Supporting schools to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people
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Anna Freud Centre - The Link Programme (from 2021)

The Link Programme, a national initiative to support children's mental health, arrived in Wiltshire from September 2021.

It is delivered by the Anna Freud Centre, funded by the Department for Education, and supported by NHS England and strategic leaders from local authorities, education departments, and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. The programme is delivered fully online and has been adapted for the 2021/2022 academic year to provide greater flexibility to respond to local needs.

The aim of the programme is to bring together local leaders in education and mental health to identify the support required by children and young people, so they get the help they need, when they need it. 

The Anna Freud Centre will help local leaders identify needs and define a clear set of goals for the programme to improve joint working between education and mental health professionals.

Tailored support sessions and online modules are available to Wiltshire schools and FE colleges and mental health professionals along with regular review meetings to check on progress. 

The programme for Wiltshire

  • July 2021 - Survey of schools and FE Colleges completed. 

Surveys were completed by a member of staff to provide a perspective on aspects of collaborative working with mental health professionals.

  • 1st October 2021 - Strategic consultation meeting for around 20 key local stakeholders. 

The Anna Freud Centre convened and facilitated a strategic consultation meeting of key stakeholders representing the local authority, CCG, CYMPHS, public health, education psychology network, children’s services, voluntary sector organisations and education leaders.

  • Thursday 11th November 2021  - Tailored support session 1
  • Friday 19th November 2021 - Tailored support session 2

Following the consultation meeting, Wiltshire Council selected tailored support sessions focussed on improving joint working between education and mental health professionals.

The Anna Freud Centre also provided a range of online modules for Wiltshire schools during October 2021.

  • Friday 10th December 2021 and TBC March 2022 Review meetings

The Anna Freud Centre will convene review meetings at three and six months, bringing together the local stakeholders who participated in the strategic consultation meeting to review progress towards goals.

  • Programme evaluation

The programme will continue to be evaluated and participants will be expected to take part in this activity which will include baseline (Aug-Sept 2021) and follow up surveys.

More about the programme on the Anna Freud website