4 Schools



Eating disorders are not ‘normal’ dieting and body shape concerns; they are serious mental illnesses with damaging physical consequences. Early identification is an essential part of helping a sufferer to make a recovery and is supported by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidelines published by the government.

4 Facts in 4 areas

  • 1. Behaviour
    • Avoids eating at school.
    • Takes a long time to eat.
    • Brings or cooks food for others at school.
    • Reduces application to school work or increases to the point of obsessiveness.
  • 2. Physical Factors
    • Has a major loss or gain of weight – this may be especially noticeable after a school holiday.
    • Avoids physical activity or significantly increases physical activity.
    • Complains of the cold frequently.
    • Appears tired and listless.
  • 3. Psychological changes
    • Looks withdrawn and sad.
    • Seems less able to concentrate.
    • May be irritable.
    • Over focus on certain themes, potentially around body matters, food or eating related matters (for example in Art or in English)
  • 4. Social Factors
    • Friends may present with concerns.
    • Withdrawal from friendship groups may be noted.
    • May become suddenly very socially confident due to reduced weight – often shown by excessive focus on appearance.
    • May talk a lot about eating and weight related issues with friends.

What can schools do?
4 suggestions for change

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  • Education on eating disorders.
  • A clear and effective system to support a student who presents with an eating disorder.
  • CA named teacher and peer supporter from a core team of trained staff and students to be available should help be needed.
  • Establish links with local services and know what the referral pathways are and also ensure that there is a risk management plan in place to keep the student physically safe at school.