Senior Mental Health Lead Training from the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools

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The idea of a Senior Mental Health Lead for schools was first mooted in a 2017 green paper. The stated aspiration was for every school and college to have a Designated Mental Health Lead by 2025.  That was before the pandemic, which has only intensified the need for a lead in schools with strategic oversight and knowledge around Mental Health. This term sees the first of three rounds of funding, enabling schools and colleges to access a pot of around £1,200 for training and staff cover.

The Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools (CCEMHiS), at Leeds Beckett University has seized this opportunity to offer a suite of 6 courses, tailored for different levels. Since its founding in 2017, CCEMHiS has worked with over 2,000 schools to develop their mental health provision, through a range of professional opportunities including the Mental Health Award. The centre works in partnership with the charity Minds Ahead, focused on evidence based solutions which address schools’, pupils and parents/carers needs.

You can read more in depth about each of the options on the centre’s website, but here is a brief summary of what is available:

These shorter courses run from November 2021 to February 2022. Each one offers participants the tools and skills to make impactful, sustainable changes in their setting. They are delivered via blended learning which includes:

  • online live learning
  • online forum discussions
  • online learning
  • individual and group coaching from an experienced school leader
  • personalised audit planning
  • access to a face to face conference (held regionally)
Course LevelCourse TitleCourse Content
BEGINNER Establishing a whole school approach to mental health This course is designed for those fairly new to the role, or looking to re-establish their current approach.  

INTERMEDIATE  Developing an in-depth whole school approach to mental healthThis course is for Senior Mental HealthLeads who are looking to further develop the school mental health support offered. 

ADVANCED  Embedding a Strategic Approach as Senior Mental Health Lead  This course addresses the needs of established Senior Mental Health Leads, looking to shape change in their setting and in the local area, drawing on the latest thinking.


Aside from these three courses, the centre also offers 3 options in Expert and System Leadership, which can be partially funded using the Senior Mental health lead training grant.

The School Mental Health Specialist is a two year, part-time, school-based course leading to a post graduate diploma. It is open for applications now.

Next academic year, a Postgraduate Certificate in the Leadership of School Mental Health and Wellbeing, and an MA in the Postgraduate Certificate in the Leadership of School Mental Health and Wellbeing will both be eligible for part funding through the DFE training grant.

Health training from all accredited providers, based on your circumstances. It can be accessed here. You can also use the DFE’s own pdf of providers, or check out our page.


‘Having supported individual schools, clusters, LAs, MATs and Teaching School Alliances/Hubs over the past 4 years, we are delighted that our courses have been approved by the DfE to be on their training course framework for Senior Mental Health Lead training. Our courses have been developed to support the SMHL to be able to apply their learning back in to their settings and we look forward to creating a sustainable programme for schools’.

Rachel Bostwick, Senior Partnership and Enterprise Consultant, Carnegie School of Education.

Disclaimer: I am a mentor for the Centre, on the Governance Training Module. I am not involved in any of these courses.