Devon SLS Updates Newsletter: Summary | Spring School Leadership Briefing on 11 March 2021

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Spring term  |  15 March 2021

Events V3

Summary | Spring School Leadership Briefing on 11 March 2021

The virtual Devon SLS Spring School Leadership Briefing took place last week and for those who joined us, we hope that colleagues found the event topical and informative.

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What school leaders said about Professor Tanya Byron:

  • A timely presentation that encouraged us all to consider the real needs of the pupils in our school as we return to full offer for all pupils.
  • Loads of key points, signposting, useful tips and yes, I believe it is the time for Devon heads to start the talks on curriculum changes.
  • Tanya raised a series of pertinent, important points in a no nonsense way, with compassion and empathy for us as leaders but without giving us any wriggle room or shying away from our responsibilities.
  • Really captivating speaker, inspirational! Spoke passionately but realistically.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the event and below is a summary of the useful resources and information, some of which you may wish to share with your staff, pupils and school community:

aHead PPs V2

Devon SLS aHead Service

 It's good and important to talk...

  • A dedicated telephone support line during term time / business hours
  • aHead Professional Partners offer peer experience and expertise to support you in your day to day role
  • A listening ear, a sounding board for ideas, discussing strategies, examples of good practice and / or signposting
  • More details on the Devon SLS website
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Email     Tel 01392 380518 / 07970 905511

EAP Education Support wallet

Devon SLS Employee Assistance Programme provided by Education Support

Fully subsidised membership as part of core offer available to all individual Devon school leaders and includes:

  • 24/7/365 telephone support & counselling.
  • Up to 6 sessions of face to face/telephone counselling.
  • Access to online Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
  • Consultative advice for managing your team.
  • Specialist information on:
    • work/life balance
    • financial and legal advice
    • local services – elder / childcare

Please quote Devon Schools Leadership Services when contacting Education Support directly.

Special offer for Devon SLS schools

Subscribe to the Employee Support Programme for your school, Federation or MAT and invest in mental health and wellbeing support for the whole school workforce.

Discounted rate for Devon schools - £10.00 + vat per employee (normally £14.50). Please contact for more details.

Prof Tanya Byron

Professor Tanya Byron

Professor in the Public Understanding of Science, Practising Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Journalist, Author and Broadcaster

Mentally Healthy Schools

Mentally Healthy Schools and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

Mentally Healthy Schools brings together quality-assured mental health resources, information & advice for schools and further education settings in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Download free resources and toolkits including:

Read more on the website

Mental Health Foundation

Mental Health Foundation  |  Make it Count campaign

More and more school children are struggling to cope with their mental health. Amidst rising rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm in children and young people, the Mental Health Foundation are launching their new Make it Count campaign, because mental health is not extracurricular.

Visit the website for Guides for pupils, parents and teachers for  more info and links to the following resources:

For pupils: advice on how to keep yourself mentally healthy. Staying mentally healthy is just as important as staying physically healthy.

For parents and carers: information to help children understand, protect and sustain their mental health.

For teachers: information to help them create a classroom and school environment where children can thrive with good mental health.

You may also be interested in:

NHS Mental Health apps

Download free mental health apps from the NHS resources library with help and support available for children and young people including:

Chill Panda image_NHS

Chill Panda - learn to relax, manage your worries and improve your wellbeing with Chill Panda. The app measures your heart rate and suggests tasks to suit your state of mind. Tasks include simple breathing techniques and light exercises to take your mind off your worries.

MeeTwo NHS app

Meetwo - provides a safe and secure forum for teenagers wanting to discuss any issue affecting their lives. You can anonymously get advice from experts or other teenagers going through similar experiences in areas such as mental health, self-harming, relationships and friendships.

BlueIce app

BlueIce - an evidenced-based app to help young people manage their emotions and reduce urges to self-harm. It includes a mood diary, a toolbox of evidence-based techniques to reduce distress and automatic routing to emergency numbers if urges to harm continue.

Calm Harm_NHS

Calm Harm - designed to help people resist or manage the urge to self-harm.
SThe app provides tasks that encourage users to distract themselves from urges to self-harm and help manage their "emotional mind" in a more positive way.

Young Minds  logo

YoungMinds  |

The YoungMinds resources library is full of useful toolkits, publications, reports and policy information about children and young people's mental health.

Visit the Schools Resources library for a selection of resources and materials for teachers and school staff to build their skills and make mental health and wellbeing a core, rewarding part of their job. There's also tips, advice and guidance on where you can get support for your mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic - read more on the YoungMinds website.

The Mix logo

The Mix  |

Essential support for under-25's

The Mix is the UK’s leading support service for young people and are here to help them take on any challenge they’re facing - from mental health to money, from homelessness to finding a job, from break-ups to drugs.

Talk via their online community, on social, through their free, confidential helpline or their counselling service.

