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What is SEAL?


The Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) initiative was piloted by the DCSF (then DfES) in twenty-five English local authorities from September 2004. In June 2005 the materials were made available to all primary schools in England and funding given to local authorities to provide training and support to primary schools to implement and embed SEAL (from 3-11yrs).

The initiative (including a range of web-based materials) has since been rolled out to secondary schools.


The SEAL initiative aims to support children aged from 3-16 years to develop the personal and social skills of:

  • self-awareness
  • managing their feelings
  • motivation
  • empathy
  • social skills


These interpersonal and intrapersonal skills have been shown to improve learning and promote emotional health and wellbeing, alongside a range of other benefits to pupils, families and schools.

SEAL aims to provide an entitlement curriculum to develop social and emotional skills within a structured and progressive framework, offering class-based quality first-teaching to all children from 3-16yrs.


The approach does, however, recognise that schools will need to provide a continuum of provision to meet the needs of all learners in this area. In addition to providing curriculum resources for class-based work, schools have access to sets of materials designed to be used within a small group context, for children who may have additional needs in one or more area of the social and emotional aspects of learning.


Small-group work is located at ‘Wave 2’ of the continuum of provision.


‘Wave 3’ support is envisaged as the individual, intensive support that will continue to be necessary for the minority of children with long-term, complex needs within the area of social and emotional functioning. These are children at the highest level of need, who will usually have a statement of education need (or equivalent) and the involvement of a number of professions – social services, educational psychologists, CAMHS etc. The aim is for provision at Wave 3 to build upon the SEAL work undertaken by the child within the school context.