DfE looks to spend £800k on headteacher wellbeing and mental health support

The Department for Education is looking to spend £800,000 on “tailored mental health and wellbeing support” to school leaders across England.

A prior information notice published by the department refers to a “potential upcoming procurement” of a new mental health and wellbeing support scheme modelled on a limited pilot currently working with up to 385 schools.

It is the DfE’s intention to “undertake a procurement exercise to appoint a suitably experienced organisation to deliver this provision from autumn 2021”, the notice states.

Few details about the project have been published, but the DfE confirmed it would be based on the current pilot run by the Education Support charity.

It said it was looking to provide £800,000 for the wider project over 18 months. The intention was to make the service available to all primary and secondary schools.

wellbeing mental healthThe cash boost follows an extra £62,000 for Education Support to reach another 160 schools. With initial funding of £95,000, the charity said it had already helped 225 headteachers through online peer and telephone support.

Contract expected to be awarded by September

The DfE is “now assessing the next phase of this provision, which will build on the evidence from the pilot and aim to offer tailored mental health and wellbeing support to school leaders, as part of the department’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic”.

According to Education Support’s teacher wellbeing index survey last year, 77 per cent of teachers reported they were stressed, but this jumped to 89 per cent for senior leaders.

The charity has not said whether it would apply to run the wider project.

The notice issued by the DfE states that procurement is “expected to commence in mid-June, with a contract awarded by September 2021”.

However, the notice is for “information only and is not a call for competition”. The department could decide not to begin a formal procurement process or award a contract.

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  1. Janet Downs

    A few drops of water thrown towards heads will do little to reduce the stress caused by poor quality buildings, staff retention, reading the endless churn of DfE ‘guidance’, interference by unqualified politicians who think they know best, obsession with academization, testing… not to mention a pandemic. Still, it allows 800k to be awarded to an outsourcing company.

  2. Peter Endersby

    The governments piece meal approach to mental health in schools tells us everything we need to about their understanding of the depths of the problem. Systemic changes need to be made and would be cheaper in he long run. A complete review of the education system is needed and including new policy decisions which all be measures against the likely impact on the mental health of all.

  3. Irony

    Our head, who is responsible for staff well being but provides none, has on several occasions stated that “well being is what you go home at night for”. I wonder how she will use these funds…

  4. Michael

    Welcome but it seems like a plaster for an open wound.

    Teachers and school leaders all across the board have too much and too much accountability for unreasonable things outside their control. Proper staffing and distilling what is important and within the remit of teachers and schools to deal with on a fair employment contract for all is the real but difficult and expensive solution to the mental health problems leaders and teachers face.

    800k is a drop in the ocean compared to the extra staffing and restructuring needed to reprioritise unnecessary workload and share it out evenly. The effect on teachers and leaders mental health is too high a price and it affects the quality of education and behaviour massively.