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Senior mental health lead training: a whole school approach (DAB005)

Develop a personalised mental health and wellbeing plan for your school with our DfE assured training

Complete your senior mental health lead training online with our DfE quality-assured course and learn how to implement a whole school approach to mental health.

If you work in an eligible state-funded school or college in England, you can receive full funding for this training from the Department for Education (DfE) – meaning your costs will be covered.

Recently refreshed and restructured to introduce the latest best practice, this training will help you develop understanding of both the universality and the complexity of mental wellbeing. Through interactive units, live group seminars and a peer discussion forum, you will create a personalised plan that will allow you to influence, promote and embed a whole school or college approach to positive mental health and wellbeing.

Learn how to access grant-funded training from DfE

Aims and learning objectives

On completion of our online senior mental health lead training you will have the practical tools and support to develop a tailored plan for promoting and embedding a sustainable whole school or college approach to positive mental health and wellbeing.

Across four units, you will learn how to champion and create workable systems and structures through the provision of planning and audit tools. These practical tools will guide you to develop a proactive approach and provide structures and frameworks for monitoring and evaluation.

Throughout this, you will address the challenge presented by the need for universal and targeted solutions, internal system and culture change and working alongside other services and professionals.

Our aim is that this training will empower you to create happier and healthier schools and colleges for children, young people and staff.

Throughout this training, you will:

  • explore key concepts through interactive lecture content and videos that form four units
  • deepen your understanding via opportunities for reflection
  • consider expert case interviews that give practical advice and will help apply the theory to your work
  • connect with your peers to discuss your learnings and apply them to your own workplace setting
  • test your knowledge with self-assessment checks, which will unlock access to your CPD certificate upon completion

The training has been recently updated to ensure you benefit from the latest best practice– and is quality assured by the DfE. Each unit within the training provides a model of ‘reflect, plan, do, review’ and offers specific tools which you can use in your work. Across two live group seminars and the discussion forum, you’ll have the opportunity to extend your learning and network through reflection and evaluation with peers and expert practitioners.

Who is this course for?

This introductory training programme is best suited for individuals who have recently been designated as senior mental health leads in their setting, or have completed some mental health leadership training and are looking to consolidate their learning.

You might be working in a primary, secondary, or a middle-deemed primary or secondary school or a college, special school or alternative provision.

To receive DfE funding, you must be working within an eligible state-funded school or college within England – you can check eligibility here. If your setting is not on this list, you can still sign up for our course, but you will not be able to access DfE funding.

If you’re not sure if this programme is right for you, please get in touch.

Course details

The course takes 12 weeks to complete during which the tutor will be available for consultation via the discussion forum and during the two (optional) live group seminars. You will have access to the training and materials for one year from the course start date, so you can revisit and review any part of the course as you need.

During the course, you’ll be invited to attend two, live group seminars with your tutor, conducted via Zoom. These will each last two hours. They will give you the chance to contextualise the key concepts to your own setting, take part in collaborative exercises and discussions with your peers and apply your learning by developing a personalised plan for your whole school approach.

You’ll also be invited to share your learning with peers in our new discussion forum and participate in regular activities.

The next cohorts will run on the following dates:

Cohort 1

Course dates: 2 October 2023 – 22 December 2023

Live seminar dates

  • Seminar 1: Wednesday 18 October 2023, 3pm – 5pm BST
  • Seminar 2: Tuesday 5 December 2023, 3pm – 5pm GMT

Cohort 2

Course dates: 19 February 2024 – 10 May 2024

Live seminar dates

  • Seminar 1: Tuesday 12 March 2024, 3pm – 5pm GMT
  • Seminar 2: Tuesday 30 April 2024, 3pm – 5pm BST

Please note that seminar times are subject to change.

This training will cover the eight principles outlined in Public Health England’s whole school or college approach to promoting mental health and wellbeing.

You will learn how to:

  • implement a process to identify those who may need additional support relating to mental health and wellbeing
  • work with others to understand the mental health and wellbeing issues that could be impacting on a pupil’s access and engagement with school so that they can plan appropriate support
  • review whole school policies and systems to address inequalities and improve access and engagement with school
  • implement and evaluate the effectiveness of mental health and wellbeing support at all levels of the school community
  • identify when local mental health services will be indicated to support specific pupils
  • develop effective plans to involve, engage and empower students and their families into your whole-school approach
  • devise and apply an audit and implementation plan

This online training programme runs in two cohorts across 2023/2024. It delivers 20 hours of learning with a suggested three-month structure, although the majority can be undertaken at a time and pace that suits you.

There are no specific requirements for this training, although we suggest you are working as a senior mental health lead, have completed some mental health leadership training or wish to know more in this area.

You will find a knowledge and understanding checkpoint at the end of each unit and a final assessment quiz which provides access to your Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust CPD certificate upon completion.

As well as this self-assessment, the tutors will provide feedback during the live online group seminars to ensure that your plans are realistic and effective.

This programme consists of four, five-hour units:

  • Leading and managing a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing
  • Understanding and identifying mental health needs in schools
  • Whole school and targeted interventions to support mental health and wellbeing
  • Working in partnership with students and parents/carers

How can I access funding?

You can book a Department for Education-funded place by following these steps:

1. Check the eligibility of your school or college on the Department for Education’s terms and conditions

2. Complete the DfE grant funding form. The course code required by the DfE is SMHL113.

3. Once you have received your confirmation email from DfE, return here to book your place. If you need any assistance, please contact the Digital Academy team via our contact form.

4. After you’ve submitted the first form, you’ll receive an email from DfE asking you to submit the second stage of your application and share proof of your course purchase. Provided this is satisfactory, you will then receive your funding grant from the DfE.

5. Register to watch our free webinars where you’ll explore the roles and responsibilities school leaders have in supporting mental health and wellbeing in their educational setting.


“I have thoroughly enjoyed this course and the resource has been very helpful in enhancing my prior knowledge of mental health in schools and in general. Clear and precise information and the seminar was great, sharing ideas and comparing experiences was really useful.”
“Very thought-provoking and excellently structured.”
“It was a personalised and accessible entry point into the training – thank you. ”

Why study with us?

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has been at the forefront of exploring mental health and wellbeing for over 100 years. We bring our extensive experience to this programme as the only NHS mental health clinic currently assured by the DfE for grant-funded senior mental health lead training, and the only NHS Trust to be registered as a Higher Education Provider by The Office for Students. This means your learning will be grounded in practice and real life application. With our Digital Academy, we have made our training accessible and available to everyone to explore in your own time, at your own pace.

Course facilitators



This course has been assured for DfE grant-funded senior mental health lead training. Upon completion of the programme, you will receive four CPD certificates to evidence your training.

Book your place today

Choose your preferred start date from the list below and book your place today.

You will receive your login details by email the day after you’ve booked. Access begins on the course start date.

Select your start date

You might be interested in…

Our free webinar series explores the roles and responsibilities school leaders have in supporting mental health and wellbeing in their educational setting.

Each webinar will be led by one of our experts and consist of a presentation followed by a Q&A session with the presenter(s) – this is where you’ll have the chance to raise questions live with our experts on mental health in education.

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