An Interview with Penny Earl

Penny Earl – Senior Mental Health Leadership Certificate

Penny is currently working as a Resourced Provision Manager for children with Speech, Language, and Communication Needs (SCLN). She works in a primary school in Hampshire. Penny recently completed our Senior Mental Health Leadership Certificate and has shared her experience with us.

How has the course helped make an impact at school? 

It has raised the profile of mental health with the Senior Leadership Team – so they now see it as something significant to be put on our school improvement agenda and understand how it is important within the OFSTED framework. It has also provided resources and links to resources that will be useful for future development around mental health. Lastly, it has given insight into the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) implementation framework which can be used across the school when implementing change in order to ensure that this is done with the greatest likelihood of success

What made you choose the Real Training course over other options?

I googled providers approved by the government funding scheme. I picked Real Training because the summary and details of the course were the clearest

What was your experience of learning with Real Training? 

The remote training days were well planned and delivered by trainers who were, I felt, responsive and empathetic towards the students. They adjusted the pace and content to our needs and presented the content clearly. I dislike remote training and my views on this haven’t changed as a result of this course. However, the technology worked well and I felt some features of the platform were helpful in encouraging interaction e.g. during break-out sessions. There was also the advantage of making links with people I might not have met if it had been face-to-face local training.

The virtual learning environment was clearly set out and easy to manage and the ability to ‘tick off’ sections and see how I was progressing through the course was quite motivating for me. I also found the breakdown about how to pace the course very useful. There were lots of excellent resources which I have saved for future use. However, I really felt I needed the course to be spread over a longer period of time in order to get the best out of the resources. I am in a privileged position in that I work full time, have no class, set my own timetable and have a fair amount of related back experience meaning that I could skim some of the reading content being already familiar with it. I had to be very organised and disciplined to get through it and meet the criteria required for the assessed piece. 

Lastly, what are the top 3 things you are looking to do within your setting, since completing the course?

  • I want to ensure mental health gets the status it needs within my school and that it is recognised as a necessary driver to school improvement by our Senior leadership team
  • I want to implement my plan around staff wellbeing and mental health
  • I want to establish the link between my role as SMHL and the Mental Health Support Team that is just establishing in our area

What do you think?


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