Who is eligible for DfE assured training?

There’s £1200 of government funding available for every eligible school to train mental health leads. The grant is only available for assured courses on the provider list given by the DfE. Eligible schools are state schools in England who’ve made a commitment to develop school mental health and wellbeing and have a appointed a SMHL.

A senior mental health lead ideally will be a senior leader – they are responsible for developing and leading strategy for whole school mental health and wellbeing.

You may be in the process of applying for the SMHL Training and are now not sure which course to choose. There are around 120 courses so it can be a bit of a mine feild.

Tips for choosing a training course as a senior mental health lead

There are quite a lot of options for choosing courses. There’s so much information out there it can be hard to know where to start. With funding available and many providers to choose from it’s not easy to know which course to choose.

Think about how much support you need based on how much training and experience you already have – are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced in supporting wellbeing and mental health of children and young people?

Always choose a course which has been assured by the DfE (for quality assurance and to access the government funding). Every single quality-assured course must have met the eight principles for senior mental health leads. Are you looking for a course which covers all these areas or, if you already have the basics, are you looking for in-depth training in one area?

Look at the learning outcomes for the senior mental health lead and think about which one you want to work on first and that will help you narrow down your course choice.

Comments from a senior mental health lead thinking about which course to choose:

From a personal point of view, I feel like I do have quite a bit of knowledge, and I'm passionate about it [mental health and wellbeing]. But in terms of leading a whole school approach, and that leadership and that strategy, I feel like I am going to need help. So, for me, it's about trying to find a programme that is going to really hold my hand and walk me through this.”

Consider which approach suits you and your school or college the most

 You might want to choose a local course if you prefer face to face training, or a national online provision might suit you better if you want to learn in bite size chunks. If you prefer to be trained face to face, do you have capacity to take time out for this, or would it be better to purchase training you can dip in and out of whenever you need it? Thinking about your preferred learning style will help you narrow down your course choice.

What approach suits your school and setting and you, as SMHL, the most? Think about how much experience working with schools the provider has and whether there’s an opportunity to work with other schools and share learning.

How does mental health and wellbeing fit within your school values? Are you looking at mental health as a whole school approach to wellbeing? Is the course going to help you get buy in from your colleagues?

Senior mental health leads, thinking about which course to choose, share their thoughts with Worth-it:

“Anxiety is the biggest thing [in relation to mental health] in our school and, as a high school, that is what we are faced with the most, so I think that's an area I'd have to focus on initially and train staff.”


“What I'd like to be thinking about now is how do I create a stable team of people who can be trained collectively and can be there as those [mental health] champions for the students. One of the things I was talking to our SLT about was, perhaps that's part of a form tutor role because they are the people who see these kids all at a time, maybe it's training for the form tutors to be their champions, and then create a system in school where they could do referrals, identification, and that kind of comes back to me. I would monitor, quality assure the overseeing so that's kind of how I'm seeing it. It’s just, where do I start? How do I get these people on board?”

Buy-in from your colleagues is crucial. 70% of change fails because the leadership team are not on board. That's why our Wellbeing Club programme supports and trains SMHLs to gain buy-in and support from their SLT and other colleagues and ensure wellbeing is everyone's business.

What do you get from the training provider?

What else is on offer from your course and how does it fit in with what your school needs? Is there an underpinning framework or a simple model that you can see will fit in with your school? What do you want to be left with the end of the course – are resources and continued support provided to help you take the learning into your school and embed a whole school approach to mental health?

We base everything we do in Wellbeing Club on our whole school approach to developing positive mental health and wellbeing. Watch this video to find out more.

When you become a member of Wellbeing Club , Worth-it’s DfE assured training for SMHLs, you get courses, resources, curriculum toolkits, support, and examples. You also get a progress log, which is your coaching log.

Every month we deliver a CPD workshop which Wellbeing Club members get priority access to. We offer a refund policy – 14-day money back guarantee– for Wellbeing Club membership, as reassurance for those people who still aren’t quite sure they’re making the right choice.

Being part of a community of mental health leads

It can feel quite lonely and isolating in the role of SMHL, especially if you're trying to lead change. At Worth-it we have a free Facebook community where ideas, experiences and challenges are shared, and questions are answered by our experts. You’re welcome to join us anytime. Find out how you can access £1200 of funding from the DfE by joining our free funding information session.

Quick Questions to help you Choose a Senior Mental Health Lead Course

Summary of tips to choose the right Senior Mental Health Lead course for you

  1. How much time will it take?
  2. Where is the training held?
  3. What else do you get with the Senior Mental Health Lead training?
  4. Does the training provider specialise in an approach and does that suit you or your school?

If you’d like to know more about the Wellbeing Club and whether it's the right training for you and your school, watch our YouTube Video or follow this link to find our more and join.

Article Author(s)

You May Also Be Interested In

Autistic boy studying a water and light science experiment in school


April 18, 2024

How can a culture of wellbeing support autistic pupils?

How can schools and colleges develop their ethos and culture of wellbeing to be more inclusive for pupils and students with autism.

Read Now
student talking to wellbeing officer in school wellbeing hub


April 18, 2024

Wellbeing Hub: Supporting Mental Health in Schools

Wellbeing Hubs in secondary schools provide a fantastic opportunity to proactively support student mental health and wellbeing needs.

Read Now