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Conference to shape Yorkshire agenda on mental health in schools


An event to help shape the agenda on mental health in schools and to share innovative practice taking place across Yorkshire will be held at Leeds Beckett University this summer.

Professor Damien Page

The first annual Yorkshire Schools’ Mental Health Conference has been organised by Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Education in partnership with social enterprise, Stronger Minds, and takes place on Monday 26 June at the University’s Headingley Campus. 

The conference will bring together leaders in education and mental health from across the region, linking national government policy with examples of innovative provision within the region’s schools and the latest thinking from national organisations including the Teacher Development Trust and the Children’s and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition. 

Following the Prime Minister’s statement that the lack of mental health support in the UK is a social injustice, the event aims to make sense of what the fast-moving national policies mean for schools, providing attendees with practical methods proven to build student resilience. 

Professor Damien Page, Dean of the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett (pictured top), said: “Mental health within schools is not just the concern of specialists: it’s the concern of everyone committed to improving the life chances of children. This conference aims to attract participants from all sections of the education community, from governors to clinical commissioning groups, all working to address the lack of mental health support in schools. In Stronger Minds we’ve found a partner who is equally committed to outcomes for children and addressing what has quite rightly been described as a social injustice.”   

Dean Johnstone, Co-Founder and CEO of Stronger Minds, said: "As a Yorkshire man, it makes me proud to be working with Leeds Beckett to create the Yorkshire Schools' Mental Health Conference 2017. Mental health problems affect every classroom and limit the potential of too many children. Yet within Yorkshire there is innovative practice and inspirational leadership around this area. This conference will showcase some of this impressive work whilst also ensuring the national discussion on mental health is made relevant for our schools. It is a chance for the region to help shape the agenda on mental health in schools and to learn from, and share with, each other."

Dean Johnstone
Dean Johnstone

The conference will be chaired by John Tomsett, Head Teacher of Huntington School in York and author of Mind Over Matter: This much I know about improving mental health in our schools. As well as finding out about the latest research into the links between physical and mental health in children and learning how implement new approaches to mental health that lead to improved attendance, behaviour and attainment, there will be the opportunity for one-to-one sessions with a mental health expert to discuss specific issues. The innovative projects that Stronger Minds has developed in partnership with Leeds Beckett will also be highlighted. 

The partnership between the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett and Stronger Minds was launched in January 2017 with the aim of transforming the practice of trainee teachers at Leeds Beckett and of the schools and teachers working with the University. 

Professor Page added: “This is an exciting partnership which is addressing an important need in the teaching workforce.  Half of all people who suffer mental illness experience the onset of symptoms by the age of 14; and so educators need not only to know about mental health in children but to be able to respond compassionately to this growing problem.” 

Recent advice from the Department for Education has identified mental health as a critical concern for schools and their teachers, showing that too many vulnerable young people are not receiving the support they need.  More than half of head teachers consider local mental health resources to be insufficient they have seen an increase in mental health problems amongst their pupils. 

For more information and to book a place at the conference, please click here. An early bird fee of £249.10 is available for bookings made by 20 May. 

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