Mental health and wellbeing must be at heart of school governance, but how? In an article adapted from her contribution to a new book on effective governance, Dr Pooky Knightsmith offers some pointers and ideas

To get it really right, mental health needs to be a theme that runs through all of our governance work, rather than simply an add-on.

Good mental (and physical) health are the bedrock on which all other activities within our setting are founded. When we get it right, it may go almost unnoticed. When we get it wrong, things start to fall apart.

It doesn’t have to be a big job, we simply need to get used to bearing mental health in mind during our general governance work and being curious about which decisions and actions will help, rather than harm wellbeing.

Think about it like safeguarding; even when safeguarding isn’t on the agenda, it’s on the agenda – because keeping children safe is at the heart of every decision we make and action we take.

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