Guidance and evidence shows that the key factor in improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health within schools and colleges comes from taking a Whole School Approach. Strong leadership and management within the school or college is vital.
Public Health England guidance
Public Health England breaks down the whole-school approach into eight components. Leadership and Management are at the centre of their model.
It recognises that improving emotional wellbeing and mental health is likely to lead to an improvement in overall academic attainment. Work on improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health should be incorporated into the School Improvement Plan rather than developing it separately.
National Children’s Bureau
Evidence from Professor Weare in the National Children’s Bureau on what works:
Mentally Healthy Schools
The Mentally Healthy Schools website provides a range of practical advice and guidance on embedding a whole school approach and the various components.
Schools may wish to develop a stand alone policy on emotional wellbeing, or incorporate this into their safeguarding procedures. The Mentally Healthy Schools website offers examples of existing policies and procedures.
Teaching Schools Alliance’s Leading a Mentally Healthy School is a new two-day programme, aimed at senior leaders of all phases to enable reflection and action planning around whole-school approaches to mental health provision.
The programme has been developed by Health Education England (HEE) and the School Development Support Agency (SDSA) in partnership with an expert group of educational psychologists, education consultants and mental health organisations.
Leading a Mentally Healthy School aims:
- to enable and empower senior leaders to put mental health at the heart of strategic school improvement.
- to equip senior leaders with practical and sustainable approaches that can be implemented on return to school.