Written evidence submitted by Lancashire Emotional Health in Schools and Colleges, within Lancashire University (CYP0069)

I am submitting evidence on behalf of the service that I lead, as this is a good example of implementation of some of the aims within the schools Green Paper around supporting school staff and upskilling the school workforce.

The success of our service locally demonstrates the value of developing a service to provide a dedicated offer of training to schools, as opposed to aiming for statutory services to provide training in addition to the main body of their work. Historically within Lancashire, training and workforce development activities for schools around children’s mental health has been seen as the remit of CAMHS and services within the local authority. However, due to increasing rates of mental health difficulties and referral rates, and the pressures this has put onto services, training support (and other preventative work) for schools has rarely been offered.

Description of the Service

The Lancashire Emotional Health in Schools and Colleges service offers training and support to staff from all primary and secondary schools and colleges in Lancashire on a range of topics relating to children's mental health. Prior to March 2020 our work took place within schools, at the university, and within community training venues. Since March 2020 all our work has been online via a combination of live sessions via Teams and e-learning.

The service is situated within the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme at Lancaster University. Staff are experienced NHS clinical psychologists and professional trainers. We are fully funded by Lancashire County Council from their Public Health budget, and have secured consecutive contracts for delivery of the service since 2014.

We have recently been awarded a 16 month extension to our current contract worth £210,00 which secures our work until July 2022. We are also expecting an additional award from the local authority via central government as part of the Wellbeing for Education Return initiative.

To date we have worked with 90% of secondary schools, 70% of primary schools and 90% of colleges in the county. Over the last year alone we have had over 1500 attendees from Lancashire schools in our training courses.

Description of Our Work

The offer of training and advice is open to all mainstream and specialist primary and secondary schools and colleges, and is free of charge to themOur work aims to help school staff improve their knowledge and skills around children's mental health, in order to help schools support children's emotional wellbeing more effectively. Our principles are that we aim to enable school staff to work more effectively with children experiencing or at risk of mental health difficulties as part of their existing role. We do not aim to train teachers to be therapists, rather we aim to provide them with the skills to bring therapeutic principles into their everyday work.

The aim of our service is to enable school staff to identify children at risk of developing mental health difficulties or those showing signs of emerging/low level difficulties, and provide support within the school system. The intended impact of this work is that children receive support earlier and that mental health difficulties are prevented from developing. Consequently, referrals to specialist mental health services are avoided.

Our work with schools consists of two main strands:  training and consultation. Our training is offered to any member of staff and is based on a number of topic areas that have been chosen through consultation and co-production with school staff. Example topics include:

We supplement and enhance our training through provision of consultation and discussion meetings with individual staff.  In these meetings, a member of school staff meets with a member of our team to discuss an issue within their work that relates to training they have attended, e.g.  child within school who is experiencing difficulties with anxiety.

We have also begun a programme of training and support around staff wellbeing, following feedback from schools on the need for support in this area, especially in light of the impact of Covid-19 and remote schooling. Our staff wellbeing support is aimed at upskilling a senior member of staff in each school setting to become the staff wellbeing lead. The programme consists of training on our model of organizational and staff team resilience, which aims to enable the member of staff to lead wellbeing discussions in their team and develop wellbeing policies ‘in-house’. We supplement this training with the offer of reflective practice peer support groups for wellbeing leads, which aim to support schools to implement and embed staff wellbeing work, and share good practice between settings.

Feedback on Our Work

Feedback from schools on the quality of our training, and the impact it has had on both staff and pupils has been consistently positive:

“We are now looking at children through a different lens and seeing their behaviour and emotions in a different light. We feel we can understand them better and figure out better why they are behaving in a certain way, which then lets us support them better.”

“Using ideas from your sessions, discussions with pupils have improved their own thinking and approach to difficulties in school, and that they can transfer this to their life going forward.”

After working with you, we now see supporting children’s emotional health as a real strength of our school.”

Multi-agency Working

We have established excellent relationships with other services and providers in the county, to ensure that the offer of support to schools is consistent and services are providing complementary work. We liaise closely with the newly established Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs), Primary Mental Health Workers, Educational Psychologists, and the local authority school advisory team, as well as a range of 3rd sector providers who have funded commissions with the local authority. Again, I feel this is an area of good practice that could be replicated nationally, and good communication between services has minimized a sense of competition between services and clarified the offer to schools.

For example, although the MHSTs could take on a training role, our established relationships with schools, our experiences as CAMHS practitioners, and our professional training experience has meant that we have agreed to provide all training to schools served by the MHSTs, allowing increased capacity for the MHSTs to provide direct therapeutic work.


The Lancashire Emotional Health in Schools and Colleges service is an example of successful implementation of a specific aim from the schools Green Paper around training and support for schools. We feel that other local authorities could learn from our experiences in how we have offered a relevant and effective service to schools and embedded a key preventative service within the local multi-agency offer.


Dr. Richard Slinger

Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Service Lead

February 2021