Audit Your School and College Mental Health Provision

Working with LEHSS can help your school or college develop and then assess and audit your whole school’s approach to promoting mental health and wellbeing. A “whole school approach” is summarised in the document from the DfE.

This describes a framework of eight principles to be adopted by schools and colleges:

Frame 2

All Lancashire schools and colleges will have access to the LEHSS Whole School Approaches Audit Tool which can help you plan the development of your whole school approach as a setting.
Use the drop-down tabs below to find out more information on each of these principles. We have shared some tips for good practice in each area and some links where you can get resources to support your work.
We have also included references to the Ofsted Inspection Framework where relevant if you wish to use the material in your audit to support your evidence.

Leadership and Management

Key question: How is your school or college providing visible senior leadership for mental health and wellbeing?


Good Practice Tips

  • The senior leadership team champions efforts to promote mental health and well-being to ensure changes are accepted and embedded.
  •  A named member of the senior leadership team responsible for emotional health and wellbeing, as well as champions who will promote mental health and wellbeing across the organisation.
  •  A senior mental health lead is the strategic lead for implementing a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing within the setting.
  •  The senior mental health lead links school or college to mental health service providers and specialist provision.
  • A governor with knowledge and understanding of mental health and wellbeing issues, in order to help champion organisation-wide practices.
  • Referencing a commitment to addressing and promoting good mental health and well-being within improvement plans, policies and key documents, and reflecting these plans through practice.
  • Involving pupils and students, staff and parents and carers in developing and reviewing policies so that they are responsive to the needs of the school or college community.


Links and Resources

Mentally Healthy Schools Whole School Approach
Young Minds Whole School Approaches Resources
5 Steps Framework from the Anna Freud Centre
Governors for Schools Pupil Mental Health and Wellbeing Resources


Ofsted Inspection Framework

Quality of leadership in, and management of the school. Schools have to demonstrate how effectively management and leadership enable all pupils to overcome specific barriers to learning and the extent to which leaders and managers create a positive ethos in the school. The framework also specifies that schools should demonstrate a capacity for further improvement, e.g. by working in partnership with other schools, early years providers, external agencies and the community; as well as by engaging with parents.

Ethos and Environment

The physical, social and emotional environment in which staff, pupils and students spend a high proportion of every weekday has been shown to affect their physical, emotional and mental health and well-being as well as impacting their attainment and behaviour.


Key question: How does the school or college’s culture promote respect, inclusivity and value diversity?


Good Practice Tips

  • Clear guidance was given by the senior leadership team on how staff can create and maintain a positive physical, social and emotional environment, which is reflected in policies and key documents.
  • Use the DfE ‘Respectful School Communities’ tool to support the development of a whole school approach that promotes a culture of respect.
  • Taking a trauma-informed approach can help to create a safe environment for those who have experienced trauma and adverse experiences. Access local training and support to help understand and implement a trauma-informed approach.
  •  Relationships between staff and pupils, and between students, are critical in promoting wellbeing and in helping to engender a sense of belonging to and liking of school or college. Find out more about ‘Relational Approaches’ in schools and how these ideas can be implemented in your setting.


Links and Resources

Information on Mental Health Awareness Days

Example School Wellbeing Policy (Liverpool Schools)

Guidance for Developing Relational Practice  and Policy (Devon County Council)

Developing an Attachment Aware Approach to Inclusion (Bristol County Council)

Understanding Behaviour in Schools: a Relationship-based Approach (Nottinghamshire County Council).

Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

School and college-based programmes of social and emotional learning have the potential to help young people acquire the skills they need to make good academic progress as well as benefit pupil health and wellbeing.


Key question: What focus is given within the curriculum to social and emotional learning and promoting personal resilience, and how is learning assessed?


Good Practice Tips

  • Opportunities exist to develop and promote social and emotional skills through a dedicated Personal Social Health and Economic education (PSHE) curriculum – including statutory content regarding Relationships Education (RE) Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education.
  •  Use resources from the PHSE Association, which provides guidance and resources for teaching about mental health and wellbeing.
  •  Recognise when other parts of the wider curriculum can complement PSHE such as physical education, the arts, and citizenship.
  •  Explore what other teaching and extra-curricular resources are available locally from external services or the Local Authority.
  • Pupils are more likely to engage in lessons that focus on emotional well-being if they are of practical application and relevant to them.
  • Recognise periods during the academic year when there might be a need for a specific curricular focus around emotional health and well-being, e.g. coping with transition or coping with the pressures of exams. There may also be times when it will be appropriate for a focus to be given to a locally topical issue, e.g. the death of a pupil or member of staff.


