Mental Health in Schools Working Group: August 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the Mental Health in Schools Working Group on 4 August 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) (Chair)
  • Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists  (ASPEP)
  • Children and Young People’s Mental Directorate, Scottish Government
  • Children’s Parliament
  • Education Scotland
  • Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)
  • Fife Council
  • North Ayrshire Council
  • NSPCC Childline
  • Public Health Scotland
  • School Leaders Scotland (SLS)
  • See Me
  • Support and Wellbeing Unit, Scottish Government


  • Asscoiation of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS) 
  • Barnardo's
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS)
  • Barnardo's
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH)
  • Support in Mind

Items and actions

Welcome, introductions and apologies

The Chair welcomed attendees and apologies were noted.

The group noted their thanks the Scottish Government Health and Wellbeing in Schools team leader for his commitment to this work.

Minutes from previous meeting and actions points

The minutes from the previous meeting were agreed via email in June. Following some minor comments from members, they were updated and published on the Scottish Government website alongside the other minutes of meetings.

The Chair advised the action from the previous meeting would be covered under agenda item five.

Action: SG to draft a plan on implementation of first year outputs, including how to represent young people’s views on the group.

Paper drafter will cover under agenda item five.

Updated terms of reference

The Terms of Reference (ToR) have been updated now that the first three pillars of work have been completed.

SG provided an overview of the updated ToR.

The suggested purpose of the group going forward is to monitor, evaluate and support use of the outputs from the Mental Health Working Group's (MHWG) three pillars. The group will also consider future priority areas for targeted work to support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Membership of the group will be kept under review.

From August 2021, the proposed pillars of activity for the group are:

  • monitoring of use of the new online resource, including an ongoing programme of evaluation of the online learning resource with users
  • development of an Implementation and Engagement Plan to support awareness and use of the Whole School Approach Framework and online learning resource
  • consideration of future areas for the group to commission specific areas of work, based on outcomes of engagement
  • development of an information paper on the work of the group

Group agreed that the ToR looked good overall.

It was requested to change “IEP” to “EIP”, as schools already use IEP in a different context and this may cause confusion.

Suggestion to include more on promoting the outputs in the ToR.

Important to ensure the online resource and WSA are high profile across local authorities. It was noted that the timing of the publication of the online resource was not ideal before school holidays. The WSA and online resource can both the promoted at the same time now schools are back.

The group agreed that localised promotion is important but co-ordination around high-level promotion is also key.

It was requested that SG members link with the Joint Delivery Board (JDB) to inform members of the availability of the resources.

The group noted that it is important for members to use their own organisations’ networks and channels to promote the resources. It was suggested that a set of lines should be developed which members can use when promoting the resources.

Education Scotland offered to write a page for the National Improvement Hub highlighting the resources. This will be revisited by the group once the communications plan is in place.

Action 1: SG to write a communications plan with ideas on how to promote resource and WSA, including lines for members to use to promote the resources.

Whole School Approach Framework – Scottish Learning Festival

Members were thanked for their input into the WSA.

A session has been arranged for the Scottish Learning Festival on 23rd September to provide an overview of the new whole school approach framework and provide attendees with the opportunity to discuss and consider how it can be used in their own settings.

Education Scotland provided an overview of the plan for the session, which will include an overview of the framework, breakout rooms, and possibly suggesting a pilot or some form of further engagement with any schools who wished to trial utilising the framework. Members were invited to get in touch if they would be willing to support with facilitation of breakout rooms.

Members agreed to encourage networks to attend the session where possible.

As the session will take place virtually, Education Scotland would be happy to do a test session for any members who are facilitating breakout rooms if this would be useful.

The group supported the idea of engaging with schools who will use the framework, but did not think that a formal pilot was the right approach. It is important that everyone is on board with the WSA and encouraged to utilise it as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the outcomes of a pilot.

Rather than ‘piloting’ the use of the WSA, it was suggested that attendees be invited to support the MHWG in evaluating impact by providing information on how they have implemented the framework in their schools. It should be made clear that the ownership of evaluation lies with the group, not with individual schools, and to acknowledge the pressure that schools are currently under.

Overall, the group agreed that it is best to promote the WSA as widely as possible now, as health and wellbeing is a top priority for schools.

Action 2: Members to get in touch with Education Scotland if they wish to be involved in facilitating breakout rooms at SLF session.

Action 3: Those involved in delivering the SLF session agreed to discuss practical arrangements in a separate meeting.

Implementation and engagement plan

At the last meeting, it was agreed that the group would focus on engagement and promote the use of the online resource and whole school approach framework

A paper was provided that set out suggested ways to raise awareness of the resources. SG provided overview of paper, recognising the conversations at the meeting superseded much of the suggested actions

The paper set out suggested key actions split under three headings:

  • actions to raise awareness of the online resource and WSA - (including publication and circulation of WSA to internal and external networks)
  • actions to encourage use of resource - (including the Scottish Learning Festival and application sessions)
  • future actions -  (engagement with young people and evaluation of resources)

As the meeting’s discussions had provided more information on the ways in which the group would like to promote the resources, SG agreed to redraft paper based on this meeting’s discussions. This will take the form of the Communications Plan outlined at Action one.

It was noted that it is important to include staff wellbeing in all work. Staff wellbeing is recognised in both the online resource and the WSA.

It was noted that a dedicated in service day would be helpful for WSA and resource.

It was suggested that the resources should be included in the GTCS teaching magazine, which is widely read by teachers and may be useful to raise awareness amongst teaching staff.


SG reminded authorities this was the final opportunity to send their organisation logo to be included in the WSA.

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