Saturday 4th December 2021

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This is how we share information and good practices relating to mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges

What's New

NEWS: The AcSEED Newsletter

14th December 2020

AcSEED Newsletter for December 2020

NEWS: On-line Wellbeing Support

11th December 2020

Kooth: An on-line Mental Health Support Platform

NEWS: Mental Health in Schools Conference

11th November 2020

Report from the Westminster Insight conference on Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools

NEWS: Fairfield Road Accreditation

20th October 2020

Fairfield Road Primary School receive AcSEED Award

NEWS: Newport Girls' get AcSEED Award

31st August 2020

Congratulations to Newport Girls' High School in Shropshire ...

NEWS: First AcSEED Wellbeing Centre

25th June 2019

Trinity School and College opens the first AcSEED Wellbeing Centre


11th December 2020

Kooth: An on-line Mental Health Support Platform

By Victoria Scrivens-Smith, AcSEED Volunteer

We traditionally think of mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges as being focused on in-house resources and/or face-to-face provisions. However there are an increasing number of on-line resources that can be both valuable and complementary.

Kooth ( is an on-line Mental Health support platform that has been adopted by a number of AcSEED accredited organisations. AcSEED volunteer Victoria Scrivens-Smith talked to the wellbeing co-ordinator at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College, Niamh McManus, about their experiences with Kooth.

Niamh told us that Kooth became a part of the college’s wellbeing provision after hearing about the availability of on-line counselling services at assemblies run for schools in the Trafford Borough area. “This was right for our pupils who have access to the help Kooth can offer outside of term time and we felt it was important for our pupils to know the support services which existed.”

  • AcSEED: What response have you seen in students that are receiving support from Kooth?

    Niamh: Pupils who took part in the Kooth workshops enjoyed these and it had allowed the groups of boys to talk openly about male mental health and wellbeing. From my perspective of being in these workshops they were very thought provoking and allowed boys who would not usually share their feelings to do so in a safe environment.

  • AcSEED: Do you have any numbers of how many students take up the support from Kooth either through direct referral from school or through students’ self-referring?

    Niamh: Due to the nature of Kooth we do not know which pupils have access to this as they set up their own usernames and passwords to be able to use this. I have worked with groups in workshops with Kooth in which these pupils all logged on to the Kooth website and gave their feedback on the website and how to make this more accessible to young people.

  • AcSEED: What have you found are the benefits of having an online counselling service available?

    Niamh: Pupils of all year groups are made aware of this - this is advertised in their form rooms - this is to allow pupils who wish to access the service to make the decision to do this.

  • AcSEED: How do you think the importance of online counselling being available to students during the holiday period is, do you see this as a key factor in deciding to use them?

    Niamh: It is very important for pupils and their parents to know where to access information and support outside of school time.

  • AcSEED: Do you have any advice or suggestions for other schools and colleges considering the use of on-line counselling services?

    Niamh: Kooth operate in different areas but they are really useful in providing workshops and assemblies. I would definitely recommend getting in touch with them.

It is clear that Kooth has provided a useful addition to the wellbeing toolbox at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College. The young people that founded AcSEED were very conscious of the need for pupils to have multiple options to reach out for help and support. Whilst in-school and in-person provisions will continue to be highly important, on-line services such as Kooth also look to have a useful role to play.

When a school/college decides to adopt an on-line mental health and wellbeing service, it is useful to consider how it will integrate and contribute to their overall wellbeing provision:

  • How would on-line counselling services co-exist with more traditional face-to-face counselling provisions?
  • How would the continuity of support be impacted by using on-line services as an out-of-term provision to complement in-house provisions?
  • How will the quality and value of the on-line service be monitored? This could potentially be done by an external authority, however the school/college might find value from receiving some key metrics from the service (assuming this can be done whilst also protecting individual privacy):
  • Number/percentage of pupils accessing the service.
  • Year group (age) profile.
  • Gender and minority group profiles.
  • Support needs profile, particularly to identify any peaks or trends in specific wellbeing difficulties.

