The importance of robust mental health leadership as schools return to normal


Why provision for mental health and wellbeing for pupils and staff alike has never been more important.

There can be no doubt that the previous 18 months have been incredibly challenging for everyone involved in education. Many have faced issues they may not have faced before, such as isolation and loneliness, anxiety and depression, in addition to work stress, bullying and bereavement. A leading charity that supports mental health and wellbeing states that over 50% of mental illnesses start before the age of 14 and one in ten children and young people have a mental health disorder. A recent BBC investigation has found that children struggling with mental health problems during the pandemic are facing agonisingly long waits for treatment, with one in five waiting over 12 weeks for care.

Children and young people have not been uniquely affected. Teaching and support staff in schools have moved mountains to ensure the pupils in their care have continued to receive an education and support, whilst managing the impacts on their own personal lives. It has never been more apparent that well-supported staff can promote far more effective mental health wellbeing to children in their care.

For these reasons, the Department for Education is now offering a grant for senior members of school or college staff in England to access quality-assured training, enabling them to manage and arrange mental health provision for those who need it the most.

Real Training is delighted to announce we shall be delivering two Senior Mental Health Leadership courses, starting January 2022; the Senior Mental Health Leadership Certificate and the Senior Mental Health Leadership Advanced Award. The goal is to provide a senior staff member in each school or college with the latest thinking and access to a network of peers and experts they need to lead, change and develop or introduce a whole-school approach to wellbeing and mental health.

●      Senior Mental Health Leadership Certificate (SMHLC) - aimed at those who are new to a Senior Mental Health Leadership role or are aspiring to become a leader in this area.

●      Senior Mental Health Leadership - Advanced Award (SMHLAA) - aimed at those who have some experience in the role, and have some existing training in mental health leadership. 

Our Educational Psychologists have a long history of providing training (in-person and online) for education staff development. With extensive experience in the field of mental health and wellbeing, you will be guided by HCPC registered and qualified Educational Psychologists. Our courses are also supported by an executive headteacher with a specialism in wellbeing, as well as mental health professionals such as an Art Therapist. 

The government grant is available immediately for both SMHL courses. However, it will only be for a limited number of schools. The courses, starting in January, are available to book now. Find our contact details at the end of this blog to get in touch. 

Through our sister company Dyslexia Action, we also offer The Emotionally Connected Classroom; a Level 5 unit that provides an understanding of the impact of emotions on the thinking brain and its implications for learning. It aims to provide an introduction to key elements of current research and practice in mentalisation theory (understanding the mental state of oneself and others) and emotional coaching. The importance of connectedness and relationships is emphasised throughout. 

This unit is suitable for TAs or those without a degree, as well as any other educational professionals looking for a shorter course. It’s an ideal course for staff members to develop their understanding and support the work of the senior mental health lead. 

“Thank you for delivering a fantastic course. I absolutely loved it and will be recommending it to staff within my department. Thank you.”
- Ross Thomas, 2020 

“I have absolutely loved this course - it was exactly what I felt was missing from my 'toolkit' and now I can make sure that the impact is shared more widely in my new setting for the benefit of the children we serve. Thank you.”
- Stephanie O’Neill, 2020 

“It will be really thought-provoking and interesting. It will shape how you think about your teaching practice.”
- Nassim Jalali, 2021 

If you are interested in learning more about these mental health-related courses, please don’t hesitate to contact us at, by phone on +44(0)1273 35 80 80 or book an appointment to speak to one of our expert course advisors.

Author: Real Training