The Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care have announced plans for £215 million to be used for the introduction of mental health support teams, which will work between schools and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) to offer support and treatments, including cognitive behaviour therapy.

Swindon has secured £2.3 million of this funding to create three mental health support teams in schools for pupils aged between five and 18.

Barnardo's has been chosen as the lead provider to deliver this project and Swindon CCG is very excited to be working with them as the model is developed. 

In total, Swindon has 40 primary, secondary and special schools, together with two further education colleges, involved in the first round of implementation, which is being split across three clusters. 

Eleven mental health support practitioner trainees (MHSPs) will be coming to Swindon throughout April from Exeter University, and leading figures at Barnardo's have been successful in securing placements for them all within secondary and further education settings across the three cluster areas. 

The trainees will begin their placements in the summer term and will start with a small case load, which will gradually increase as the pilot progresses. 

For the first phase, the following schools have been selected, with a plan to engage others at a later date:

  • Abbey Park Academy and Lydiard Park Academy (Cluster one)
  • Swindon Academy (Cluster two)
  • Lawn Manor Academy and Swindon College (Cluster three)

Barnardo’s has set up induction days and training for the trainees, which will begin in April. 

Swindon CCG is now in the process of organising an information event for all school leads, which is expected to take place in June. 

This will provide schools and colleges with the opportunity to find out how the teams will look and work within schools and colleges, as well as what will be required from the designated senior leads. 

The CCG is also pleased to announce that its team to support the trailblazer programme is expanding, following the successful recruitment of a programme manager and administrator, who will start their posts in May 2019. 

A survey was developed for young people to help understand the support they currently receive around mental health to help shape the mental health support teams. 

The Swindon Ten to Eighteen Project (STEP) and Barnardo’s have extended this consultation to the end of March, as additional participants were included:

  • Swindon SEND Families Voice
  • Education Other Than at School (EOTAS)
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
  • Out of the Can (LGBT+ group)
  • Young carers
  • All schools signed up for the trailblazer programme

Swindon SEND Families Voice has also developed a parent and carer survey and this will be shared throughout April.