Ashton, Manchester

Student Mental Health & Wellbeing Policy

Policy Created: January 2020
Reviewed by: Grace Speakman
Review Date: January 2021


Safe Start is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for its students.

Safe Start aims to ensure that all students achieve their academic potential and that no student is
unreasonably disadvantaged when applying to and studying at Safe Start.

We recognise that there has been a significant increase in the number of students reporting mental health difficulties and we are fully committed to supporting and improving students’ mental health and well-being


The scope intention of this policy is to commit to create a non-discriminatory and supporting environment for all students.

It will make reasonable  adjustment to enable students with mental health, emotional and wellbeing issues or concerns to participate and engage fully in all aspects of school life.

We encourage all our learners to disclose any difficulties or disabilities to the school at enrolment or during their experience to help make the necessary adjustments to meet their needs.

This information will be dealt with sensitively in a bespoke manner in accordance with school guidelines on confidentiality

This policy applies to all staff to ensure all learners are supported with regards to working together to safeguard our learners and is linked to the Policies on:

  • Equality and Diversity Policy
  • Behaviour and Disciplinary
  • Health and Safety Data Protection
  • Admissions
  • Fitness to study policy


The aims of the policy are to:

  • Promote, embed and develop a culture in which mental health and wellbeing are valued, positively promoted, mental health difficulties are recognised and
    individuals are supported appropriately
  • Actively address and aim to reduce any stigma associated with mental health
  • Encourage students to disclose their mental health difficulties, in order that the school can identify the appropriate support
  • Ensure that consistent procedures are adopted across the school

The policy is designed to provide advice, guidance and support to:

  • Students who experience temporary or longer term mental health difficulties.
  • Prospective students, where their mental health may affect their time at school.
  • Staff or students who have a concern about the mental health of another student.
  • Families and external providers of mental health provision only when the student has given consent.

Understanding Mental Health
Mental health is about how we think, feel and behave. One in four people in the UK has a mental health problem at some point, which can affect their daily life, relationships or
physical health.

One or two in every 100 people will experience a more severe mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Mental health problems can affect anyone. Without support and treatment, mental health
problems can have a serious affect on the individual and those around them. However, the majority of people who experience mental health problems can get over them, or learn to live with them, especially if they get help early on.”

We recognize that a similar number of students amongst our school population who may
need further support.
(NHS Direct 2019)


Under the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA), institutions are required to treat people with disabilities no less favorably than others and where necessary, to make reasonable adjustments in order to achieve this.

Disability (under Disability Discrimination Act 1995) is defined as a physical or mental
impairment, which has a “substantial and long-term” (12 months or more) “adverse
effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

This includes memory and ability to learn, concentrate and understand; and perception of the risk of physical danger. It is therefore likely to include students with a long-term illness such as schizophrenia.

Other mental health difficulties may also be covered.

Responsibility for
assessing and providing appropriate support lies with Student Support team.

The Student support Team is responsible for providing practical and emotional support, as well as liaising with curriculum and Learning support team for exams and Access Ability for arranging study skills support if required.

School responsibilities

Stigma and discrimination People with mental health problems say that the social stigma attached to mental ill health and the discrimination they experience can make their
difficulties worse and make it harder to recover.”

Mental Health Foundation

Safe Start will:

  • Provide staff training for all staff to enable them to identify mental
    health difficulties and deal with disclosures
  • Develop a fair and transparent admissions process
  • Carry out appropriate risk assessments including wellbeing support/
    safety plan
  • follow school’s confidentiality procedures
  • safeguard our learners
  • follow the capacity to make a decision process
  • follow referral process both internal and external
  • adhere to the fitness to study policy which includes reasonable
  • Adhere to the Behaviour and Disciplinary procedure where appropriate
  • Become a trauma informed school

Student Experience and safeguarding team will:

  • Follow escalation procedures and liaise with external agencies to refer
    learners for support
  • provide a safe quite space
  • promote a healthy and wellbeing school
  • Provide supervision for designated safeguarding team
  • Provide staff training for all staff to enable them to identify mental health difficulties and deal with disclosures
  • All staff will have access to this policy from at staff induction
  • All staff will be provided with introduction to the student experience and safeguarding team with safeguarding updates at the beginning and through academic year.
  • All staff will have access to a safeguarding portal to refer any safeguarding concerns
    (see appendix)
  • All staff will undergo ACES training 2020
  • All staff have to carry out mandatory training including safeguarding
    More comprehensive training on mental health and student mental health issues is run at various times during the academic year the student support team will have completed
    Mental Health first aid training 2020.

Some students may be willing to talk to tutors about personal problems. However the majority may not be willing to disclose that they have a difficulty, because of the associated stigma and the response that they fear they may receive.

Difficulties may be evident through changes in student’s work or behaviour. Some of the signs are:

  • Sudden deterioration in academic performance or motivation
  • Persistent lateness or absence (with a wish to avoid explanations when
  • Rigid and obsessional attitude to work
  • Social withdrawal
  • Mood swings and irritability – has the student’s mood changed markedly from
    your previous experience of her/him?
  • Have others expressed concerns about the student?
  • Misuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Changes in physical appearance – e.g. weight loss, unkempt

Develop a fair and transparent admissions process

All courses should follow the Admission Procedures. There is a need to balance the duties
to a student who has a difficulty, with those to other students and to members of staff.

Admissions criteria must be objective and applied fairly.

Students should be made aware
of admissions criteria during application and enrolment process Curriculum must give fair reasons for a decision not to take a student on to a particular course of study where mental health problems are involved.

