Find out how to apply for a grant and access DfE quality-assured training to help develop a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing
The Department for Education (DfE) is offering a £1,200 grant for a senior member of school staff to access quality-assured training to implement an effective whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing in your school. Grants of £1,200 will be available to around a third of all state schools this financial year. This is part of the government’s commitment to offer this training to all eligible schools and colleges by 2025.
The grant is provided to cover (or contribute to) the cost of attending a quality-assured course and may also be used to hire supply staff whilst leads are engaged in learning.
What does the training cover?
The learning outcomes for senior mental health lead training are aligned with the principles of Public Health England (PHE) and the DfE’s promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing.
Research indicates that taking a co-ordinated and evidence-informed approach to mental health and wellbeing leads to improved emotional health and wellbeing in children and young people, and greater readiness to learn. Schools and colleges which have taken this approach often report improved attendance, attention, behaviour and attainment.
You can reflect on your setting’s existing approach to mental health and wellbeing using the following:
- the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) preparing for recovery: self-review and signposting tool;
- an approach developed by Oldham Council, the whole school and college approach to emotional health and mental wellbeing;
- Leading Change, developed by the Anna Freud Centre.
Who is the training for?
Senior mental health lead training is relevant to all education settings and courses are available to meet the learning needs and preferences of senior leads, whatever their level of experience, type of setting, or location. All state-funded schools and colleges are eligible to apply for a training grant.
Schools can decide who gets the training as every setting’s circumstances are different. Training could be for your:
- deputy headteacher;
- member of the senior leadership team (SLT);
- if not a senior leader, an appropriate member of staff, working with colleagues, who is empowered to develop and oversee your setting’s whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing.
Existing mental health leads
Existing mental health leads, or someone who has previously had mental health and wellbeing training, can still be nominated for this training. While you can still nominate your existing mental health lead if they are not a member of the SLT, you will need to consider whether the individual has the authority, capacity and support to influence and lead strategic change within the setting.
The grant must be used on DfE quality-assured training to help develop or introduce your whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing; existing senior leads might wish to:
- develop or refresh their knowledge and skills in specific priority areas;
- get more advanced training;
- get a relevant qualification.
Mental health support teams (MHSTs)
If you are already working with an MHST, your nominated senior lead can also be your MHST co-ordinator, responsible for liaising with the team, or it can be a different member of staff.
How do I apply for a grant?
The grant application service is now available for schools and colleges to apply for a senior mental health lead training grant. If you are eligible, and intend to book a course soon, apply for a grant BEFORE you book a course. Grants are now available on a first-come, first-served, basis until the DfE have issued all available funds for this financial year.
Once the DfE have issued all the available grants the application system will ask if you want to join its waiting list and the DfE will confirm future grant funding in the spring of 2022.
Before you apply for a grant, you should check that you meet in full the eligibility criteria and terms for the training grant, including that you have:
- committed to develop or implement a whole school approach to mental health;
- identified a senior mental health lead to oversee your whole school approach, and they are available to commence training before 31 March 2022.
When you apply, you will be asked to complete the following online process to receive a grant.
- Apply and confirm your eligibility. You will need to provide your school or college details to confirm you are an eligible setting and make a series of declarations as described in eligibility criteria and terms for the training grant.
- You will be contacted to complete a second online form (later in the autumn term), to confirm which DfE quality-assured course you have booked and to submit evidence of your booking, so the DfE can authorise your grant payment. You will be given at least two weeks’ notice to complete this form. To ensure grants do not go unclaimed, the DfE will release your grant to applicants on their waiting list if you do not complete this final stage of your application by the deadline given.
After completing the first stage of your application, the DfE encourage you to proceed without delay to book and attend your training. After you provide evidence that you have booked a DfE quality-assured course, payment of your grant application will be authorised and you will receive the grant. The DfE will also ask you provide feedback on your completed training as a condition of your grant.
How do I access DfE quality assured training?
You can assess your specific learning needs and preferences and select the most suitable quality-assured course using the online tool, Choosing a senior mental health lead training course. Contact details will be provided to then book your selected senior mental health lead course(s) directly with a training provider.
You must retain evidence of booking in order to complete your grant application.