Restorative Thinking Senior Mental Health Leads Training - DfE Assured

Fully funded course that supports the development of a whole school approach to mental health and well-being.

Senior Mental Health Leads

Liverpool City Council restorative practice school pilot

In 2017, the Government published its Green Paper for Transforming children and young people’s mental health, which gives details of proposals for expanding access to mental health care for children and young people.

The role of the Senior Mental Health Lead in primary, secondary and special schools has become ever more prominent since the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a growing need in schools for coherent and accessible provision to enable the positive mental health and well-being of pupils and staff.  The government would like every school to have a designated mental health lead in place by 2025.

Research indicates that taking a coordinated and evidence-informed approach to mental health and well-being leads to improved emotional health and well-being in children and young people, which in turn leads to a greater readiness to learn. 

We’ve produced a short guide. 
This will be useful for:
  • SLT/staff considering the SMHL role
  • SMHL’s looking to advance their practice
  • Parents/carers seeking information on the SMHL role
  • Schools/colleges seeking clarity on how restorative practice can enhance mental health provision in schools and colleges

'Fostering Restorative Practice in Schools' (SMHL097) course overview

Restorative Thinking’s consultation and e-Learning CPD course, ‘Fostering Restorative Practice in Schools‘, alongside targeted support with our team, has met the DfE quality criteria for grant funded senior mental health lead training.  This grant covers the full cost of our engagement with schools.

The training helps to develop your whole school or college approach to mental health and well-being. 

Our course places a focus on the quality and meaning of relationships in schools, between staff, staff and pupils, pupils and pupils, staff and parents/carers. Developing the insights and skills to use the right thinking, language, behaviours and communications in the right way/s at the right time plays a big role in staff, pupil, parent/carer mental health and wellbeing.

Through this course ‘Relational health’ is built into the fabric of day to day connections, alongside deliberate conversations that enable pupils and staff to process their experiences.  

All our provision is online, both self-paced via our e-Learning CPD, ‘Fostering Restorative Practice in Schools‘, and in real time via 1:1 consulation and small group peer Action Learning Sets.  We work alongside you to develop a bespoke action plan for mental health and well-being in your school.

Mental health leads can share our e-Learning CPD course with all staff, promoting a whole school restorative approach and a mentally healthy school.

Our course has evolved through ongoing research, development and our strong evidence base with schools, informed by mental health professionals, psychologists, education psychologists.  In 2018 we won the i-Network Award for ‘Transforming and Innovating Public Services’ for our restorative practice projects with primary, secondary and special schools.

Please contact us for further information, or to register your interest, using the form below.
Liverpool City Council restorative practice school pilot

Benefits for you and your school

  • Personalised action planning with our team.
  • Self-paced learning via our e-Learning CPD, to suit your timetable.
  • ‘Fostering Restorative Practice in Schools’ e-Learning CPD accessible to all school staff.
  • Optional monthly video action learning sets with like-minded peers.
  • Involve pupils in the co-production and embedding of the whole school approach.
  • Identify how to inform and involve parents/carers/families in the restorative culture of well-being the school/college is creating.

How the course is delivered

1:1 Consultation
Up to 2 hours
e-Learning CPD
5 hours
Action Learning Sets

Learning outcomes

Of the eight learning outcomes put forward by the Department for Education, our programme covers: Leadership and Management; Enabling student voice; Staff Development; Identifying need and monitoring impact; Working with parents and carers; Curriculum, teaching and learning; Creating a restorative and relational ethos and environment.  

Our course works in synergy with the DfE recommended reflection tools to assess your school’s existing approach to mental health and wellbeing:


‘Fostering Restorative Practice in Schools’ meets the core outcomes identified in the Green Paper, ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’.  

Funding eligibility

State-funded schools and colleges in England can apply for a DfE grant to cover the full cost of our course, which is £995.  If your setting is ready to develop or implement a whole school or college approach to mental health and well-being, and has a senior mental health lead available to undertake training by the end of March 2024, you can confirm your eligibility and apply through the DfE online grant application form.

Pleasedo not delayin applying for your grant as there has been significant interest in the scheme. Grants will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. 

If you’d like to secure your place on our course, please follow these steps to ensure you access funding: 

  1. Check the eligibility of your school or FE college on the Department for Education’s terms and conditions
  2. Complete the DfE online grant application form
  3. Contact Restorative Thinking and let us know that you will be joining our course and to set a start date with us.  You can join us at any point up to the end of March 2024.  Please e-mail Lesley:


All aspects of the training are delivered online. Some elements are self-directed on our learning platform and some are live, real-time sessions on Zoom with our trainers leading the learning. 

Our programme is designed for anyone in a school or sixth form college in England, who has taken on the role of leading mental health across the whole school. You will learn about the principles of restorative practice, how these support positive mental health and well-being as part of your whole-school approach.  You will have opportunities to apply those principles to your context. 

Contact us and we’ll set up an initial zoom conversation to assess existing strengths, needs and intended outcomes; we’ll explain the process and next steps.

From September 2021, the department for Education is offering grants of up to £1,200 to eligible state schools and colleges in England for Senior Mental Health Leads training. The full grant is designed to include cover for participants.
The cost of Restorative Thinking’s course is £995 per school.

The time commitment is flexible and ranges from 8-20 hours. The course is composed of three different elements as follows: 

  • Initial 1:1 consultation (zoom) to assess existing strengths, needs and intended outcomes and to formulate an Action Plan for your school.
  • E-Learning CPD:  ‘Fostering Restorative Practice in Schools’.  Six modules comprising 5 hours’ learning.  Accessed by the Senior Mental Health Lead and also available to all school staff as part of this course.
  • Optional: Monthly small group Action Learning Sets with a maximum of 8 per group.

The time you spend applying your learning in school, will depend on your identified priorities and the needs of your role leading mental health.

The grants from the Department for Education facilitate one participant per school to join the course. However there is no additional cost for all staff members to access the e-Learning CPD (5 hours self-guided learning).  

You can start now.  Funding has been approved until the end of March 2023.

You will need an internet enabled device to take part in this programme. 

Our training programme meets the accessibility needs of learners, including satisfying statutory requirements for equalities, covering additional needs such as:  

  • Website content easily navigated by using a keyboard
  • PDF forms accessible to screen readers
  • Resources able to be accessed by visually impaired people (strong colour contrast)

Yes, all participants who have completed the training will receive a certificate.

Get in Touch

Your email address and message are confidential.  We aim to respond within 24 hours.