WHOLE SCHOOL APPROACH
A whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing means that school governors, leadership team, staff, parents, carers, pupils and the wider community all subscribe to the school’s ethos and culture.
- Begin with the school governors and leadership team identifying mental health as an area of focus on the school improvement plan.
- Make sure school policies, including safeguarding and anti-bullying, promote an ethos and procedures that help keep staff and pupils safe.
- Work collaboratively with parents and carers so that they feel able to understand and promote the culture and ethos of the school.
- Start with an evaluation and review of what the school currently does to promote and support positive mental health for all and then identify strengths and areas for development.
- Staff training is important, so that all staff have the knowledge and language to talk about mental health and well-being.
- Make sure opportunities for pupil voices are heard and that outcomes are visible and valued within the school and the wider community.
- Focus on building positive relationships across the school. Factor in time for staff to talk to pupils and for pupils to feel that they are listened to.
- Support staff well-being so that staff can model open and supportive behaviours for pupils.
Finding the Right Words
- Make sure staff and students have the vocabulary to talk about mental health. PHSE lessons can be a good place to start work on this.
- Help staff and pupils to talk openly about mental health and encourage them to challenge negative language and stereotypes.
Health and Education Working Together
- Clearly define procedures for passing on concerns and for referrals to specialist services.
- Through training and support, help staff recognise signs and symptoms of mental ill health and to know when to refer a pupil on to more specialist services.
Updated (Sept 2021) guidance from the DFE on Promoting children and young people's emotional health and wellbeing.
A whole school framework for emotional well-being and mental health
A self-assessment and improvement tool for school leaders (National Children’s Bureau) 2016
Make it Count: Guide for Teachers
A guide for Teachers (Mental Health Foundation 2018)
What works in promoting social and emotional wellbeing and responding to mental health problems in schools?
Advice for Schools and Framework Document Katherine Weare/ National Children’s Bureau
Developing a whole organisational approach
Introduction to the case study practice illustrations. DfE developing a whole organisational approach (2017)
Guidance for School Leaders
Targeted Mental Health in Schools Project: Using the evidence to inform your approach: a practical guide for head teachers and commissioners.
An informative report, which provides information on different school-based interventions including aims, guiding theory and target audience.
RSA Schools Project: A whole school Approach to Mental Health
Discussion and reflection on the RSA family of schools Whole School Approach to Mental Health.
RSA Evaluation Report
A whole-school approach to mental health