Pilot Trailblazers

The Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care jointly published ‘‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health: A Green Paper” in 2017, and a subsequent consultation response in 2018, setting out the governments commitments to improve mental health support in and around schools and colleges.

As part of this, government committed to incentivise and support all schools and colleges to have an effective senior mental health lead (referred to in the Green Paper as a Designated Senior Lead for mental health), by offering training free of charge to every school and college by 2025.

Senior Mental Health Leads in Schools and Colleges

The Department for Education launched an exercise to recruit a specialist provider to deliver training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, so they have the skills and knowledge to promote positive mental health and wellbeing and implement effective processes for children and young people to receive appropriate support. Part of the role of Mental Health Support Teams will be to work with senior mental health leads in schools and colleges to support them in developing a holistic approach to mental health.

A summary of the training specification is available here

Trailblazer Programme

The Green Paper ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health’ proposed the establishment of Designated Senior Leads for Mental Health in schools.

Although promoted and recommended by the Department of Education, the role is not mandatory.

It is envisaged that they would have the following core responsibilities:

  • Oversight of the whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing, including how it is reflected in the design of behaviour policies, curriculum and pastoral support, how staff are supported with their own mental wellbeing and how pupils and parents are engaged;
  • Supporting the identification of at risk children and children exhibiting signs of mental ill health;
  • Knowledge of the local mental health services and working with clear links into children and young people’s mental health services to refer children and young people into NHS services where it is appropriate to do so;
  • Coordination of the mental health needs of young people within the school or college and oversight of the delivery of interventions where these are being delivered in the educational setting; Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision
  • Support to staff in contact with children with mental health needs to help raise awareness, and give all staff the confidence to work with young people;
  • Overseeing the outcomes of interventions, on children and young people’s education and wellbeing.

The training programme for these roles is currently being developed by the Dept of Education.

NHS Future Collaboration

For an invite to join the Future NHS Collaboration Platform for the Mental Health Support Teams and 4 Week Wait Implementation Platform please contact england.cyp-mentalhealth@nhs.net with a subject line ‘CYP MH Future NHS platform’

List of resources that are on the NHS Future Collaboration website for the Mental Health Support Teams and 4 Week Wait Implementation Platform include:

-Government papers

-National and regional contact details

-Stakeholder reports on Green Paper

-Locally developed documents and templates

-Digital resources

-Trailblazer sites data and evaluation information

-Mental Health Support Teams information and funding

-Recommendations and best practice within trailblazer sites

-Information from CYP and Parents/Carers

-Frequently asked questions

-Site set up information

-Template Job Descriptions and Person Specifications

-Vulnerable Groups guidance

-Schools and Colleges Link programme information

-Mental Health Support Teams and 4 Week Waiting Time Implementation Calendar

Mental Health Support Teams manual

Schools link pilots

In summer 2015, NHS England and the Department for Eduction (DfE) jointly launched the Mental Health Services and Schools Link Pilot. They took place across 22 areas, including five in London. The evaluation report was published in February 2017.Overall the evaluation found that the pilots had considerable success in strengthening communications and joint working arrangements between schools and NHS children and young people’s mental health services. This was often the case where relationships were said to have been weak at the start if the pilot programme, although the extend of the change varied between pilot areas.A second wave of pilots has been commissioned and a further two areas of London are part of this wave.

Read more about senior mental health leads in schools and colleges

Designated Senior Leads

The Green Paper ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health’ proposed the establishment of Designated Senior Leads for Mental Health in schools.

Although promoted and recommended by the Department of Education, the role is not mandatory.

It is envisaged that they would have the following core responsibilities:

  • Oversight of the whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing, including how it is reflected in the design of behaviour policies, curriculum and pastoral support, how staff are supported with their own mental wellbeing and how pupils and parents are engaged;
  • Supporting the identification of at risk children and children exhibiting signs of mental ill health;
  • Knowledge of the local mental health services and working with clear links into children and young people’s mental health services to refer children and young people into NHS services where it is appropriate to do so;
  • Coordination of the mental health needs of young people within the school or college and oversight of the delivery of interventions where these are being delivered in the educational setting; Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision
  • Support to staff in contact with children with mental health needs to help raise awareness, and give all staff the confidence to work with young people;
  • Overseeing the outcomes of interventions, on children and young people’s education and wellbeing.

The training programme for these roles is currently being developed by the Dept of Education.

Schools Link pilots

In summer 2015, NHS England and the Department for Eduction (DfE) jointly launched the Mental Health Services and Schools Link Pilot. They took place across 22 areas, including five in London. The evaluation report was published in February 2017.

Overall the evaluation found that the pilots had considerable success in strengthening communications and joint working arrangements between schools and NHS children and young people’s mental health services. This was often the case where relationships were said to have been weak at the start if the pilot programme, although the extend of the change varied between pilot areas.

A second wave of pilots has been commissioned and a further two areas of London are part of this wave.

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