Links and Resources

Young Minds Mental Health Resources for Children and Young People
PHSE Association Programme of Study


Ofsted Inspection Framework

Systematic structured teaching of social and emotional life skills and values throughout school life has the potential to increase emotional well-being and academic achievement.

Student Voice

Involving students in decisions that impact them can benefit their mental health and well-being by helping them to feel part of the school, college and wider community and to have some control over their lives.


Key question: How does the school or college ensure all students have the opportunity to express their views and influence decisions?


Good Practice Tips

  •  Provide opportunities for students to share their views, e.g. student surveys, focus groups, or student councils. It is important to make sure that all students have the opportunity to be heard, regardless of their age, background, or ability.
  • Once students have shared their views, it is important to empower them to take action to improve mental health and well-being for themselves and their peers. This could involve setting up student-led support groups, supporting or developing mental health awareness campaigns, or changes to the school environment.
  •  Set up a student mental health council. This could be a group of students from different year groups who are passionate about mental health. The council could meet regularly to discuss mental health issues affecting students in the school and to develop ideas for how to improve mental health provision.
  • Involve students in the development of a school mental health policy. This could involve asking students to complete a survey on their mental health needs or to participate in a focus group to discuss the school’s current mental health provision.
  • Support student-led mental health awareness campaigns. This could involve students creating posters, leaflets, or videos about mental health, or organizing events such as Mental Health Awareness Week.


Links and Resources


Ofsted Inspection Framework

Ofsted inspectors must have regard to the views of pupils. When assessing the level of behaviour and safety in schools, inspections should look at a small sample of case studies in order to evaluate the experience of particular individuals and groups, including disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs, looked after children and those with mental health needs.

Staff Development, Health and Wellbeing

Key question: How are staff supported in relation to their own health and wellbeing and to be able to support student wellbeing?


Good Practice Tips

  • Ensure opportunities are provided to staff to enhance their own health and well-being by promoting a work-life balance for staff. The DfE has developed an education staff wellbeing charter, which sets out commitments to the well-being and mental health of everyone working in education. The charter also encourages the measurement of staff well-being to monitor and respond to any changes.
  •  Provide resources and information to staff on how to access mental health support services if they need them, as well as information and resources to help promote and support their well-being.
  •  Identify the training needs of your staff, e.g. through a survey, focus groups, or individual discussions with staff members. As well as general mental health awareness, try to identify the specific areas where staff would like to develop their knowledge and skills, especially for staff who may provide more targeted support to students.
  • Allow dedicated time in CPD and/or INSET days for all staff to improve their awareness and understanding of mental health.
  •  Facilitate staff to access training on a range of mental health topics. This could include training on the signs and symptoms of common mental health problems, how to support students with their mental health, and how to create a mentally healthy school environment.
  • Make training accessible to all staff. This means providing training at a variety of times and locations and offering different types of training, such as online training, face-to-face training, and blended learning.
  • Provide opportunities for staff to reflect on their practice. This could be done through staff meetings, supervision sessions, or professional development opportunities.
  •  Support staff to implement the training they have received. This could involve providing resources, coaching, and mentoring.


Links and Resources

LEHSS Training – free online and in-person training sessions for Lancashire education staff provided by experienced mental health professionals.

Education Support – a charity dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the education workforce.

Better Health Every Mind Matters – Department of Health-approved resources around promoting wellbeing.

MindEd – free e-learning platform with training on children and young people’s mental health and emotional health and wellbeing.


Ofsted Inspection Framework

When assessing management and leadership, inspectors must consider the school’s use of performance management and the effectiveness of strategies for improving teaching. This should include the extent to which professional development is based on the identified needs of staff and the induction needs of newly qualified teachers and teachers at an early stage of their careers.

Identifying Need and Monitoring Impact

Key question: How does the school or college assess the needs of students and the impact of interventions to improve well-being?


