Community special school is champion of mental health

A multi-site community special school is celebrating after becoming the first school in Leeds to become a champion of mental health.

Teacher and students form North West SILC

North West SILC, a school for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities, has successfully completed the MindMate Champion programme. The programme is supported by NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) Partnership and delivered by Leeds City Council’s Health and Wellbeing Service and Northpoint Wellbeing. It offers a framework for schools to create an environment to promote positive mental health, a subsidised training programme and a unique curriculum which supports young people to manage their own emotional and mental wellbeing.

North West SILC, which has two specialist sites at Meanwood and Guiseley, was the first school awarded MindMate Champion status in the city. The school also has four partnerships with mainstream schools within Leeds.

Gavin Hosford, Headteacher at North West SILC, said:“We are extremely proud to be the first school in Leeds to be designated as MindMate Champions. It is truly a testament to the wonderful team of dedicated staff that we have at the North West SILC, who have clearly demonstrated that they have our students at the heart of everything they do.

“The MindMate programme has proved to be absolutely invaluable. The positive changes that we have made are recognised by pupils, parents, carers, families and the local authority. I would highly recommend that every school engages in the MindMate Champion programme.”

The second school to be awarded MindMate Champion status is the East Leeds SILC based in Hollin Park.

Bridie Dorning, interim principal of East SILC said:“The wellbeing and personal growth of our students is at the centre of our whole curriculum and indeed everything that we do at the East SILC.  The MindMate programme has been really beneficial in building the confidence and positivity of our students and helping it to flourish, and we are so proud of their performance at the MindMate Champions conference on 6 February, which was the perfect forum to celebrate their achievements.”

Dr Jane Mischenko, Commissioning Lead for Children & Maternity Services at NHS Leeds CCGs Partnership, said: “We are delighted to be highlighting the good work that North West SILC and East SILC are doing to support their pupils. We are immensely proud of the MindMate Champions programme we have in Leeds. It recognises the crucial role schools can play in a student’s mental wellbeing and gives them the tools to do this. We’ve even had local authorities from other parts of the country contacting us, wanting to set up something similar.”

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive member for children and families, Leeds City Council said:  “The vital work that we’re doing here in Leeds to support children and young people’s social, emotional and mental health is having a really positive impact.  MindMate exemplifies our commitment to ensuring the very best for children and families in Leeds and our ambition to become the best city for children to grow up in.

“We’ve made great progress so far with 250 schools, SILCS and children’s centres registered on the programme. That’s almost 80% of our education settings in the city as well as Leeds City College and our youth work teams.  We also have two MindMate Champion settings in the city and I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate both the North West SILC and the East SILC for achieving this very special award.  I look forward to more schools and children’s centres achieving this status and sharing their best practice. There’s a lot to celebrate here in Leeds.”

MindMate Champions is open to all publicly funded primary and secondary schools in Leeds, children centres and specialist inclusion learning centres. Schools that sign up have the opportunity to be accredited and receive access to free training for staff and a set of lessons.

If you would like to know more about the MindMate Champion programme please follow the link to the MindMate website visit:


Editors notes

MindMate Champions Conference

  • The first MindMate Champions conference: Building Blocks for an Emotionally Healthy Setting was held on 6 February at the Civic Hall in Leeds. Schools, children’s centres and SILCS from across Leeds attended the conference to gain practical advice and information. There was an engaging keynote speech from Katherine Weare, Professor of Education at the University of Southampton, as well as informative workshops. Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Executive member for children and families at Leeds City Council also spoke at the conference.

MindMate Champions

  • MindMate Champions is part of Future in Mind: Leeds which is a strategy to improve the social, emotional, mental health (SEMH) and wellbeing of children and young people aged 0-25 years.
  • The Health and Wellbeing Service at Leeds City Council helps schools to support children and young people to effectively manage their lives and their wellbeing to enable them to become future, responsible custodians of a healthy and sustainable world. They provide support and training on: healthy schools programme, social, emotional and mental health, healthy eating and more. If you would like to know more about Health and Wellbeing services in Leeds, please follow the link to the Leeds for Learning website:
  • Northpoint Wellbeing, formerly Leeds Counselling, is a registered charity with a mission to help people experiencing emotional distress. If you would like to know more about Northpoint, please follow the link to the Northpoint website:

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Issued by the communications team at NHS Leeds CCGs Partnership. You can contact the team on 0113 84 35528 or 0113 84 35470. Alternatively please email us: [email protected]