How do you access the DfE grant funding for SMHL Training?

The DfE allocated funding to over 8400 schools between September, 21 and January, 22 with a total funding pot of over £9million.

In May 2022 they opened up a two further rounds and a further £10million grant funding per finical year for schools or colleges that want to start their SMHL training before the end of March 2024. Schools are able to choose and book courses and claim their grants before the end of March 2024.

In October 2023 the DfE announced that Schools that had already had a grant to train a SMHL but the named SMHL had since left are eligible to apply for a second grant to train a new SMHL to implement an action plan for school mental health.

The funding is NOW OPEN. You can apply for your SMHL course grant funding here. Providing you meet eligibility criteria (stipulated by the DfE) you will be guaranteed the ability to claim back £1,200 to cover the costs of the course and support the lead. You can now confirm your eligibility and apply for a grant for the 23-24 financial year by completing this form.

What is the DfE training grant application process?

The application process has a few key steps to take. Firstly you will need to apply for the grant, and then gain confirmation that you have been approved to have a grant.

Secondly, choose the course you would like to do for example book your place on our SMHL Wellbeing Pathway inside Wellbeing Club. You may choose the course you want to do before applying for the grant funding, but you will have to have booked a course to claim the grant money from the DfE.

You then need to complete a second stage application when requested by the DfE, at this point you submit evidence of booking and you will be able to claim your money back.

Download our FREE funding information session to find out even more.

How to apply for the DfE Senior Mental Health Lead Training Grant
How to apply for the SMHL Training Grant

What's the eligibility criteria for the DfE training grant for Senior Mental Health Leads?

Only state schools in England will be eligible to access the DfE funding: it does not apply to independent schools. Independent schools are welcome to also train senior mental health leads and book on the courses of their choice, however, they will not be able to claim a DfE grant to be able to cover the costs.

Most importantly your school must also have made a commitment to prioritising mental health and developing a whole-school approach. This can be left up to interpretation as it can be subjective as to what 'making a commitment' means. We would suggest 'commitment' means giving the mental health lead time to not only attend training but also work on their whole school strategy which can take time. Putting mental health on your school improvement or action plans, taking steps to make mental health and wellbeing core business in your school and prioritising staff as well as pupils' mental health and wellbeing.

From October 2023 schools that have previously applied for a SMHL training grant and the trained lead has left without implementing the action plan for mental health can now apply for a second SMHL training grant for the school, to train another SMHL.

Who should be the Mental Health Lead?

The grant criteria also requires you to appoint a member of your school staff to become the Senior Mental health lead, they can be a beginner or be new in the post. if you want to learn more about the role of a SMHL we have provided this in-depth guide. They will be named as the main contact for your grant funding. If this person changes you may need to notify the DfE to maintain your funding. It would also be helpful to develop a job description for a SMHL to clarify the responsibilities and duties the SMHL will undertake and help you to appoint the right person for your school.

Also consider when making your application that only School Mental Health leads who are SLT, or Mental Health Leads who work closely with SLT to develop and influence whole-school wellbeing and mental health at a strategic level, will be eligible to get their place on a course funded by the DfE grant.

Find out more about the DfE grant SMHL grant funding eligibility criteria.

These may be unexpected decisions you didn't think you needed to make, but doing them in advance of gaining your grant funding may make your choice, of training course, easier and the implementation of the SMHL role more successful in the long run.

This video explains the big decisions required when applying for the DfE funding. Spend are sometimes thinking these through with your SLT and your whole school approach is much more likely to make an impact on children and young people's mental health

Not sure which SMHL training course to book?

Once your grant is approved Senior Mental Health Leads can go ahead and book their chosen course directly with the relevant training provider. You may be struggling to choose the right SMHL course for you. However, you will have needed to have chosen and booked your course directly with the training provider (and gained the course code and evidence iof booking) before you can claim back your funding.

If you need help choosing a course you may find this SMHL course selection video helpful. This will help you navigate the courses available on the DfE quality-assured list and select the one that most closely meets your needs. Obviously, we would like you to choose our SMHL Pathway inside Wellbeing Club.

Claiming back the SMHL grant funding

To claim the grant funding you will need to complete a second stage grant form to make the claim and when requested from the DfE submit your evidence of course booking and your course code. Once this is received the DfE will pay you the funding either directly to your school or via the local authority.  It is an expectation from the DfE that schools pay for the courses upfront when they book and then the money is paid either directly to the school or through the local authority to reimburse these costs.

The DfE grant is £1200 while most courses cost £800 (ours start at £795+VAT). This means schools get to keep the remaining funding to spend on further training, support or resources to help the mental health lead develop mental health and wellbeing in their school or college. By joining our Wellbeing Club programme you gain access to a years worth of ongoing CPD, support and resources to help you as you start to implement and embed your plans for developing school mental health and wellbeing.

Download our FREE funding information session to find out more about the funding process.

Introducing Wellbeing Club our DfE assured course

Worth-it are delighted and proud that our Wellbeing Club (SMHL033) has been quality assured as a provider of training for Senior Mental Health Leads. However, rather than being only one course, our programme for mental health leads, provides a year of access to courses, ongoing CPD workshops, resources and examples that support you to develop whole school mental health and wellbeing in bitesize chunks when you need it!

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SMHL Wellbeing Club

Our approach to working with schools and colleges recognises the complexities of each aspect or element involved in developing mental health and wellbeing. We apply a systems approach to supporting schools and colleges develop wellbeing and positive mental health. This has been created from the 8 principles and integrated with applied positive psychology strategies, proven to develop the wellbeing and protect the mental health of children and young people.

Want to join Wellbeing Club?

That is fantastic, we can't wait for you to join us in our supportive and helpful Wellbeing Club.

Click here find out more. We hope you can join us soon!


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