School Mental Health Award

The Department for Education recognises the direct link between positive mental health in schools and successful educational outcomes; the Mental Health Award for Schools builds on this link and provides a framework for educational institutions to evidence policies and initiatives that work towards improving emotional health and wellbeing for both staff and pupils.

Taking a 'whole-school' approach to mental health

Covering 8 key competencies each with a series of statements that schools will work to embed. Here are some examples set against key competencies of the award.
Senior Leaders develop and implement the strategies and structures needed to improve mental health in the school
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Leaders regularly consult with employees from across the school to gain informal and formal feedback about wellbeing
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Mental health awareness is embedded in the curriculum and is designed to meet the needs of the pupils specific to their social and emotional needs and developmental age
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A comprehensive staff health and wellness offering supports staff mental health
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Pupils feel their worries and concerns are heard, respected and taken seriously by staff
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Staff CPD is aligned to expected, clearly defined, competencies which set out the mental health requirements for their role
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The school provides learning, guidance and support for parents to help them understand children and young people’s mental health and its impact on their behaviour and learning
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The school has developed strong links with CAMHS and other agencies ensuring regular two-way communication, support and guidance
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Curious? Read why you should attain the award

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Creates a culture of an awareness of mental health, tolerance and acceptance, helping to reduce behavioural problems and promotes positive mental health strategies
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Improves community wellbeing for all
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An opportunity for the school to identify its own priorities and areas for development using the framework
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Addresses all mental health needs of your community. Pupils, staff and parents!
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Increases staff retention rates meaning continuity of care and attract high calibre staff
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Demonstrates commitment to adhere to and exceed professional and government guidance. Allows specific professional development opportunities for all levels of staff whether house-based or as part of a whole school team

Hear what benefits this has brought to hundreds of other schools

"The biggest impact of the award was having the recognition and validation of all the work we have done for many years around mental health"
"It has raised the profile of Mental Health and Wellbeing for the whole school community providing a platform for discussion and debate whilst promoting the creation of effective policies and procedures"
"Bringing together the whole community to learn about mental health - it felt like we were working together as a team"
"Having the detailed and focused structure of the award helped formulate and drive our whole school improvement priorities which impacted on provision for all"
"It placed mental health on every agenda. It enabled further training to be delivered to pupils and staff."
"It highlighted how we can improve our mental health provision and provide training for parents and other professionals"
"It has raised staff, pupil and governance awareness of mental health and how this can impact on each person. It has eliminated stigma associated with mental health."
"Working towards mental health award was helpful to bring the conversations between staff and students out into the open. Time to reflect on our offer, how we communicated that to staff / students / parents and partners was also helpful."
"It made us value emotional well being and caring for one another more than just academic success"
Read more

How to achieve the award in 6 steps

1. Diagnose

Key steps

  • School lead co-ordinates initial self-evaluation using the online or excel diagnostic tool
  • School reflects on coaching questions arising from diagnostic tool to plan for action
  • Key groups and people contribute to action plan of eight competencies
  • Outline planning for development on the 5Es continuum for all competencies begins

Month 1

2. Plan

Key steps

  • School reviews starting point using KPI statements of the eight competencies
  • Detailed planning against all competencies is drafted
  • Preparation for assessor initial coaching conversation is completed and emailed to the assessor
  • School requests initial coaching conversation

Month 1

3. Coach

Key steps

  • Assessor initial coaching conversation based on school self-diagnosis and shared contextual information takes place
  • Target level of award (Bronze, Silver, Gold) discussed, assessor verifies current position on continuum
  • Programmes for MH development and pastoral leadership discussed and commissioned through the Centre of Excellence
  • Mid-process assessor review conversation date is calendared. Completion window is planned

Month 1 or 2

4. Develop

Key steps

  • School implements action plan and develops its mental health profile with all stakeholders fully engaged
  • Mid-process assessor review - progress to date and further actions required are reviewed. Completion window is agreed
  • Evidence is gathered set against the eight competencies KPI statements in preparation for completion assessor conversation
  • School requests final assessor conversation

Months 2-11 (mid-process review in month 6)

5. Assess

Key steps

  • School completes all documentation as required in preparation for final verification and sends to the assessor
  • Assessor leads coaching final review conversation and probes evidence of progress along the 5Es continuum
  • Assessor reviews evidence presented for Bronze, Silver or Gold Award
  • Assessor makes recommendation of level of award to the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health

Month 12

6. Achieve

Key steps

  • Award level announced. Plaque and MH Award logo presented to your school at award ceremony or posted to your school
  • Excelling practice case studies shared on Centre of Excellence website
  • School continues to develop its practice
  • School re-applies for assessment within three years

Month 12 (Some schools may complete in faster timeframe)

Thinking about this for your school? Get in touch with our team to find out how you can.

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