Only a tenth of school leaders set to get mental health support


Only 10 per cent of school leaders look set to get mental health support, despite a previous promise to make the new government scheme available to all.

The Department for Education is looking to award a £760,000 contract for an 18-month package of wellbeing support from autumn this year.

The tender says the programme must be made available to state primary and secondary school leaders of deputy head level and above, and prioritise those with no access to an employee assistance programme or the equivalent.

A wellbeing survey last year found that 20 per cent of teachers had no form of mental health support available at their school or college.

The tender adds that the contractor must deliver a “programme of professional supervision to a minimum of 2,000 school leaders who are experiencing mental health and wellbeing challenges”. There are 20,000 state schools in England.

But the DfE told Schools Week in May that the intention was to make the service available to all primary and secondary schools.

Schools Week asked the department whether there would be capacity to exceed 2,000 to meet demand, but it said it had nothing further to add.

Under the scheme, leaders will receive at least six sessions of  online peer support or one-to-one online or phone counselling.

Schools Week understands the DfE wants to help leaders “by plugging the gap in provision”.

The department also wants to “increase the evidence base” on the impact and value for money of “professional supervision and wellbeing support” for school leaders and “learn lessons to inform future policy and interventions”.

The programme will be based on a current £157,000 pilot run by the Education Support charity, which is working with up to 385 schools.

According to the charity’s teacher wellbeing index survey last year, 77 per cent of teachers reported they were stressed. This jumped to 89 per cent for senior leaders.

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