Good Practice Tips

  • Where appropriate, use validated tools to assess pupil emotional health and mental well-being (including identifying those who need extra support) as well as evaluate outcomes of interventions. Ensure any staff using assessment tools are adequately trained and supported to do so.
  • Ensure effective use of routinely gathered data so that changes in student patterns of attainment, attendance or behaviour are tracked and acted on. There are strong links between attendance, attainment and wellbeing.
  • Ensure that there is an effective pastoral system in place so that at least one member of staff (e.g. form teacher or class teacher) knows each pupil well and can spot changes in individual behaviour patterns and act on these appropriately.
  • Be mindful that some groups of children are more vulnerable to mental health difficulties than others and that measures are taken to be inclusive of these pupils.
  • Consider what level is most useful to collect data on mental health needs, e.g. universal surveys, screening students who are most vulnerable or at risk of developing mental health problems, or individual assessments to gather more in-depth information about a student’s mental health needs.
  • Collect feedback from students on the effectiveness of mental health interventions, e.g. through surveys, focus groups, or individual interviews.


Link Resources

Mentally Healthy Schools – a toolkit for schools and colleges on measuring and monitoring children’s mental health.

DfE ‘Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools’ – guidance on mental health in schools.

CORC – list of standardised assessment measures that can be used to assess and monitor student wellbeing and mental health.

Working with Parents, Families and Carers

Key question: How does the school or college work in partnership with parents and carers to promote emotional health and well-being?


Good Practice Tips

  • Create a welcoming and inclusive environment so that parents and carers can feel part of the school community. For example, make sure that all communications are clear and accessible, and provide opportunities for parents and carers to get involved in the school.
  • Provide parents and carers with regular opportunities to give their views on emotional health and mental health provision.
  • Be open and transparent with parents and carers (as much as is appropriate) regarding any mental health issues their child may be presenting within the school/college and how you are trying to support them. Develop a home-school communication plan for mental health outlining how the school will communicate with parents and carers about their child’s mental health, as well as how parents and carers can communicate with the school about their concerns.
  • Parents and carers should be aware of the school’s emotional health and mental wellbeing policy and how you will deal with sensitive issues and specific questions from pupils.
  • Provide accessible information about mental health and well-being, and about support services that are available to them and their children. Be able to signpost parents and carers to relevant mental health professionals and support organizations. Provide accessible information to enable them to promote the social and emotional well-being of pupils outside of the educational environment as well as support for managing mental health issues in the home.
  • Provide information, training or support to other staff to help them feel more confident about facilitating parental/carer participation.

Link Resources

ThisMayHelp – mental health advice for parents and carers

Ofsted Inspection Framework

The Ofsted inspection criteria expect schools to engage parents in supporting pupils’ achievement, behaviour and safety and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Ofsted inspectors have a duty to have regard to the views of parents. Inspectors will also take account of the results of any surveys carried out or commissioned by the school.

Targeted Support and Appropriate Referrals

Some children and young people are at greater risk of experiencing poorer mental health. Delays in identifying and meeting emotional well-being and mental health needs can have far-reaching effects on all aspects of children’s and young people’s lives, including their chances of reaching their potential and leading happy and healthy lives as adults.


Key question: How does the school or college ensure timely and effective identification of students who would benefit from targeted support and ensure appropriate referral to support services?


Good Practice Tips

  • Ensure that there is a named person or team (involving the senior mental health lead) responsible for holding up-to-date information on external services available locally and referral processes for accessing support.
  • Ensure that there is a process for identifying the need for support, and monitoring the progress of requests for support and outcomes for pupils.
  • Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) are commissioned to provide early intervention support on some mental health and well-being issues, as well as support school and college staff to implement a whole school or college approach. If there is an MHST currently in your area, make contact with the service lead.
  • Targeted support for social and emotional skills is available within the setting, including individual and group work.
  • School and college-based counselling is also an effective form of targeted support for pupils.
  • Provide information so that students understand the processes of seeking support within the setting, e.g. where to seek pastoral support, or how to access counselling.
  • Ensure students have ready access to information and self-help resources for their mental health and wellbeing, e.g. helplines, information leaflets, websites.


Link Resources

Lancashire Healthy Young Minds – information on local services available for schools, young people and families.
Youth Wellbeing Directory – local service information.

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    The Lancashire Emotional Health in Schools and Colleges service is dedicated to promoting mental and emotional well-being among students and staff in educational institutions across Lancashire. Our team of experienced professionals, work collaboratively to provide comprehensive support.


    By partnering with schools and colleges, we seek to create a positive ripple effect that not only benefits individuals but also contributes to a healthier, more vibrant Lancashire community.