This webpage aims to provide educational settings in Oxfordshire with information and guidance to support the implementation of effective whole-school approaches to mental health and wellbeing.

Targeting professionals working in and with schools, this page also seeks to enable children, parents/carers and school staff access to relevant mental health and wellbeing support.

Why have a whole-school approach?

Government policies and guidance

What do Ofsted say

"75 per cent of adults with mental health conditions experience symptoms before the age of 18. However, it is reported that as few as one-in-four children and young people in the UK that could be helped are being reached." – Future in Mind


The Ofsted framework requires Ofsted inspectors to routinely assess and report on pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

Ofsted will want to understand how your school: 

  • Leads and develops a whole-school approach to support mental health and wellbeing.
  • Monitors whole-school, RSHE and other strategies and activities that contribute to improvement priorities.
  • Uses approaches and activities, structures and staff to promote the personal development, behaviour and the welfare of your pupils. For example:
    • Promoting ‘breadth and balance’ in the wider school curriculum, including using RSHE and other strategies to support social and emotional skills and broader mental health and wellbeing.
    • Using staff and peer relationships, school nurses and SEND support to help children and young people thrive and achieve.
  • Develops in-school support strategies e.g. buddy systems or mentors.
  • Works with external support services such as local specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and the broader range of local support services such as early help or voluntary sector organisations.
  • Supports the needs of particular groups or individual children/young people and their families, including pupils facing greater disadvantage who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), looked after children, those with medical needs and those with mental health needs.
  • Manages risks such as bullying and ‘discriminatory and prejudicial behaviour’.

Adopting a whole-school approach

Getting started

  • Develop a whole-school approach: whole-school participation is vital. Support from leadership teams, prioritisation of pupil voice and parents/carers is key.
  • Staff induction, training and supervision: high-quality training and support should be available both for school leaders and for the broader staff team. 
  • Ongoing and effective school self-evaluation: regular reflective evaluation and assessment of a school’s performance, as well as action planning for improvement.
  • Monitor outcomes: A range of validated tools can help measure mental health and wellbeing amongst the pupil population. This, in turn, will help you make use of your data to identify the mental health and wellbeing needs of your pupils and determine how best to address these.
  • Senior mental health lead training

Sources of support

Sources of local support

For more on embedding a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing, including accreditation, visit the 'Accreditation' section below.

Mental health and wellbeing tools for school leaders

Children and young people

School staff


Initiatives and training

Oxfordshire Relational Schools Programme

Find out more about the Oxfordshire Relational Schools Programme on our public website

Anna Freud National Centre

Oxfordshire Hospital School & OUH NHS Trust

The Oxfordshire Hospital School & OUH NHS Trust are working together to positively impact learners with medical needs across Oxfordshire. They have a training site with a number of free video tutorials by specialists on themes such as anxiety, asthma and cancer.

Senior mental health lead training

Wellbeing for Education Programme

Supported by funding from National Government, Response worked in partnership with One-Eighty, Oxfordshire Youth, Oxfordshire County Council and the Commissioning Group to deliver Wellbeing for Education Return training.  The aim was to provide schools with tools to enable education staff to protect and strengthen their whole school/college’s resilience to the wellbeing and mental health impacts of COVID-19.

Oxfordshire County Council are currently working with local mental health specialists to initiate additional Wellbeing for Education training to further support schools in managing the emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their pupils and staff. This will be funding from the Department for Education. Watch this space for updates.

  • Webinar 1 - This training focuses on whole school/college approaches, wellbeing and support of resilience building in the context of COVID-19.
  • Webinar 2 - This training focuses on those who may need additional support, including signposting for people across the Whole School/College community with one or more of; Loss, Bereavement, Grief, Anxiety, Low Mood, Stress, Trauma in the context of COVID-19.

Every Interaction Matters

'Every Interaction Matters' is a short, pre-recorded webinar for school and further education staff. This includes teachers, tutors, heads of year, learning mentors and teaching assistants, security staff, administrative staff, sports coaches and lunchtime assistants, as well as Senior Leadership Teams and governors.

It is intended to support school staff in promoting wellbeing, resilience and mental health, building on their existing skills, qualities and roles. It introduces a straightforward framework for engaging pupils and students, staff and parents/carers - ‘Look, Listen, Link’.

