New research to create framework of support for mental wellbeing in schools across the MENA region
The Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett – led by Professor Anthony Maher and Rachel Bostwick - are creating the new framework with international Ministry of Education officials, school ambassadors, and British Council working groups across eight participating countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Iraq, Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt.
Professor Maher explained: “The framework aims to provide a structure for schools across the MENA region, to plan and develop their mental wellbeing provision to support the needs of students and staff.
“We are working closely with schools to ensure that the new framework and training materials will be culturally sensitive, contextually appropriate, and very much user-led by the school ambassadors who are supporting the mental wellbeing of staff and students in schools in the region.”
The project began in September 2021 and the team have established six key areas of focus so far:
- Working with national organisations and agencies.
- Working with parents, families and local communities.
- Developing a metal wellbeing school culture.
- School leadership and strategy.
- Professional development and learning.
- Supporting staff and students.
Training materials will be created and delivered to school ambassadors – in both English and Arabic - to support their schools in developing their mental wellbeing provision in relation to each of these areas of focus.
Professor Maher added: “It is crucial that the framework provides structured guidance but is also flexible enough to be adapted to national and local priorities, objectives, strategies and partnership work.”
The project builds on the extensive work of the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools at Leeds Beckett. The Centre’s own professional development framework - the ‘School Mental Health Award’ - supports schools both nationally and internationally to evidence their policies and initiatives that work towards improving emotional health and wellbeing for both staff and pupils.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Centre launched a seminar series in partnership with Bupa UK Foundation to support the mental health of staff and pupils transitioning back to school following national lockdown. More recently, the Centre has been contracted by the Department for Education (DfE) to be their ‘Quality Assurance Body’ for the Senior Mental Health Training Course Provider Framework.