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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

The AcSEED Newsletter

May 2018

In This Issue

  • Experience Sharing Interview: Horndean Technology College, Hampshire
    AcSEED founder Charlotte Gatherer discusses Horndean's whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing with school counsellor and ELSA Joanna Skeet.
  • New AcSEED accreditations
  • Volunteer and Trustee Opportunities with AcSEED
    We are looking for new volunteers and trustees to help drive the next phase of growth at The AcSEED Initiative.
  • Important information to continue receiving information from AcSEED
    To comply with new EU regulations you must actively opt-in to continue receiving information and experience sharing Newsletters from AcSEED.

Experience Sharing Interview with ...
Horndean Technology College, Hampshire

In this series of interviews, AcSEED founder Charlotte Gatherer talks with organisations and individuals about their practical experiences of delivering emotional wellbeing and mental health support in UK schools and colleges. The intent is to share good practice, but also to highlight potential challenges.

In 2015 Horndean Technology College (HTC) in Hampshire became the first organisation to achieve AcSEED accreditation. Charlotte discusses their whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing with Joanna Skeet who is school counsellor and ELSA at HTC.

Charlotte: It was great for me to present HTC with the first ever AcSEED Award in 2015, so many thanks for being our first experience sharing interviewee. AcSEED promotes the need for a whole school approach to emotional wellbeing and mental health support. Can you tell us about HTC's journey towards implementing a whole school approach, and what key benefits have you seen this deliver?
Joanna: It couldn't have happened without the support of the school leadership team who were all onboard from the start. We have had a full time counsellor working at HTC for over 12 years now but the role wasn’t always appreciated and understood by the rest of the staff; being part of the ACSEED Award back in 2015 and also all the recent promotion through the media - mental health is now really taken seriously here. Staff regularly refer pupils they are concerned about, I have my own page on the school website with my email on it so parents can contact me directly by email about their child, and staff are happy for children to now be taken out of class to get support – its seen as a positive thing.

Charlotte: How does the leadership team ensure that HTC has a strong mental health and wellbeing ethos?
Joanna: I get total support from the leadership here, they pay me for supervision and additional training and to attend conferences. They have blocked out a week for mental health awareness in the whole school - this is for tutor work and assemblies and guest speakers. We have also had mental health awareness INSET training for all staff this year for the first time.

Charlotte: AcSEED puts a strong emphasis on mental illness prevention. How do you support young people in achieving and maintaining good mental health?
Joanna: We now run a mindfulness group after school. In mental health awareness week we focus on resilience and how to reduce your risks of suffering mental health issues. We have posters throughout the school produced by MHFA England called 10 keys to happier living and staff are encouraged to use these in lesson.

Charlotte: AcSEED was founded by young people with lived experience of wellbeing challenges at school, driven by their determination to ensure that wellbeing provisions are improved for future generations. How can young people get involved with shaping and delivering the emotional wellbeing and mental health provisions at HTC?
Joanna: The peer mentors, head boy and head girl and school counsel are given the opportunity to put forward ideas on how to promote mental health awareness and where to go for help if struggling. During the most recent head boy/girl campaign it was a big issue raised. In addition it is embedded into our PSHRE curriculum.

Charlotte: How does HTC support students who need some extra support through early intervention counselling, and do you have any experience in measuring the added value of such interventions?
Joanna: We have a number of interventions which escalate – so initially as a really early intervention a young person might be referred to a peer mentor who has been trained up to just be alongside someone who is struggling. If things are more serious or have escalated, the peer mentor or any member of staff/parent/pupil can refer them to the school counsellor or one of the pastoral team for either group self esteem, school nurse for eating/weight issues, confidence and resilience building or more intensive 1 to 1 sessions if things are really becoming difficult. The school counsellor if necessary will refer on to CAMHS. For all interventions at school we use evaluation impact forms with the young people so we can measure how they feel about themselves/school/relationships etc before, during and after the sessions. The evaluation forms have come back with great results, students more often than not reporting big improvements

