Mental Health Identifier

We are delighted to confirm that following external verification, Joseph Norton Academy has been awarded the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools ‘School Mental Health Award’ – Gold Status.


This has been a significant piece of work for the school, led by Lee Wardle, and evidences the positive and relentless work the school undertakes to improve emotional health and wellbeing for both staff and pupils. We would like to extend a huge thank you to Lee and the staff who supported him to evidence this outstanding work.

Lee will be representing the school and receiving the award at the Carnegie Centre of Excellence third annual conference next year. We look forward to sharing the photos!

Liz Dawson, Lead Assessor, writes:

The school has presented a wide range of evidence that demonstrates they are excelling across all eight competencies of the School Mental Health Award. The school has used the framework and content of the Award to very good effect to develop their mental health and wellbeing strategies, structures and practices from a strong starting point.

The School Mental Health Award has given the school a framework that has helped leaders to formulate their practice and to co-ordinate what they do. By focusing on the competencies of the award, the school has become more organised, the culture of support for mental health is more embedded and it has become a ‘natural way of thinking’.

The school has presented an extensive body of evidence across all the competencies and the team who have led the award speak with confidence about its impact. Leadership and decision-making are very transparent and values-driven. Leaders are accessible to the pupils and staff. All leaders respond to crisis points for the children and they also model their own health and wellbeing. Leaders report that the mental health and wellbeing of the staff and pupils is not an add-on, it is part of the school’s daily routine; it is everything that they do.

’There is no activity in school that does not have that thought process as part of it. Everyone questions how planning and policies are impacting on the mental health and wellbeing of the children.’

Supporting good mental health and wellbeing is part of the identity of the school and reaches out to families also. Staff stretch themselves in the support of each other and of the pupils. The school takes care of the staff too. MH leads recognise they are not mental health professionals and know where and when to turn as needed. The school has created a safe environment where is comfortable for the pupils to thrive. It is significant to leaders that the pupils always ask for in-school support because they feel safe and well cared for in the school community. Families also turn to the school for support and this is having an impact on the wellbeing of the whole family on a day-to-day level.

Governors take an active role in the school e.g. the chair of governors supports the leadership of the school and understand the difficult decisions that need to be made. Governors understand the direction of travel within the sphere of mental health and wellbeing and advocate for the school to ensure the vision is not lost in other arenas. Governors have a clear understanding of the pupils’ and staff needs. They are more conversant in what a day is like for any staff member and what support needs to be in place so they can carry out their roles effectively.

The school has a wide catalogue of mental health CPD which is also open to other schools. It supports other primary and secondary schools relating to the needs of specific children and general support. The school works towards destigmatising mental health in the community. They offer parenting courses and work with charities such as Barnardos, the NSPCC and the national Autistic Society. They have received positive feedback from a wide range of organisations with which they connect.