Senior Mental Health Lead training: Enhanced support for colleagues and parents

23rd April 2024 | Blogs | Case Studies

England Lane Academy in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, is one of 58 academies that make up Delta Academies Trust. The academy supports children aged 3 to 11 and strives to provide a positive, calm and caring environment where everyone works together to ensure the best possible outcomes for all pupils.

When the academy’s designated Senior Mental Health Lead (SMHL) left the organisation in October 2023, Lead Thrive Practitioner, Jo Simons, identified a gap in mental health and wellbeing support for the staff and parents in the school community. Seizing the opportunity to upskill, Jo was able to access a grant from the Department for Education to fund the training she needed to fill the gap.


Why choose Thrive?

England Lane introduced Thrive in 2020, with Jo completing Thrive Licensed Practitioner training in the same year.

When asked why she chose Thrive’s SMHL course, Jo said: “I have been a qualified Thrive Licensed Practitioner for over 4 years and have witnessed the positive impact that the Thrive Approach has had on the academy, due to a whole school embracement. I wanted to maintain consistency with my practice whilst ensuring I was receiving the best possible opportunity to upskill in this area. Thrive allows me to do this. I’ve also attended many of Thrive’s CPD sessions and have really enjoyed the chance to connect with other professionals and share best practice.”

As part of the government’s commitment to offer SMHL training to all eligible schools and colleges in England by 2025, the Department for Education is offering a £1,200 grant to cover the cost of training one member of staff. Second grants are also available for settings if the SMHL they previously trained left before embedding a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing.


Jo Simon's feedback on Thrive's Senior Mental Health Lead training

Making mental health a priority

Describing the biggest difference the course has made, Jo said: “The course provided me with the resources to effectively assess our mental health provision. It highlighted the positives that we have in place and the gaps that needed addressing. By highlighting these gaps, I’ve been able to work with our headship team to include mental health in our academy improvement plan and ensure our mental health offer is a strong priority for all stakeholders.”


Enhanced support for colleagues and parents

Since completing the SMHL course in February 2024, Jo hasn’t wasted any time in putting the training into action. Eager to improve support for colleagues, Jo has created an area full of resources on mental health and wellbeing, where staff can find advice and information on the support available to them, both in school and from external organisations.

Jo is also working alongside the academy’s SENDCo to organise a coffee morning for parents. This informal event will give families an opportunity to discuss any worries or concerns they may have and find out about the services on offer in the local area.


On the fence about booking Thrive’s SMHL training?

Reflecting on the course, Jo said: “Thrive’s Senior Mental Health Lead training provided me with the knowledge and resources to be able to effectively assess our mental health provision for all stakeholders, locate necessary support and/or services, and provide the relevant help to ensure everyone’s mental health is fully supported."

“It allowed me to share best practice, help others and learn from them too. The training was hosted by professionals who effectively maintained a safe space for all attendees and allowed us to learn at our own pace.”


Join the 15,000+ schools tapping into funded training

If you’ve been inspired by Jo’s story, and are ready to start or enhance your whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing, book your place on Thrive training today.

You're highly likely to be accepted for DfE funding if you’re a state school or college in England that hasn’t already accessed the grant, and you have a commitment from the senior leadership team to develop a whole school approach. (Second grants are also available if the person you previously trained has left your setting.)

Learn more and apply for funding 


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