Pupils assessed at tier 2 will also undergo a more detailed diagnostic SEMH assessment. Motional is our assessment tool for SEMH. It draws on work from the Trauma Informed Schools network and the Adverse Childhood Experiences research.

Motional provides an easy-to-use online tool for identifying, assessing, and improving the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people.  It is based on Professor Jaak Panksepp’s research on emotional systems in the brain and Dr Margot Sunderland’s extensive research, studies and expertise in executive functional skills. It records ACE and Protective Factor scores, and gives staff a whole-brain picture of students’ mental health and wellbeing.

Motional measures different emotional systems in the brain (CARE, SEEKING, PLAY, FEAR, RAGE, PANIC/GRIEF based on prof Jaak Panksepp’s work) and several key executive function skills (handling stress, thinking & concentration, confidence & self-esteem, interpersonal skills, and emotional literacy – written by Dr Margot Sunderland) to give a whole brain picture of a child’s emotional and mental health.

The questions we ask in Snapshots all have descriptors so staff know what they mean and how to answer them – Motional is designed to be easy to use by all staff, not just SENCOs or specific people who’ve been on a training course.

Snapshots take about 5 minutes for someone who knows the system and the child well, up to 25-30 minutes for someone new to Motional doing a whole class. Snapshots are generally done by staff about children, and then they can create a Program of activities and relationship strategies that will target specific emotional systems for that child.