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Senior Mental Health Lead Training
Government funding available


Senior Mental Health Lead TrainingSenior Mental Health Lead Training

The DfE have created a new quality criteria for Senior Mental Health Lead training courses, and these criteria help define this important senior role in schools. While many schools and colleges already have a mental health lead, the knowledge and skills they have vary, and with mental health and wellbeing a top priority for all educational settings, the goal is to provide senior leads with the latest thinking and access to a network of peers and experts they need to lead change and develop or introduce a whole-school approach to wellbeing and mental health.



What SMHL training courses are available through Real Training?

With Real Training your school has a choice of an introductory Certificate course and an Advanced Award in Senior Mental Health Leadership which have both been successfully quality assured through a robust DfE process.

These courses can be fully or partially funded for state schools and colleges in England by a DfE grant:

Please visit the individual course pages for information on course delivery, eligibility, costs, cohort start dates and information on applying for DfE funding.

Looking for a short online SEMH course for your staff? You may be interested in our Level 5 Emotionally Connected Classroom course offered by our sister company Dyslexia Action. The course offers high-quality CPD, is delivered online, requires 30 hours of study over a seven week period and runs four times a year. Please note DfE funding cannot be used for the cost of this course.

Who within my setting should consider these courses?

Your setting can decide who it is that gets the training as individual circumstances may vary. Delegates must be empowered to develop and oversee your setting’s whole school or college approach. This might include:

  • Headteachers
  • Deputy/assistant headteachers
  • Member of the senior leadership team
  • Existing mental health leads with authority, capacity and support to influence and lead strategic change within the setting

The Certificate course is a comprehensive introductory course and the Advanced Award is for more experienced Senior Mental Health leads.

Are these courses available to non-UK based or non-state schools?

It is important to note that these courses are as relevant to international and non-state school settings as they are to state schools. Supporting well-being and mental health are increasingly important topics for all schools and we are sure that all school leaders are going to want to learn about this new standard and new important senior leadership role that has been created by the Department of Education in association with Public Health England. Having now designed these approved courses we believe international schools will find the principles and practice will translate well across boundaries and cultures. The courses also include personal tutoring to support the design an improvement plan that is relevant to your school. Our tutors also have experience of working in and with international schools.

Please note, the DfE grant for these courses is NOT available to non-state or non-UK based settings. However, non-funded places are available on every cohort.

Why choose Real Training for an SMHL course?

At Real Training, our Educational Psychologists have a long history of providing training (in-person and online) for education staff development. With extensive experience in the field of mental health and wellbeing, you will be guided by HCPC registered and qualified Educational Psychologists. Our courses are also supported by an executive headteacher with a specialism in wellbeing, as well as mental health professionals such as an Art Therapist.

Who is eligible for the DfE grant and how do I apply?

The Department for Education (DfE) is offering a grant of £1,200 for eligible state-funded schools and colleges in England to train a senior mental health lead to develop and implement a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing. Eligible schools and colleges can apply for a senior mental health lead training grant and begin training on or before 31 March 2024. The latest information about grant funding is available here.

Should you meet the eligibility criteria, the DfE has confirmed that the grant funding is available for up to £1,200 per setting to cover training for one senior leader in the school. To find out if you meet these criteria, please visit this page for our guide to applying to the DfE for grant funding.

In order to apply for funding, the DfE has said you must book the course with your chosen provider first, and then apply for the grant by visiting this page and following the links to the online form.

To be eligible for this funding, you must commence your course by March 2024 at the latest. At Real Training, we believe that learning should be practice-led and completed over a longer period to ensure long-term retention and maximum impact. Therefore, with us, you can take up to 6 months to complete our Senior Mental Health Leadership Certificate and up to 12 months to complete our Senior Mental Health Leadership Advanced Award and you will be making a difference in your setting straight away. We are happy to confirm that the DfE has approved these course durations.