Guidance

Senior mental health lead training

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.

Applies to England

This training is not compulsory. We encourage you to identify and train a senior mental health lead, to develop your whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing. This will help your school or college to better promote and support the mental wellbeing of pupils, students and staff, and make best use of existing resources.

Overview

The Department for Education (DfE) is offering a £1,200 grant for a senior member of school or college staff to access quality assured training to implement an effective whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing in your setting. Grants of £1,200 will be available to around a third of all eligible state schools and colleges in England in the 2021 to 2022 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 the training covers

The Learning outcomes for senior mental health lead training (PDF, 172 KB, 9 pages) are aligned with the principles of Public Health England (PHE) and the Department for Education’s promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing.

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 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:

Who the training is for

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.

Independent settings with fee-paying pupils and students are not eligible for a grant but may access DfE assured training independently.

Senior mental health lead training is available for primary and secondary schools and colleges but is not intended to meet the specific needs of early years or adult settings.

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.

Schools and colleges can decide who gets the training as every setting’s circumstances are different. Training could be for your:

  • headteacher
  • 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 coordinator, responsible for liaising with the team, or can be a different member of staff.

Apply to join the waitlist

Join the waiting list by signing up through the grant application service.

All senior mental health lead training grant currently available for the 2021 to 2022 financial year has been reserved. DfE’s position on issuing grants for the 2022 to 2023 financial year will be confirmed later in the spring.

As schools and colleges respond to changing circumstances, we expect some grants to become available for reallocation this financial year.

We will reallocate grants on a first come first served basis to schools and colleges on the waitlist to enable them to access training quickly before the end of March 2022.

Before you apply to join the waitlist

Before you apply to join the waitlist, 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 they are available to commence training before 31 March 2023

To join the waitlist, you will need to apply and confirm your eligibility online. You will need to:

  • provide your school or college details to confirm you are an eligible setting
  • make a series of declarations as described in eligibility criteria and terms for the training grant

Once you join the waitlist, you will be prioritised to receive early notification if and when grant funding becomes available for your setting to access training.

We may also send you information updating you on senior mental health lead training, or other useful related information on whole school or college approaches to mental health and wellbeing.

Grant funding and payments

We will contact settings that successfully apply for grant funding to confirm which DfE quality assured course you have booked and submit evidence of your booking.

You will have 3 weeks to upload evidence of having booked a DfE quality assured course, so we can authorise your grant payment. You will need the relevant DfE course code from your course provider.

If you do not receive an email, contact us on MentalHealth.LeadTraining@education.gov.uk.

To ensure grants do not go unclaimed, we will release your grant to applicants on our waiting list if you do not complete this final stage of your application within 3 weeks from being asked to do so.

We will review the evidence sent to us. Once we have confirmed the training booked is DfE quality assured training we will make the grant payment.

Programme evaluation

We also ask that you participate in our programme evaluation. This includes providing feedback on your completed training as a condition of your grant. The feedback will help us to understand how the training is supporting schools and colleges to develop their approaches to mental health and wellbeing and inform future support.

We will contact you by email to request your contributions, and keep our requests brief to minimise burdens on your time.

Will there be another opportunity to apply for a grant?

DfE will confirm the position on issuing grants for 2022 to 2023 financial year later this spring. Ahead of future grant funding being made available, we encourage school leaders to:

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 to complete your grant application.

Providers of training

This grant can only be used to pay DfE assured senior mental health lead training courses (PDF, 254 KB, 14 pages).

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.

Published 2 June 2021
Last updated 18 January 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated content to reflect that grants are now available to those on the waiting list in this financial year.

  2. Updated the list of DfE-assured senior mental health lead training courses.

  3. Updated as we have allocated all available grant funding for the 2021 to 2022 financial year.

  4. Updated the list of DfE-assured senior mental health lead training courses.

  5. Added information about how successful applicants need to provide evidence of booking DfE quality assured training to receive the grant funding.

  6. Updated the list of 'DfE assured senior mental health lead training courses' with courses SMHL072 to SMHL084.

  7. Updated 'How do I apply for a grant' section.

  8. Updated the list of DfE-assured senior mental health lead training courses.

  9. Updated with latest information on how to apply for a grant.

  10. Updated list of DfE-assured senior mental health lead training courses.

  11. Updated ‘Who is the training for’ section and added new sections on ‘How do I access DfE quality assured training' and ‘How do I apply for a grant’. Published the list of quality-assured courses, grant terms document and links to a contact details form and an online tool to help select the most suitable course.

  12. Added 'Learning outcomes for senior mental health lead training' document in 'Outcomes' section and a new section 'Actions school and college leaders can take now'.

  13. First published.