the opportunity to do longer term work with children


Supporting our Therapists and Mentors

We knew there was a desperate need for an expert mental health workforce in Cambridgeshire, because of the difficulty identified by Head Teachers and children’s services in getting specialist support.

Blue Smile was set up by a psychotherapist, Amanda Langford. She saw that there was a way to address this situation because there was a simultaneous need for volunteer clinical placements for therapists in training.

By setting trainees alongside experienced therapists, Blue Smile is able to develop a much-needed workforce as well as helping children and schools.

Therapists have said how much they love working for Blue Smile because of its high clinical standards and policies, and its clear clinical oversight structure. They also know that they can work with a child for long enough to make a difference.

We have a close relationship with key therapy training institutions and provide the best clinical placements for therapists specialising in work with children and adolescents using the arts.

Many of the trainee therapists who have clinical placements with us go on to paid work with Blue Smile, with a clear career path. Some of our earliest trainees are now School Clinical Leads in Partner Schools. We also provide free professional training throughout the year to help improve therapeutic skills still further.

Find out more information about Blue Smile’s training.

Where we work

in Cambridgeshire


with us

blue smile