‘Look, Listen, Link’ comes from Psychological First Aid training on helping people during and after potentially traumatic or stressful incidents.

If used in an all-staff training session, the webinar should take about 45-60 minutes to complete, including the suggested activity. Participation is voluntary and content can be accessed whenever and however you wish.

'Every Interaction Matters' has been funded by the government as part of the Wellbeing for Education Return project.

Mental Health Support Teams (MHST)

  • Oxfordshire Mental Health Support Team (MHST) - Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) complement existing support provided in schools by providing a realm of expertise and resources to deliver quicker support to individuals who may not typically meet the CAMHS thresholds, but would benefit from accessing early support.

Psychological First Aid 

Relationships, health and sex education (RHSE) training module

Other sources of training

NSPCC free online training tool to improve staff knowledge and confidence when supporting children and young people attending hospital because of mental health

More information and sources of support

National sources of support

While not exhaustive, the below page links to many sources of mental health and wellbeing support to help children, young people and adults navigate key resources and access the help they need:

Mental health resources for children, students, parents, carers and school/college staff

Talking racism and mental health in schools - A series of five podcast episodes from the anna Freud Centre featuring mental health, anti-racism and education experts.

LGBTQI+ Mental Health - This new resource, from the Anna Freud Centre, explores some important topics in relation to being a member of the LGBTQI+ community. It provides advice for LGBTQI+ young people on where to go to get additional support for mental health problems should they arise.

Local sources of support

While not exhaustive, the below organisations and links are local sources of mental health and wellbeing support for children, young people and adults:

  • School Health Nurses - School nurses are qualified nurses who work in state schools across Oxfordshire. There are nurses based in all secondary schools and further education colleges, and a team who look after children in primary schools. School nurses provide advice and can support with PSHE on health choices such as healthy eating, sexual health, healthy relationships and substance misuse. They can meet with children on a 1-2-1 basis and run groups with support from School In-Reach Teams and Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs). Schools nurses also see children who are self-harming, who have been admitted to casualty and/or are waiting to be seen by CAMHS, especially those with suicidal ideation or significant self-harm. They also offer health reviews, deliver childhood immunisations, support for teenage parents and families with complex needs, and much more. Safeguarding children and young people is at the heart of what they do, and they work with parents/carers as well as with partner agencies such as social health care services.
  • Locality and Community Support Service (LCSS)  - The LCSS is part of Children’s Services and are the first point of contact where non-immediate safeguarding concerns are identified. The LCSS provides advice and guidance to universal partner agencies including schools, health and voluntary and community groups, across Oxfordshire when emerging concerns are raised for children that do not require an immediate safeguarding response.
  • Oxfordshire Mental Health Support Team (MHST) - Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) complement existing support provided in schools by providing a realm of expertise and resources to deliver quicker support to individuals who may not typically meet the CAMHS thresholds, but would benefit from accessing early support.
  • Oxfordshire CAMHS – Tips to support your mental wellbeing, self-help resources and links to further information from Oxfordshire CAMHS.
  • Oxfordshire's Virtual School
  • Mental Wealth Academy – The Mental Wealth Academy is a new partnership offering a proactive and preventative programme of non-clinical mental health services for 18-25 year-olds across Oxfordshire.
  • Oxfordshire Mind – A local mental health charity who have been campaigning for better mental health in Oxfordshire for over 50 years.
  • OXME Wellbeing Hub – The OXME Wellbeing Hub aims to help young people in Oxfordshire navigate a myriad of local and national services by conveniently signposting them to practical advice, resources and help tools. 
  • Response - From support to housing and from education to physical well-being, Response is committed to delivering outstanding services focused on enhancing lives and supporting recovery.
  • Cherwell District Council’s Activity and Wellbeing Hub - A one-stop-shop for ideas on how to boost your physical and mental health. The Activity and Wellbeing Hub offers a range of resources for people of all ages and abilities. These include exercise videos and helpline numbers, learning opportunities and tips to stay connected with loved ones. 
  • The Education Hub: Mental health resources for children, students, parents, carers and school/college staff


List of award schemes

See below for a list of award schemes that recognise inclusive practice in schools (the list is not exhaustive or in any order of credibility).  You may wish to investigate further in order to seek acknowledgement for your inclusive practice.

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