 T  0808 808 4994 or visit this page to find out how to contact someone via text or email.

Shout logo

Shout 85258   |

Shout 85258 is a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. The service was launched publicly in May 2019 and it's had more than 500,000 conversations with people who are anxious, stressed, depressed, suicidal or overwhelmed and who need immediate support. As a digital service, Shout 85258 has become increasingly critical since Covid-19, being one of the few mental health support services able to operate as normal at this time.

TEXT 'SHOUT' TO 85258  |  here for you 24/7

Childline logo

Childine  |  call free on 0800 1111

Childline is confidential service where you can talk about anything from abuse, bullying, sex and relationships, drugs and alcohol, family relationships and lots of other topics. Read more at

Childine_Something's not right image

Something’s not right – national campaign by Childline

Something's not right is a national campaign to increase awareness amongst young people. Things have been very different since March and it’s been difficult for everyone.

Young people may worry about things that have happened to them or someone else, or not know where to go when they’re scared; they might be concerned about missing school or exams, and what will happen in the future. They also might be struggling to cope with their mental health. Whatever’s happening, they don’t have to cope alone. Here's a link to the campaign on the Childline webslte.

Co-SPACE logo

What is the Co-SPACE Study?

The Co-SPACE (COVID-19 Supporting Parents, Adolescents, and Children in Epidemics) survey is led by experts at the University of Oxford. This research is tracking children and young people’s mental health throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Survey results are helping researchers identify what protects children and young people from deteriorating mental health, over time, and at particular stress points, and how this may vary according to child and family characteristics. This will help to identify what advice, support and help parents would find most useful. Crucially, the study is continuing to collect data in order to determine how these needs change as the pandemic progresses. Here's a link to the Co-SPACE study.

You may also like:

Children’s Mental Health Worse in the New Lockdown (article, 17/02/21)

The proportion of secondary school aged girls with emotional problems in January 2021 was at the highest level reported since March 2020, highlights latest report from the Co-SPACE study. It also shows parent and carer reported behavioural, emotional, and restless/attentional difficulties in their offspring have increased again since the latest national lockdown was introduced.  Read the article here.

Back to school interview with Professor Cathy Creswell (podcast, 09/03/2021)

Professor Cathy Creswell shared the Co-SPACE study's recent findings on how parents/carers and children’s mental health have changed in the recent lockdown.  Listen to the full radio podcast here  (skip to 1:10:00). Podcast available until 6/4/2021.

Cllr James McInnes

Message of thanks from the Local Authority

Guest speaker Melissa Caslake, Chief Officer for Children's Services expressed her thanks and gratitude to school leaders for all their efforts during the past year, and reminded delegates to listen to the YouTube video message - a thank you to all school staff from Cllr James McInnes, Cabinet member for Children's Services and schools.

Headspace_trouble falling asleep image

Headspace  |  Meditation and sleep made simple

Trouble falling asleep? Top tips from Headspace on how to create the conditions for a more restful night’s sleep with sleepcasts, music, and other unique audio experiences.

Learn to manage feelings and thoughts with the lifelong skill of everyday mindfulness, any time of the day. Try Headspace for yourself and learn the essentials of meditation and mindfulness with their free Basics course.

Read more on or download the app on your app store.

Active 10 NHS app

Active 10  |  NHS Walking app

Professor Tanya Byron mentioned how important plenty of regular walking is to brain health as it unlocks the cognitive powers of the brain and makes us healthier and happier. You might like to download the NHS Active 10 app, which records every minute of walking you do (anonymously). The app tracks your steps, helps you set goals, shows you your achievements and gives you tips to boost your activity. Download the Active 10 App from your app store.

The Truth About_BBC iplayer

BBC iPlayer  |  The Truth About - Improving your mental health

Professor Tanya Byron teams up with former England footballer Alex Scott, who has suffered from depression, to discover how the latest science can help us gain greater control over our state of mind and improve our mental health and wellbeing. Read more and watch on BBC iPlayer

How did we get here? Podcast image

'How Did We Get Here?' podcast with Professor Tanya Byron and Claudia Winkleman

Tanya and Claudia identify struggles faced by real-life parents and family members by inviting them in and hearing their story in a one-time unscripted session with a real person. Claudia listens to the conversation to discover how Tanya begins to unlock the story behind the issue and help find solutions.

With topics ranging from parental estrangement, gender identity, domestic violence, trauma, inheriting mental health issues, family dynamics after cancer and raising a severely disabled daughter, How Did We Get Here? is a passionate, insightful and moving experience with clear outcomes to each episode.

Above show synopsis taken from the Podcast itself - listen on Apple podcasts or download from your App store.


Devon Schools Leadership Services CIO

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Contact: E     T  01392 380518     W    

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Venture House, One Capital Court, Bittern Road, Sowton, Exeter, Devon EX2 7FW

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