Centre of Excellence

Minds Ahead & Leeds Beckett University have established the UK’s first Centre of Excellence dedicated to strengthening mental health in schools & colleges across the country

The Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools was created in 2017 to strengthen the mental health of the  next generation by supporting schools in making positive changes at all levels of the UK’s education system, improving outcomes and life chances of children across the country.

As a partnership we do the following:

The initiative is a partnership between Minds Ahead and the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett. At its core is a collaborative approach, which brings together existing expertise from a range of sectors, working together to make real changes and to lead innovation across the country in response to the needs of schools, colleges, pupils, parents and carers.

Key to the Centre’s offering is the opportunity to apply for the School Mental Health Quality Mark. Through existing research collaborations, the Centre has devised an accreditation process against which schools can be evaluated and assessed, allowing them to evidence the effectiveness and impact of their mental health strategies and outcomes and their whole school approach to mental health.

The Centre also offers: professional development courses for everyone working in schools & colleges; a professional community to harness experience across schools; support and guidance to help schools develop and improve mental health policies and practice; world-leading research to back up projects with evidence; and partnerships with like-minded organisations, such as Minds Ahead, to add support to schools.

For more information about the Centre and becoming a member, please click here or contact Rachel Bostwick on 0113 8127540 or by email

DfE-funded training courses available from the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools

The Centre of Excellence offers training courses that have been quality assured for the DfE senior mental health lead training grant, set against the various course levels:

Beginner Course - Senior mental health lead is new to the role and / or has not previously completed senior mental health leadership training.
Intermediate - Senior mental health leads familiar with the role and / or who has completed limited senior mental health  leadership training.
Advanced - Senior mental health leads established in their role and / or who has completed comprehensive senior mental health leadership training.
Expert - Senior mental health leads established in their role, provides leadership beyond their own setting, and is now seeking a recognised qualification.

          Course code:  SMHL024

          Course code:  SMHL025

           Course code:  SMHL26

          Course code:  SMHL126

Further details of all of the courses can be found here.

Dean Johnstone

Dean Johnstone, CEO of Minds Ahead, said: “Minds Ahead and Leeds Beckett are the first organisations in the UK to be establishing a centre for mental health in schools. There is one in the US and one in Canada, so it was only right that school colleagues and children in the UK deserve such a resource too. Minds Ahead is committed to finding innovative solutions so that mental health difficulties don’t limit success at school and beyond. Starting this Centre with Leeds Beckett University is a key part of this plan.”

Professor Damien Page

Professor Damien Page, Dean of the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett, explained: “Through the Centre, we are creating a network of practitioners – educators, mental health service providers and researchers – to define and share best practice and to support schools across the UK to implement this.”

“As one of the country’s best performing providers of teacher education, we’re committed to working with schools to improve outcomes for children. But focusing on improving classroom practice is not enough; we need to address the mental health of children first and train our students to look after children in the widest sense.”