About Us

Our Vision

At engage in their future, our vision is for every child who faces Social, Emotional and Mental Health challenges (SEMH) to benefit from high quality education that meets their individual needs.

Our Objectives

To provide peer support for leaders of schools for pupils experiencing SEMH needs.

To promote the sharing of good practice in order to improve the education and welfare of pupils.

To influence policy and practice by providing a collective voice and representing the views of SEMH school leaders locally, regionally and nationally.

Our Mission

engage in their future exists as an organisation for, and of, specialist leaders in SEMH, working across all educational environments and with all ages, sharing support, experience and best practice advice with colleagues in educational leadership and managements positions, and their school community. It provides advocacy for those with challenging behaviour and those working them, and continually works to help improve the education and welfare of pupils. By providing a collective voice for its members, engage in their future will inform and influence the national debate on SEMH issues.

How we deliver our mission

Offer and share support, advice and expertise to SEMH school leaders across educational settings through co-ordinated peer to peer networking opportunities, including regionally and nationally organised events.

Provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their progress, achievements, and abilities on a national platform alongside their peers.

Partnering with professional services providers to offer member schools discounts on relevant resources.

Expressing a collective voice and unified advocacy for young people facing SEMH challenges and those working with them and, when appropriate, working with other associations to do so.

Our History

The National Association of EBD Schools (NAES) was formed in 1999 to enable Head Teachers within the BESD (Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties) sector (or SEMH – Social, Emotional and Mental Health – as it is now known) to join together to influence BESD issues locally, regionally and nationally. The principle aims and objectives that underpinned the organisation then continue to do so now: to express a collective SEMH voice, to provide peer support, and to promote the sharing of good practice at all levels within the SEMH sector.

Since its inception, the organisation has seen many changes, not least a change in name to engage in their future! Its development has, in part, been as a result of changes within the sector, but also because of the commitment of members. The benefits of membership have been enhanced as the National Committee has extended the scope and audience of its focus.

The structure and official processes of engage in their future are underpinned by key documentation including its Constitution.

engage in their future currently has around 100 member schools across England and Wales.

National Committee

The engage in their future National Committee has traditionally been composed of a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, eight Regional Representatives, and up to five Co-Opted members. Three Trustees also contribute to the overall direction, compliance and management of the organisation. All are supported by an Administrator.

At the July 2019 AGM, the introduction of a Co-Chair arrangement (to replace Chair / Vice-Chair structure) was proposed that would see two individuals share the role. This would be for the usual three year term but involve regular review and liaison with the rest of the National Committee, particularly for the first twelve months, to ensure effective implementation.

It was also proposed that an Advisory Board be established to pro-actively support the National Committee but that is not involved in the day to day running of the organisation.

Although two Co-Chairs have been proposed, selected and elected by the National Committee, the situation remains under review pending completion of a review of the constitutional implications of such a proposal.

Registered Charity

The organisation has been a registered charity (No.1110473) since 2005, amending its name to engage in their future in February 2010.

The people responsible under the charity’s governing document for controlling the management and administration of the charity are Brendan Joseph Heneghan, Stephen Francis Cliffen and Lawrence Bartel who act as Trustees.