Is your school mentally healthy?

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

It is impossible to miss the headlines and discussion about the mental health of young people. What are schools supposed to do to help?

“Leading a Mentally Healthy School” is a programme run by the Agnus Dei Teaching School Alliance in partnership with the St Edwards TSA. It was originally developed by Health Education England (HEE) and the School Development Support Agency (SDSA) in partnership with an expert group of educational psychologists, education consultants and mental health organisations. 

It directly responds to the areas highlighted in the Green Paper – ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision’ (December 2017) as it states and recognises, “There is clear evidence that schools and colleges can, and do, play a vital role in identifying mental health needs at an early stage, referring young people to specialist support and working jointly with others to support young people experiencing problems.”

The training is lead by Nick Jobbins who is an Assistant Headteacher, SENDCo, DSL and SLE alongside Michelle Roddy who is an Assistant Headteacher in charge of Well-being, Safety and Resilience and an SLE.  

Nick says, “The aim of this course is to both enable and empower senior leaders to put mental health at the heart of their strategic school improvement. Additionally it provides practical and sustainable approaches that can be implemented on return to school.”

One of the attendees last year feedback, “I got lots of ideas! It was really helpful to sit with leaders from other school and start a draft policy. I felt confident in taking it back to school to make our own, accompanied by an action plan.”

Heads and deputies of Alliance schools received CPD from Michelle last Spring and there was agreement that there was definitely more work to be done. She has been in demand as an SLE, but says, “Attending this training will upskill staff and give far greater confidence to leaders. It’s set up for those who are leading, or aspiring to lead, a mentally healthy school.”

The course covers:

  • What is mental health?
  • Why have a whole school approach to mental health?
  • The importance of ethos and culture.
  • Strategic planning.
  • Policies and procedures for impact

Nick Jobbins and Michelle Roddy are both Alliance SLEs and have done extensive work on Social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) within the Alliance and beyond. It is sadly no surprise their expertise is in high demand from schools.