Charlotte: How does HTC utilise external agencies to complement the in-house mental health and wellbeing provisions, and what are your experiences of working with such organisations?
Joanna: We use off the record who come in to do weekly group sessions; they also run a young carers group. Southern domestic abuse service have just started doing sessions for us for confidence and self esteem. We have an LGBT support group come in weekly offering support and counselling to our LGBT students. Portsmouth area rape crisis see a student here weekly for counselling sessions. The school nursing team come in and support with self esteem, weight and eating – and on the whole each one are amazing to work with – absolutely have nothing but praise for them all. They even come in and help with assemblies.

Charlotte: Finally, are there any other experiences from your emotional wellbeing and mental health support program that you would like to share?
Joanna: Really it needs the support of the school leadership team - if they are on board and supportive then everything else just seems to fall into place. Once it is embedded into the school ethos and the stigma removed, people start having open conversations and staff realise that mentally well young people learn the best and achieve more, so it's worth investing time and money into 100%. Also for staff themselves – it has made them more aware of their own mental health, they have to listen to the assemblies and see all the posters dotted around, give the PSHRE and tutor lessons so it makes them think about their own and their colleagues mental health too … its now OK for us all as a whole community to talk about it and get support and help.

New AcSEED Accreditations

Shavington Academy accredited with receive The AcSEED Award

Congratulations to Shavington Academy in Crewe, Cheshire, who have been accredited with The AcSEED Award.

Shavington Academy

Receiving the AcSEED Award for Shavington Academy are (from l to r): Kieron Campion, Zac Timperley Irving, Lea Blake, Kalis Cosby, Miss Carter, Mrs Skelding.

"AcSEED promotes adoption of best practices in supporting the emotional wellbeing and mental health of young people in 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 impressed by the comprehensive wellbeing support provided by Shavington Academy, by the wide range of wellbeing information and training provided to staff and students, and by their focus on continuous wellbeing improvement. We are therefore delighted to announce that Shavington Academy has been accredited with The AcSEED Award."

Newly Accredited Schools and Colleges

Many congratulations to all schools and colleges that have recently achieved AcSEED accreditation:

  • St Philip's School in Chessington, Surrey
  • Pikemere Primary School in Alsager, Cheshire
  • Edleston Primary School in Crewe, Cheshire
  • Longdendale High School in Hollingworth, Cheshire
  • Shavington Academy in Crewe, Cheshire
  • Middlewich High School in Middlewich, Cheshire
  • Stifford Clays Primary School in Grays, Essex
  • Leighton Academy in Crewe, Cheshire

Volunteer and Trustee Opportunities with AcSEED

Do you have a few hours a week available? Know of someone who might want to get involved with AcSEED?

AcSEED is looking for enthusiastic individuals with a passion for improving young people's mental health and wellbeing to help drive the next phase of our growth. The following volunteer opportunities are available now:

AcSEED is also looking for new Charity Trustees to help drive our strategy and organisation forward:

Click on the job links above for a description of each role and how to apply.

Important Information to continue receiving
information from AcSEED

To comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") that comes into effect on May 25 2018 we need you to confirm that you would like to continue receiving information from The AcSEED Initiative.

Our primary form of communication is The AcSEED Newsletter which is used to share experience and good practices in the provision of emotional wellbeing and mental health support to young people in UK schools and colleges. We also provide links to relevant mental health and wellbeing initiatives from the government and health agencies/charities, and updates on the AcSEED wellbeing framework and AcSEED accredited organisations.

We can only continue to send you this information if you actively opt-in. You should soon receive an email inviting you to set your AcSEED subscription settings including the opt-in to email communications.

To submit an article or letter for publication in The AcSEED Newsletter, or to request further information on the content of this newsletter or The AcSEED Initiative, please email us at: