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An interview with Kara Satterley – Senior Mental Health Leadership Certificate

A headshot of KaraKara Satterley is Deputy Headteacher and Senior Mental Health Lead at Blean Primary School, an OFSTED outstanding school based in Canterbury. She has recently completed her senior mental health leadership certificate with Real Training and shared her experience of SMHL training and how it has made a difference in her school.

What made you choose the Real Training senior mental health lead course over other options?

The online approach with live sessions, the quality of tutoring, and the time to put actions into place and learn as you go along were the main things that attracted me to this course. The fact that everything could be completed online supported both my leadership commitments and my work-life balance.

What was your experience of learning with Real Training?

My experience was excellent. Communication was strong from the get-go and staff were really supportive, particularly when I needed to move cohorts. The training was thorough, relevant and detailed and my tutor was incredibly knowledgeable and supportive. I also really enjoyed the live sessions; it was so helpful to discuss things with other delegates and learn from others. The online approach provided the flexibility required for me to manage my other leadership roles in school, whilst being able to develop my skills as a new SMHL. The pacing between sessions was helpful, as this enabled time to put actions into place and then reflect and share findings with other delegates.

How has the SMHL course helped make an impact at school?

The course helped to embed the SMHL role in school, with the output being a clear action plan to support pupils. This has fed into our whole-school plan for this year. Mental health and wellbeing is at the forefront of all we do and underpins so many of our other changes at school.
We have recently achieved the WAS award (Wellbeing Award for Schools) and completing the course went a long way to help us change our practice, strengthen our whole-school approach and gather the evidence required to put together a successful submission.

How has the course helped develop you as an educational professional and what do you hope to achieve with your new knowledge/skills in the future?

I feel more confident leading mental health and wellbeing at school at a strategic level. Decisions have informed the school plan and are underpinned by research. We have formed a team with distinct roles and responsibilities to support mental health and wellbeing across the school to support our staff, pupils and families.

Lastly, what are the top three things you were looking to do within your setting, since completing senior mental health lead training? 

  • Achieve wellbeing award (WAS award)
  • Form a team to support mental health and wellbeing to support pupils, staff and families
  • Use knowledge to have dedicated sections of the school plan to ensure strategic change linked to improving mental health and wellbeing

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