This type of data would enable schools and colleges to assess the potential need for alternative and/or additional mental health and wellbeing provisions.

We would like to thank Niamh McManus for her valuable insight on experiences of using Kooth at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College.

If you have experience of using Kooth (or other on-line wellbeing services) as part of your school/college mental health and wellbeing provisions, do please let us know. We are happy to publish further feedback on the use of these service so that others can benefit from your practical experiences.

Write to us at:

More information on Kooth at:

11th November 2020

Report: Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools Conference

Westminster Insights logo

By Nick Gatherer, AcSEED Chief Executive

A look back at the 2019 Conference

The AcSEED Initiative was invited to present at the Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools conference in 2019. Our presentation described how the young people that founded AcSEED used their lived experience of mental health and wellbeing challenges at school to define the AcSEED wellbeing framework and criteria for accreditation.

Presenting with us were representatives from Trinity School and College in Rochester Kent, who were one of the first organisations to achieve AcSEED accreditation. Executive Principal Elizabeth Baines provided an overview of the school's approach to mental health and wellbeing, whilst 3 of the school's pupils described the positive impact that the school's ethos and support of staff support made to their own wellbeing. As an organization founded by young people it was an honour for us to be presenting alongside these young ambassadors. Their presentations were highly engaging, and their key messages full of positivity and hope. In my view a highlight of the whole conference!

2020 Conference

The 2020 conference was held on 11th November 2020, and due to Covid-19 restrictions was an on-line event. This is not a comprehensive report, but aims to highlights a few key messages.

  • Alexandra Shaw from the Department for Education provided an update on the government's "Transforming children and young people's mental health provision" green paper. This document aims to deliver against the vision set out in the 2015 "Future in Mind" report compiled by a government taskforce that included AcSEED founder Charlotte.

    Despite the impact of Covid-19, the roll-out of regional Mental Health Support Teams is continuing with the aim to achieve 20%-25% coverage across the country by 2023. These teams are funded to provide interventions to support those with mild to moderate needs and support the promotion of good mental health and wellbeing. Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG's) take the lead in establishing MH Support Teams, and are prioritizing according to local need. The Anna Freud Centre are driving the Link Programme which provides training and support for the collaboration between education and mental health professionals.

    The government green paper promotes a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing support, and continues to align well with the AcSEED wellbeing criteria. We believe that local Mental Health Support Teams, and training for senior mental health leads, will be valuable resources for schools aiming to achieve AcSEED accreditation.

  • Zulfi Jiva, Head of Cross Cutting Programmes at Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership, reported findings and impact of the Greater Manchester Healthy Schools Project. As part of the Trailblazer Program to pilot Mental Health Support Teams, the project is now supporting 110 schools across Greater Manchester (approximately 10%). There has been a universally positive response from schools participating in the pilot scheme which has focused particularly on transitions. One observation is that the supervision model recommended by the national scheme is very resource intensive and may not be sustainable.

  • Dr Julie Greer, Headteacher at Cherbourg Primary School in Hampshire, addressed the challenges faced by schools in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils. In addition to the whole school approach used at Cherbourg, Dr Greer highlighted the need to support staff wellbeing and the need for a supportive governing body.

  • Jamie Smith, Director of the Schools Programme at the Anna Freud Centre, highlighted the organisation's mission to translate research evidence into practice. They provide a wide range of resources and training, including a 5-step framework for introducing a whole school/college approach to mental health and wellbeing. They also provide resources on measuring and monitoring wellbeing provisions.

20th October 2020

Fairfield Road Primary School receive AcSEED Award

Fairfield Road Primary School Award

Staff from Fairfield Road Primary School receiving their AcSEED Award.

Congratulations to Fairfield Road Primary School in Droylsden Manchester who have been accredited with The AcSEED Award.

