Mental Health in Schools Working Group minutes: February 2021

Minutes from the group's meeting on 10 February 2021.

Attendees and apologies

  • Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) (Chair)
  • Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS)
  • Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists (ASPEP)
  • Barnardo’s
  • Children and Young People’s Mental Health Improvement Team, Scottish Government
  • Children and Young People's Community Mental Health Team, Scottish Government
  • Children’s Parliament
  • Convention Of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • Edinburgh Council
  • Education Scotland
  • Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)
  • Fife Council
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • North Ayrshire Council
  • School Leaders Scotland
  • See Me
  • Support and Wellbeing Unit, Scottish Government

Additional attendees

  • NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
  • Teacher Education and Leadership Team, Scottish Government


  • Public Health Scotland
  • Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed the meeting and apologies were noted.

Update on school staff wellbeing work

In September 2020, the Scottish Government (SG) announced a package of workforce support designed to aid school staff as they manage COVID-19.

The SG Teacher Education and Leadership Team provided an overview of the package of support which includes:

1. a new coaching and mentoring offer for teachers:

  • using the ‘Know You More’ resource as well as Education Scotland’s ‘Coaching and Mentoring Matters’ online resource
  • currently mainly offered to Headteachers, Deputy Headteachers and leaders with child protection or pastoral care responsibilities

2. new learning opportunities for post probation teachers:

  • led by Education Scotland and General Teaching Council for Scotland
  • webinars have been offered to this group of teachers
  • top needs are being addressed in the first phase including ASN and multicultural school environments

3. continued investment in values-based leadership:

  • supporting Headteacher leadership academy’s to reconnect with core values
  • very popular offer
  • currently being offered online during the pandemic

4. mental health support:

  • as part of this, Place2Be are offering ‘Place2Think’ for school staff
  • includes a broader offer of supporting the mental health of the school community as well as a more bespoke offer of webinars etc.
  • Barnardo’s are also running a programme to engage with smaller groups of school staff to explore what else would be useful to support staff wellbeing in the system

Action 1: SG agreed to share local/sector level engagement information on the package of workforce support.

Update on knowledge and skills framework

A deliverable from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Programme Board was to develop a Knowledge and Skills Framework for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing.

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) provided an overview of the Knowledge and Skills framework. Key points included:

  • the framework sets out the levels of knowledge and skills required by staff, across agencies, to deliver wellbeing and mental health supports and interventions
  • the aim is for the framework to be useful for all staff who work with children, young people, and their families
  • it is intended to inform workforce planning and commissioners of training, for educationalists to design training courses, to inform the professional learning and development plans of staff and to help to standardise mental health and wellbeing language and supports offered, across agencies in Scotland
  • the framework will be available principally as an electronic resource to enhance accessibility and will include links to high quality training resources that map onto the knowledge and skills outlined in the framework

Members agreed on the importance of ensuring this work is aligned to the professional learning resource and whole school approach the group are taking forward.

Action 2: NES agreed to share the draft Knowledge and Skills framework with the project team developing the professional learning resource to ensure alignment with each other.

Whole school approach framework

Part of the group’s remit was to develop a framework on implementing, developing and evaluating a whole school approach to support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

SG issued a draft whole school approach framework in advance of the meeting. Members provided feedback. Comments included:

  • need to be clear about what the whole school approach is – framework or policy document – and who it is aimed at
  • structure currently reads like a policy document. Needs to be more practical
  • document needs to be shorter for schools to engage
  • role and expectation of authorities and schools needs to be clearer
  • the nine principles are helpful
  • important to reference where other sources have been drawn on
  • suggestion of embedding self-evaluation questions throughout the document
  • consideration required around pupil privacy and information sharing
  • parents and families need to be firmly embedded
  • opportunity for capacity building across communities
  • good opportunity to connect to the Children and Young people’s community mental health framework
  • concern about the criteria to be used for assessing mental health and wellbeing
  • changes to tracking and monitoring approaches were workload matters and would needed to be negotiated by LNCTs

Action 3: SG agreed to make contact with the Chair to develop the whole school approach.

Group forward work plan

Given that the remit of the working group is almost complete, an opportunity was provided to consider the forward work plan of the group.

Suggested areas to explore included:

  • mental health resources to support Black and Minority Ethnic Children and Young People
  • mental Health resources to support children and young people with Additional Support Needs
  • consideration of specific resources / support for primary children
  • increased learning opportunities – building on the learning resource once finalised

Further areas suggested (including via email following the meeting):

  • children and young people who have experienced a sudden change in financial circumstances due to businesses or jobs being lost in the past year and may be facing mental health challenges
  • potential role for this group around evaluation and exploring impact

It was agreed that the group would revisit the forward work plan once the professional learning resource and whole school approach have been completed.


No other business was raised.

The Chair closed the meeting.

Scottish Government

Learning Directorate

February 2021

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