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Senior Mental Health Lead Training
Government funding available


Two school leaders discuss senior mental health lead trainingSenior Mental Health Lead Training

The DfE has 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 will vary.
Mental health and wellbeing is now a top priority for all educational settings. The goal is to provide the senior mental health lead with the latest thinking and access to a network of peers and experts they need to lead change and develop a whole-school approach to mental health.


Latest Update on Government Funding

The Department for Education (DfE) have announced an extension to the date that school leaders are permitted to commence a funded senior mental health lead course. They must now claim their funding and start their training by 31 March 2025.

There are also second grants available for eligible settings who have used their funding, but whose Senior Mental Health Lead has left.

What Senior Mental Health Lead 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.

Who should consider Senior Mental Health Lead training?

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 important topics for all schools. Having designed these approved courses we believe international schools will find the principles and practice translate well across 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 a Senior Mental Health Lead 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 must apply for a senior mental health lead training grant and begin training on or before 31 March 2025. Take a look at their website for the latest information about grant funding.

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.

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 six months to complete our Senior Mental Health Leadership Certificate and up to 12 months to complete our Senior Mental Health Leadership Advanced Award. You will, however, be making a difference in your setting straight away. We are happy to confirm that the DfE has approved these course durations.


Our Delegates on the Benefits of Senior Mental Health Lead Training 

school children smiling conveying positive wellbeing  
The real benefit is that the course fitted in exactly around what we needed to do in school. After studying, I developed a training package for staff around trauma and was able to give this to staff to support individual pupils. I was able to think more widely around mental health and how to support parents and staff as well as children.”

Andrew Chadwick, Headteacher  – read his full review of our Advanced Award.

This course has given me an understanding of how to move the whole school policy forward. I found it detailed and accessible with excellent resources and an encouraging tutor. My advice to anyone who is thinking about doing senior mental health lead training with Real Training would be to do it!”

Catherine Murphy, Deputy Headteacher – Certificate course.


How long does Senior Mental Health Lead Training take to complete?

Our senior mental health lead courses are practice-led, so your setting can start benefitting straight away. We have designed the courses to be as thorough as possible and the durations are as follows:

  • Senior Mental Health Leadership Certificate: Up to six months
  • Senior Mental Health Leadership Advanced Award: Up to twelve months