Receiving the award are:

Front row (left to right): Liz Bowden (School Counselor), Stephanie Burns (SMSC Leader), and Alexis Davies (Deputy Head).

Back row (left to right): Alec Stephenson (Headteacher), and Shelley Roche (School Liaison Officer).

31st August 2020

Newport Girls' High School receive AcSEED Award

Newport Girls High School Award

Receiving The AcSEED Award for Newport Girls' High School are Headteacher Michael Scott, and Head Girl Team students Ella, Minnie and Abbey.

Congratulations to Newport Girls' High School in Shropshire who have been accredited with The AcSEED Award.

This social distancing compliant photograph shows The AcSEED Award being received by Headteacher Michael Scott, together with members of the Head Girl Team, Ella, Minnie and Abbey.

"AcSEED promotes adoption of best practices in supporting the emotional wellbeing and mental health of young people in UK schools and colleges, and provides recognition for organisations that satisfy the AcSEED criteria for wellbeing support" said Charlotte Gatherer, founder of The AcSEED Initiative. "The AcSEED assessment team were particularly impressed by the strong wellbeing ethos at Newport Girls' High School, by their extensive mental health and wellbeing provisions, and by their comprehensive emotional health and wellbeing curriculum. We are therefore delighted to announce that Newport Girls’ High School has been accredited with The AcSEED Award".

Read the school announcement here.

25th June 2019

Trinity opens first AcSEED Wellbeing Centre

Trinity Wellbeing Centre Plaque
Trinity AcSEED Wellbeing Centre

The first AcSEED Wellbeing Center has been opened at Trinity School and College in Kent.

The AcSEED Initiative was founded by young people with lived experience of mental health and wellbeing issues during their school years. They identified safe spaces in schools as an important provision for taking 'time out' when experiencing increased levels of stress, and can also be used as therapy spaces. As low stimulation areas, they also provide a good setting for using sensory equipment.

AcSEED at the Trinity Autism Conference

AcSEED at the Trinity Autism Conference.

The AcSEED Wellbeing Centre was opened as part of the Trinity School and College Autism Conference. The opening ceremony was performed by AcSEED Founder Charlotte Gatherer and AcSEED Chief Executive Nick Gatherer.

Trinity School and College has been an AcSEED accredited school since 2015.

8th July 2018

St Philip's School receives AcSEED Award

St Peters Award

Receiving the AcSEED Award for St Philip's School are (from l to r): Debbie Battle (Safeguarding and Prevention officer, and Wellbeing Emotional Support Team Lead), Ben Walsh (Head teacher).

Congratulations to St Philip's School in Chessington, Surrey, who have been accredited with The AcSEED Award.

The AcSEED assessment team were impressed by the comprehensive wellbeing support provided by St Philip’s School, by the wide range of mental health and wellbeing information and training available, and by their tailoring of wellbeing provisions and services to meet the specific needs of their pupils.

Debbie Battle, Wellbeing Emotional Support Team (WEST) lead at St Philip's School said "We will continue to do everything we can to support our young people through any emotional difficulties they may encounter".

Read the school announcement here.

The Sixth Form College Farnborough receives AcSEED accreditation

24th July 2016

Farnborough pic 1 Congratulations to The Sixth Form College Farnborough in Hampshire, who have been accredited with The AcSEED Award.

At a ceremony to mark the achievement on Thursday 7th July 2016 the award was presented by AcSEED Chief Executive Nick Gatherer to college Principal Simon Jarvis and Deputy Principal for Student Services Catherine Cole. Also attending from the College were Lead Counsellor Claire Basil, Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinator Kirsten Halvorsen, and members of the college's Health and Wellbeing team.

Read full story ...

The Beacon PRU receives AcSEED accreditation

25th March 2016

Congratulations to The Beacon PRU in Redditch, Worcestershire, who have been accredited with The AcSEED award.

Lordswood Girls' School receives AcSEED accreditation

25th March 2016

Congratulations to Lordswood Girls' School in Harborne, Birmingham, who have been accredited with The AcSEED award.

