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Highlights from the Northamptonshire Schools' Mental Health & Wellbeing Conference​​​​​​​

Brooke Weston Trust and Northamptonshire Teaching School Hub hosted the inaugural 'Northamptonshire Schools' Mental Health & Wellbeing Conference 2024' on March 12th. With the theme 'Rising to the Challenge,' 160 delegates from various organisations, including Multi-Academy Trusts, Schools, and local services, explored invaluable insights, strategies and discussions led by field experts.

Keynote speakers included Dr. Pooky Knightsmith, renowned in mental health education, addressing Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA) and enabling sustainable child-centred action plans for improved school attendance and engagement. Iona Jackson from Edurio discussed pupil wellbeing decline, while Paul Fell spoke about "Young People, Mental Health, and Serious Violence". Workshop topics ranged from online mental health support to suicide prevention strategies and the "Behaviour Curriculum".

Iona Jackson, Head of Insights at Edurio, said: "It's been great to attend today’s event. When James asked if we would sponsor it, I was excited because we've collaborated closely with him on our surveys, and pupil wellbeing is central to everything we do at Edurio. It was great to kick off the day by sharing some of our data on pupil wellbeing and to engage in meaningful conversations. Hearing from people like Pooky Knightsmith and chatting with those dedicated to improving wellbeing in schools was truly valuable."

Jennie Giovanelli, Principal of Kettering Science Academy, expressed: "It was fantastic to speak today about a topic close to my heart as both a mother and a professional. I was delighted that my session resonated with the keynotes, highlighting the importance of working in a Trust that prioritises mental health and wellbeing."

Paul Fell, Director of Delivery at Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, commented: "It's been great to be part of today's event. Leading the county's serious violence steering group, I've had insightful discussions with dedicated professionals about the impact of serious violence and mental health on young people. Seeing everyone's dedication to improving young lives is truly inspiring”

Pooky Knightsmith expressed her gratitude: "Thank you for having me. It's a genuine privilege to be among such dedicated professionals who truly care about their work every day. It's fantastic to see how swiftly these insights will be implemented. I've received plenty of feedback from those already engaging in commendable practices, which is truly encouraging, as well as from others eager to adopt them moving forward."

Delegates gave overwhelmingly positive feedback, with most feeling more confident and knowledgeable about mental health and pupil wellbeing.


Brooke Weston Trust CEO, Dr. Andrew Campbell, extended gratitude to the speakers and exhibitors, stating emphatically, "With a shared vision, let's empower a generation to excel academically while nurturing their mental and emotional wellbeing."

Sponsored by Great Oakley Estates, Edurio, Office for Police & Crime Commissioner, Northants Virtual School, and Northamptonshire School Safeguarding Partnership, the conference offered free access to Northamptonshire schools, proving to be a significant and successful event.



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