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Secondary school Education for Wellbeing research programme

Thursday 17th January 2019

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF) is looking for mainstream secondary schools to apply to take part in their Education for Wellbeing research programme to implement and evaluate a range of mental health interventions for pupils in years 7, 8 and 9.

Commissioned by the Department for Education, the programme aims to evaluate pioneering ways of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of school pupils. This cutting-edge research trial is the largest of its kind in England. They are already working with over 250 schools as part of Wave 1 of the programme and are now recruiting 100 further schools to take part in Wave 2.

AFNCCF are looking for secondary schools who want to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils to partner with them.

Benefits for participating schools

This is a valuable opportunity to introduce whole-class mental health and wellbeing interventions with support from leading experts in child mental health. Benefits to taking part include:

  • The chance to receive free mental health and wellbeing training for selected school staff
  • £1,000 remuneration in recognition of administrative commitments
  • An evaluation feedback report for your school
  • Contributing to the wider evidence base on what works for school-based mental health support and how it can best be delivered
  • A letter of thanks from the Department for Education acknowledging your school’s important role in this project


To apply for Education for Wellbeing

Please complete the online Expression of Interest form by 5 April 2019.

Only 100 secondary school places are left on the programme and eligible schools will be selected on a first-come first-served basis.

School Eligibility

We are looking for mainstream secondary schools to take part in our programme. 

This includes comprehensive schools, independent schools, mixed schools and single sex schools.


  • SEN schools, Pupil Referral Units, or alternative provision settings.

    The model of the interventions and the framework of the evaluation has been developed for mainstream schools and its validity has not yet been tested with pupils in other settings. We do hope to be able to extend our work to alternative settings in the future.
  • Middle schools, sixth forms and colleges.

    Our programme is for pupils in years 7, 8, and 9. Pupils will complete their final research survey over a year after they complete their first one, so it is important that the pupils taking part are still at your school within two years of them starting the project.
  • Schools that have already participated in a research trial involving one of the interventions
    (Mindfulness, Relaxation, Strategies for Safety and Wellbeing, Youth Aware of Mental Health, or The Guide).

    In order for our research team to analyse accurately the effectiveness of each different intervention, it is important that the interventions are new to all schools in the programme.
  • Schools with fewer than three classes/60 pupils per year group.

    In order for our research analysis to be of sufficient quality, we require participating schools to have at least three classes/60 pupils in the year group(s) participating in the programme.
  • Schools likely to undergo structural changes or change in leadership over the next year.

    Structural changes or changes in leadership are likely to interfere with a school's capacity to commit to the requirements of the programme, including the ability to send staff on training and coordinate completion of research surveys.

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