Cedars Upper School receives AcSEED accreditation

7th March 2016

Congratulations to Cedars Upper School in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, who have been accredited with The AcSEED award.

Trinity School and College receive AcSEED accreditation

27th November 2015

Trinity pic 3 Congratulations to Trinity School and College in Rochester, Kent, who were presented with The AcSEED Award at a ceremony on Friday 27th November 2015.

Headteacher Elizabeth Baines received the award from AcSEED principal assessor Helen Galsworthy. Also attending were representatives of the wellbeing staff at Trinity, and the Mayor of Medway Cllr Barry Kemp.

Read full story ...

Applemore TC awarded AcSEED accreditation

6th July 2015

Congratulations to Applemore Technology College in Hampshire who were presented with The AcSEED Award at a ceremony on Monday 6th July 2015. Headteacher Mr Roland Marsh received the award from AcSEED founder Charlotte Gatherer, and paid tribute to Mrs Heidi Kavanagh and other student support staff, and to the young people who act as Peer Mentors within the college.

First AcSEED accreditation awarded to Horndean TC

13th March 2015

Horndean pic 1 Horndean Technology College in Hampshire has become the first organisation to be accredited with The AcSEED Award. Head Teacher Mrs Summerfield received the award from AcSEED founder Charlotte at a ceremony held to mark the occasion on Friday 13th March 2015.

Read full story ...

Picture: Staff and students of Horndean Technology College celebrate their AcSEED accreditation.
Front row (left to right): Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery, Head Teacher Mrs Summerfield, Chair of Governors Robert Bedford, and AcSEED founder Charlotte Gatherer.

AcSEED founder receives award from Deputy Prime Minister

5th February 2015

Award pic1 AcSEED founder Charlotte has received an award from the Deputy Prime Minister for her services to Mental Health, and in particular for setting up The AcSEED Initiative which recognises schools providing high quality emotional wellbeing and mental health support. Read full story ...

Picture: AcSEED founder Charlotte (right) receives her award from Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

AcSEED supports YoungMinds VS

25th January 2014

YoungMinds VS The AcSEED Initiative, in partnership with YoungMinds, supports the mental health and wellbeing of young people in schools, and will be supporting the YoungMinds VS program.

AcSEED founder Charlotte was invited to attend the official launch of YoungMinds VS at The House of Commons on Monday 20th January 2014. The launch included pledges of support from Frankie Sandford of girl band The Saturdays and leader of the opposition Ed Miliband.

Picture: AcSEED founder Charlotte (right) with Frankie Sandford of girl band The Saturdays.


9th June 2013

The AcSEED Initiative is working with O2 Think Big to run a targeted event for school teachers to help increase awareness and understand the importance of Emotional Wellbeing. The half day event will include speakers from Heath and Education plus a young person with direct personal experience of mental illness.

Progress can be tracked on our O2 Think Big Project Page.

AcSEED Collaborate with Samaritans

6th May 2013

AcSEED are delighted to be working with Samaritans to develop their school education resources. The materials will be reviewed by volunteers from The AcSEED Initiative with the aim of making the already thorough resources even more engaging.

The AcSEED Film

3rd May 2013

With the support of Fixers, The AcSEED Initiative has released a short film promoting the importance of supporting the emotional wellbeing of students. Shot in the style of a news reel, the film focuses on the facts of mental illness with an interesting twist to conclude. The film is targeted at school staff and will be premiered in front of Hampshire teachers later this year.

The AcSEED Website goes Live!

30th March 2013

The AcSEED Website will provide a focal point for news and information related to The AcSEED Initiative and The AcSEED Award. At launch the website aso includes blogs, video blogs, and a range of shared experiences which will continue to grow over time. Contributions to the website are always welcome (see the Contact Us page), and we hope this growing resource will help to educate and motivate many people on supporting emotional wellbeing in schools.