Meet the mental health advisory panel for teachers

Damian Hinds announced plans for the panel earlier this year

Julia Belgutay

The panel was announced by Damian Hinds earlier this year and includes college and school representatives, as well as mental health experts

A group to help college and school staff look after their mental health and wellbeing has met for the first time. The group of experts from mental health and wellbeing organisations as well as schools and colleges will aim to help ease classroom pressures.

It was announced earlier this year by education secretary Damian Hinds, who said that “happy, motivated, well supported teachers are more likely to have happy and motivated pupils”.

Read more: Mental health charter launched for college staff and students

Opinion: Why teachers need support for burdens of pastoral care

Background: Mental health issues on the rise in colleges​​​​​​​

'Challenges and pressures'

Skills minister Anne Milton, as well as schools minister Nick Gibb, also attended the meeting. Ms Milton said: “Teachers and heads in schools and colleges face similar challenges and pressures. We want to make sure that we give the right support to those at the front line of education. This group will help us understand how we can do this best.”

Nick Gibb added: “One thing that strikes me when I meet teachers in every school is their selflessness and their willingness to go above and beyond to help their pupils. However, like any important and rewarding job, life as a teacher brings its own challenges and pressures. I saw first-hand the crucial role this group will play in providing us with expert advice to help prioritise teachers’ mental health and wellbeing – setting a positive example for pupils.”

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said only by ensuring teachers were well supported could we expect them to thrive and deliver the best outcomes for everyone – pupils, parents and the colleagues they work alongside.

“This is an important issue that needs significant attention from government. In order to bring about real change, the views and opinions of teachers and school staff need to be listened to,” he added.

Stuart Rimmer, chief executive and principal of East Coast College and chair of the Association of Colleges Mental Health and Wellbeing Policy Group said: “This expert advisory panel is both timely and essential, recognising the importance of staff wellbeing and good mental health for the education sector.

This collaborative endeavour between teachers, leaders, and officials, combined with ministerial support, encourages exploration and most importantly proactive action to address one of the most serious concerns of our sector. We are delighted to contribute.”

Panel members

  • Nansi Ellis – assistant general secretary, National Education Union
  • Sara Ford – deputy director of policy, Association of School and College Leaders
  • James Bowen - director of policy, National Association of Head Teachers
  • Adam Lincoln – bargaining and negotiations official, University and College Union
  • Darren Northcott – national official for education, National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers
  • Leora Cruddas – chief executive, Confederation of School Trusts
  • Emma Knights – chief executive, National Governors Association
  • Stuart Rimmer – chief executive, East Coast College; chair, Association of Colleges Mental Health Policy Group
  • Bill Watkin – chief executive, Sixth Form College Association
  • Tom Bennett – founder, ResearchED; Director, Tom Bennett Training
  • Faye Craster – director of teacher development, Teach First
  • Hannah Tyreman – head of online learning and community, Chartered College of Teaching
  • Dame Carol Black – principal of Newnham College, Cambridge
  • Georgina Newton – associate professor, University of Warwick
  • Dr Tim O’Brien – visiting fellow in psychology and human development, UCL Institute of Education
  • Paul Farmer – chief executive, Mind
  • Professor Peter Fonagy – chief executive, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
  • Nancy Hey – director, What Works Wellbeing Centre
  • Sinead McBrearty – chief executive, Education Support Partnership
  • Michael Eggleton – deputy headteacher, Charles Dickens Primary School
  • Jacqui Ford – group director, Weston College
  • Ben Levinson – headteacher, Kensington Primary School
  • Nicola McCleave – health and wellbeing manager, Reaseheath College
  • Jenny Rigby – headteacher, Meadow High School
  • Steve Rippin – assistant headteacher, Tapton School
  • Gary Wilkie – chief executive, Learning in Harmony Multi Academy Trust

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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