Leadership and management

Confident and knowledgeable leaders are key to embedding a whole school approach to mental health and emotional wellbeing, to ensure that the whole school community can thrive.

"Research has shown that schools’ delivery of mental health and emotional wellbeing (MHEW) support is more successful when leadership and management are supportive and involved"

Cladwell et al., 2019

Thriving: What a setting can do to support pupils to thrive

  • Schools should set up strong leadership for their MHEW provision. This should be through an involved and committed senior leadership team (SLT), a named senior mental health lead (SMHL), and a lead governor.

    SLT will:

    • take a proactive approach to MHEW within the school and understand that embedding a whole-school approach is a process of change management
    • ensure that there is a whole school MHEW policy, which is reviewed regularly and is integrated within the school’s behaviour policy
    • feel confident in tackling stigma and model positive attitudes and behaviours when it comes to protecting their own MHEW and that of others.
  • The SMHL will: 

    • have a clear job description
    • be a member of the senior leadership team, or be someone who has the authority, capacity and support to influence and lead strategic change within the setting (DfE 2021)
    • use a recognised audit tool to plan and monitor their work (see Identifying Need and Monitoring Impact section)
    • have accessed one of the DfE’s quality assured training courses for mental health leads
    • have a clear presence in the school and be known to staff, pupils, and parents
    • have an excellent knowledge of resources available to support pupils, families and staff.
  • The governing body will:

    • have a named wellbeing governor who champions MHEW from a strategic perspective and has undertaken the West Sussex Lead Governor training for wellbeing
    • ensure that they are up-to-date with DfE guidelines and practice in terms of staff wellbeing
    • ensure that they hold themselves and senior leaders accountable for any aspects of the school improvement plan, policies and practices that pertain to wellbeing
    • ask questions about wellbeing in the school and challenge where there are concerns
    • uphold their duty of care to the headteacher.
    • have a good overview of wellbeing provision in the school and help to monitor the provision to ensure it is fit for purpose
    • ensure that school wellbeing policies are written and up-to-date and reflect the context of the school.

Getting advice and help: Leadership and management

"The adoption of a whole school approach to emotional wellbeing and mental health can helpfully be seen as a change management process, and the challenges of undertaking such work should not be under-estimated"