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Emotional Resilience

Emotional Resilience is one of our Key Drivers.



Lesley is employed by St Columba’s School to provide the following support to children and families. Her support is in line with the growing needs of our community.


Lesley Messenger-Jones is a highly experienced registered nurse with a rich background in child and adolescent mental health, wellbeing and development.

Lesley spent 20 years working as a school nurse across South Cumbria, focussing on health promotion and education and later assuming a specialist role in the Children's Continence Service. Over the last 3 years, Lesley has developed a special interest in child and adolescent mental health and now works as a Senior CAMHS practitioner with a passion for working with young people with eating disorders using family-based treatment. She also works with children and young people using play therapy skills to support behaviour/emotional issues.

Alongside this, Lesley has launched her own early-intervention service (Young Lives), working across many schools in South Cumbria using both play-therapy skills and early intervention to support and empower children and families through challenging times.

Through her work with Young Lives, Lesley has recently been contracted to work with Adoption Now - delivering play therapy skills and therapeutic parenting sessions.

Lesley's close working relationship with St Columba’s means she is well-suited to lead on Early Help Assessments when required. Lesley is a valued member of the Strengthening Families Team in Cumbria and completes annual health assessments for Children Looked After using systematic approaches and works collaboratively with young people to formulate personal healthcare plans.

Lesley has accredited qualifications in:

  • Contraception and Sexual Health Level 6 
  • Counselling Skills for Working With Children with Place2Be (accredited from the CPCAB)
  • Certificate in Toilet Training, including children with autism and additional needs (ERIC)
  • Level 3 safeguarding of Children and Young People
  • National CAMHS training in Eating Disorders
  • Person Centred Approach and introduction to counselling (University of Cumbria)
  • Family Based Treatment for Eating Disorders in Children and Young People (Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust)
  • Foundation Training for Solihull Approach

Lesley is a Registered Nurse.

RGN Pin: 88F0548E.

Counselling skills for working with Children awarded by CPCAB (Counselling and psychotherapy Central Awarding Body): CPCAB702-ESWC-L3C-777-302805

She has an up to date enhanced certificate to work with children from HM disclosure and barring service (DBS).

Disclosure and barring service, certificate number : 001469502433 (9.12.14). This is regularly Updated


CBT skills (cognitive behavioural therapy) 



Lesley uses her clinical judgement and public health expertise to identify health needs early, determining risk and protective factors, and providing early intervention to prevent issues escalating


She is a Mental Health Champion


Individual Care Plans.   (ICP) It is helpful to draw up an individual care plan for pupils causing concern or who receive a diagnosis pertaining to their mental health.


ICP for physical health needs


Information sharing about Mental Health

Staff, Pupils and parents 



I ensure that staff, pupils and parents are aware of sources of support within school and in the local community. What support is available within our school and local community, who it is aimed at and how to access it.


Assessing  and referring  to services for investigation into ADHD, sensory processing disorder and Autism, other neurological issues such as oppositional defiant disorder. 


Managing disclosures and safeguarding child and family and staff


Play therapy certificate level 3

Accredited by the Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (CPCAB).

Using play in therapy helps people to express themselves in their own way; especially if they are struggling to understand how they are feeling, or are finding it hard to put their experiences into words.

Play Therapy can be a particularly helpful approach for children in need of therapeutic support.


Group Theraplay 

Group theraplay is a therapist-guided therapy for children  that enhances attachment, self-esteem and trust in others through play and interaction.  

these are the small groups 


  • Theraplay 
  • Theraplay is a short-term and long term, therapist-guided therapy for children and their parents or caregivers that enhances attachment, self-esteem and trust in others through play and interaction. It is based on the natural qualities found in healthy parent and child relationships, and focuses on four domains: structure, nurture, engagement and challenge. It works on creating an active and empathetic connection between a child and their parents. This process helps children to view themselves as worthy and lovable, and change their perceptions of relationships to ones that are positive and rewarding.

Theraplay uses an assessment process called the Marschak Interaction Method (MIM), which is a structured technique for observing and assessing the interaction between caregivers and children. The MIM consists of a series of simple tasks, which the caregivers and child perform together. It is used to evaluate the caregivers’ capacity for structure, nurture, engagement and challenge; and the child’s response to a caregiver. The MIM is a valuable tool in planning treatment and determining how to help parents and children strengthen their relationships.

  • We have had families access this through school.


School dogs 

  • A trained school dog may help progress the educational, social, emotional and physical development of individual students and groups, both in and out of the classroom.

Our school's programme can make a huge difference to students. Some of the benefits included:

  • A greater enjoyment of being in the school environment, improved attendance and a greater willingness to learn and participate.
  • Improved behaviour, social interaction and sense of responsibility in the classroom.
  • Increased knowledge of dogs and how to behave safely and appropriately around them.
  • Greater access to the community. For example, the presence of the dog can give them the confidence to go out on short trips outside their school.
  • A better understanding of how to take responsibility for another living being. This, potentially, gives them better recognition of their own responsibilities.
  • A range of individual benefits, with personal goals which range from  road safety to fear of immunisations and personal hygiene. The British Journal of School Nursing published an article about the vaccination success at Round Oak when students received support from their school dog.
  • Improvements in the way students interact with each other and with members of staff. The exciting part of this is that these effects extend into the home environment for some students.
  • The presence of the dog in the classroom, around the school and in the staff room has a beneficial effect on students and staff.
  • Members of the school have a ‘shared interest’. This encourages everyone to communicate, which has a positive impact on communication and relationships around the school.

Emotional Resilience Information Intent/Implementation/Impact