Find out how your school or college can apply for a grant and access DfE quality assured training to help develop a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing.
Applies to England
The Department for Education (DfE) is offering a grant of £1,200 for eligible state-funded schools and colleges in England to train a senior mental health lead to develop and implement a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing. This training is not compulsory, but it is part of the government’s commitment to offer this training to all eligible schools and colleges by 2025.
Eligible schools and colleges are now able to apply for a senior mental health lead training grant to commence training within the 2022 to 2023 financial year, up to 31 March 2023. Grants will be 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.
There are 2 forms you must fill out to complete your application and receive your grant:
- Form 1 - the initial application form to check your eligibility and reserve your grant
- Form 2 - the second stage of the application process, where you upload evidence of having booked a DfE quality assured training course so we can pay your grant
What the training covers
Research indicates that taking a coordinated 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 that 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
- the Charlie Waller Trust’s college mental health self-evaluation tool
Who the training is for
Schools and colleges that claimed a grant in the 2021 to 2022 financial year are not eligible to apply for another grant. This includes academy converters where a claim was made by the predecessor school.
State-funded schools and colleges in England, including those in receipt of ESFA pre-16 revenue, high needs block, or 16 to 19 programme funding are eligible to apply for a grant. Further information and a list of eligible setting types is available in the conditions of grant.
Independent settings with fee-paying pupils and students are not eligible for a grant but may access DfE assured training independently.
Apprenticeship providers are not eligible to claim a grant but they too may access DfE quality assured training independently.
All eligible education settings can benefit from senior mental health lead training. Courses are available to meet the learning needs and preferences of senior leads, whatever their level of experience, type of setting or location.
Identifying a senior mental health lead
Schools and colleges can decide who is best placed to take on the role of senior mental health lead and undertake 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
If your senior lead is not a member of your school or college SLT, you will need to consider whether the individual has the authority, capacity, and support to influence and lead strategic change within the setting.
Eligible settings are only able to claim one grant, so when choosing a senior mental health lead you should take into account succession planning and career development plans. This will help ensure that your senior lead has sufficient time and capacity to meet the conditions of grant, including completing training and implementing a sustained whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing.
Existing mental health leads
Existing mental health leads, or someone who has undertaken other mental health and wellbeing training, can still be nominated for this training.
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 coordinator, responsible for liaising with the team, or can be a different member of staff.
Before you apply for a training grant
Before you apply for a training grant, you should check that you meet all the eligibility criteria and terms for the training grant, including that you have:
- committed to develop or implement a whole school or college approach to mental health
- identified a senior mental health lead to oversee your whole school or college approach, and confirmed that they are available to commence training before 31 March 2023
Applying for a grant
You can now apply for a senior mental health lead training grant to commence training within the 2022 to 2023 financial year, up to 31 March 2023:
Eligible settings should complete the first stage of the application process to reserve a grant. In this form, your eligibility will be checked and you will be asked to make a series of declarations as described in the conditions of grant.
You will then receive confirmation that we have successfully received your application and you should proceed to book a DfE quality assured training course to commence by 31 March 2023. Please retain evidence of your booking as this will be needed to claim your grant.
After submitting the first form (usually within 10 days), you will receive an email from DfE inviting you to submit the second stage of your application. In this form, you will be asked to provide evidence that confirms you have booked a DfE quality assured course, for example a scanned copy, screenshot, or photograph of your confirmation email or invoice from your training provider. Make sure that your evidence includes the title of the training course, the start date, and the name of the training provider.
You will have at least 3 weeks to submit the second form, but if you do not submit within the deadline provided we may release your place to other applicants to ensure grants do not go unclaimed.
Look out for your invitation email to complete the second stage of the application process as it may go to your junk folder.
If your setting is due to change status (for example, by converting to an academy), you may not be able to access the online forms. If this is the case, contact us at MentalHealth.LeadTraining@education.gov.uk.
You can also contact us if you believe you are eligible to apply for a grant but are experiencing issues with the application form.
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 are provided in the tool to enable you to book your selected senior mental health lead course directly with a training provider.
Providers of training
This grant can only be used to pay for.
Training providers wishing to provide grant-funded senior mental health lead training to schools and colleges can find out more through the DfE contracts finder.
When your grant will be paid
Once you have submitted evidence of your course booking in the second online form, we will review the information provided and email you when your application has been approved to confirm when you will receive your grant.
Payments will be made on a quarterly basis:
- to most settings on the last working day of June 2022, September 2022, December 2022, and March 2023
- to academies on the first working day of July 2022, October 2022, January 2023, and April 2023
When you receive your grant will depend on when you complete the second stage of your application. Maintained schools and maintained alternative provision settings will receive payment via their local authority, whilst all other settings will receive payment directly. This payment will be made alongside your regular funding and will appear as a separate line on that remittance.
By applying for a grant, you are accepting that an appropriate DfE representative will contact you directly to ask that you participate in our programme evaluation. As a condition of your grant, we require you to provide feedback on your completed training so that we can understand how the training is supporting schools and colleges to develop their approaches to mental health, and how we can improve our offer.
We will contact you by email to request your contributions and keep our requests brief to minimise burdens on your time.
Your school or college will also be included on a publicly available list to enable health partners and local authorities to support take up of this offer and the development of effective whole school or college approaches to mental health and wellbeing.
Will there be further opportunities to apply for a grant?
If you are waiting to apply for a grant, we encourage school leaders to:
- consider your setting’s commitment to a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing
- identify a senior mental health lead to receive training to oversee your whole school or college approach in the context of wider SEND, pastoral and safeguarding responsibilities
- consider the specific knowledge and skills your senior lead may wish to develop; they can complete a self-assessment to identify their specific learning needs and preferences using the online tool choosing a senior mental health lead training course
- consider other professional development for the senior lead, the wider senior leadership team and staff, including National Professional Qualifications (NPQs). The NPQ for Leading Behaviour and Culture is for teachers who have, or are aspiring to have, responsibilities for leading behaviour and pupil wellbeing in their school. Fully funded scholarships to undertake NPQs are now available for all state-funded schools, as well as state-funded 16 to 19 organisations.