Eating Disorders

Young people between 14 and 25 are most affected by eating disorders. There are several types of eating disorder, namely, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). Awareness is growing about having a positive body image, but there is still an onslaught from social media and peer pressure to appear ‘perfect’, when there is no such thing.

Students with eating disorders may have concentration issues in the classroom, including fatigue and depression. Low self-esteem is usually always present. Eating disorders fall under the social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) SEN classification, but we felt justified being covered under a separate section.

Some signs to be aware of with an eating disorder:

  • Compulsive exercise
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sneaky eating or avoiding social situations when there is food
  • Being obsessed by body weight and letting that determine one’s happiness

Friend and parental support is very important for those who suffer with eating disorders. One must always bear in mind that there is an underlying cause for the behaviour, and the control or lack of control of food intake is only the result. 

Our tutors are made aware of this mental health condition and are expected to treat the student with care, and to adjust lessons for the concentration of the student if necessary, in line with the person-centred Bright Heart Approach.

How our tutors approach students with eating disorders

Tutors provide a warm, non-judgemental learning environment for the student to feel at ease. Tutors avoid discussing appearance in case any comment is interpreted negatively. Tutors keep the pace of the lesson relaxed and are attentive to any fatigue which could be present due to lack of energy. They ensure the lesson is flexible and that the student is affirmed. Building rapport is part of our approach and this is particularly important for these students.