There is a duty as a school that everything possible to sensitively encourage a student to disclose difficulties voluntarily, with consideration of the course and the professionalism.

It is essential to ensure that the student’s expectations of the course and any placements
are realistic and well informed.

Where disclosures are made regarding issues such as alcohol misuse or severe mental
health difficulties

In such cases, this needs to be referred to the head teacher who can proceed with an informed decision to next steps.

If difficulties are only picked up once the student is on course, it should be made easy to transfer to an alternative program.

Ongoing support will be available for students to access via student support practitioners.

Carry out appropriate risk assessments including wellbeing
support/ safety plan

During the admissions process any disclosure could result in an assessment to be carried out by the Head of student support in collaboration with the Head
of department for curriculum

Factors to consider where a risk assessment / safety- wellbeing plan needs to be developed for a student:

  • The term ‘risk assessment’ as used here relates to personal risk.
  • Where there is concern that a student is at risk of harming them or others, a risk assessment will be carried out by a Head of department student support. The tutor may
    also need to be involved in or be asked to provide information for the assessment, especially if the risk concerns a specialist area such as use of machinery or tools.
  • A tutor would also need to be involved in an assessment for a placement where a student would be working with vulnerable individuals.
  • Where any of the above applies or if a student discloses thoughts of suicide, self- harm
    or harm to others, or if there are signs of causing severe emotional distress to self or others, for example, harassment, significant harm, take the following steps:
    • Contact a Designated Safeguarding Practitioner (SESP) immediately (see appendix
    including out of hours emergency contacts)
    • Following the above update the referral on a safeguarding portal including any
    other information disclosed by the student.
    • On a need to know basis the DSP will feedback the out come
    The student must be made aware that the risk assessment is being carried out and be
    informed of the reasons for this.

Follow school confidentially procedures

Students are owed a duty of confidentiality under common law. Confidentiality encourages students to have the confidence and trust to seek appropriate help. Where information is recorded or shared, the terminology used must be objective and agreed
with the student and reflect educational needs as opposed to diagnosis.

The focus must be on how best to support the learning of the student.

All information relating to the mental health of the student must be kept confidential

  • Student consents (e.g. obtain advance consent to use emergency contact
  • Disclosure can be justified in the overriding public interest, which includes
    prevention of serious harm or prevention/detection of serious crime (e.g.
    informing a student’s GP where a student is considered a suicide risk)

If a member of staff is obliged to disclose without the student’s consent, only disclose the
DSP and follow full safeguarding procedures, Do not promise confidentiality to a students
where they have disclosed that they or someone else is at risk of significant harm, (see

Safeguard our learners

Safeguarding concerns relate to the abuse of children, young people or vulnerable

A student who is over the age of 18 may be considered to be a vulnerable adult due to their mental health difficulties. If a student with mental health needs discloses abuse to a member of staff, the staff member should contact DSP and follow safeguarding procedures.

Follow the capacity to make a decision process

There is now protection for those students who lack capacity to make decisions for
themselves, for example because of the nature of their mental health difficulties or
because they are under the influence of mind-altering substances.

In such situations please refer to Student Experience for an assessment who may need to refer to an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA).

Follow referral process both internal and external

It is vital that a student is able to develop a relationship of trust with their tutor and for
the tutor to show concern.

However it is important for the tutor to consider whether or
not they have the time and skills to support the student.

Also the tutor needs to think
about the limits of their role and whether or not there would be a conflict of responsibilities.

If a student discloses that they have a mental health difficulty and could benefit from
either academic or personal support (or if it is the tutor’s view that they would benefit
from this), the tutor should refer to the Student Experience SESP (for details of role and
responsibilities and how to make a referral, please refer to appendix).

Adhere to the Behaviour and Disciplinary procedure where

ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are stressful or traumatic events in childhood.
Examples include abuse, neglect or household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic

They can have a major impact on an individual’s future health and wellbeing.

As a trauma informed school we want our staff to better understand ACEs, with an aim to
develop and embed trauma informed approach enables the workforce to engage on a
deeper level with our students.

The impact for our staff and students would be

  • Improved physical and mental health
  • Improved attainment and retention
  • A more informed workforce
  • Increase in multi-agency working

Follow escalation procedures and liaise with external agencies
to refer where appropriate a referral at a high level of concern might need external
intervention e.g. external referral for support or an emergency referral, (see Appendix)

Provide a safe quite space

The school will provide wellbeing hubs which will ensure this is a safe quite space for learners to access support, information and use a digital directory for any external agency support available to them outside of school.

promote a healthy and wellbeing in school

Healthy minds and wellbeing will be celebrated and promoted through enrichment opportunities, virtual interactive events, practical events,
tutorials, and themed week raising awareness.

Local hot topics will allow the school to respond to the need of our campus to differentiate local offer.

The school learner voice and student council will contribute in maintaining a healthy school encouraging learners to take part and voice their views around
the Mental Health agenda.

All correspondence, updates, news will be promoted and accessed through student intranet

Provide supervision for designated safeguarding team

The school will provide tired supervision for all front line safeguarding practitioners to ensure they support students effectively and consistently.

Linked Policies, Practices and Procedures

  • Behaviour and Disciplinary Policy
  • Bullying and Harassment Student Guidance
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Fitness to Study Policy
  • At Risk Policy
  • Safeguarding Scheme
  • Admissions protection policy
  • Data protection policy
  • Appendices:
    • Safeguarding Procedures
    • DSP list