Welcome to 5 Steps

Thank you for signing up! The 5 Steps framework is an evidence-based offer that will help you develop your own approach to mental health and wellbeing in 5 simple steps. Our offer is developed by mental health experts and teachers, for teachers.

It's interactive, it's simple and it's free. This guide will offer you insight into the background of the framework, the ways in which you can incorporate the framework in your setting and how to use the action planning tool. 

5 Steps User Guide

Why a whole school approach?

A priority set out by the Green Paper, ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’ is to ensure schools are adequately supported to build whole school environments and to develop approaches within which pupils can achieve their full potential.

At the Anna Freud Centre we aim to equip schools to respond to the individual needs of their community and create a culture that supports emotional wellbeing and resilience.

Our 5 Steps approach will support schools in embedding a curriculum that enables pupils to become well-rounded individuals through opportunities for personal and academic growth.

Why now?

Over the next four years all schools and colleges will be expected to have a trained designated mental health lead in their setting. We want leaders to feel empowered in implementing change. Our framework will allow Mental health leads to methodically review their provision and make informed strategic decisions.

The current Ofsted Framework evaluates personal development through the way schools support learners to develop their character, this includes their resilience, confidence and independence and how schools help students know how to keep physically and mentally healthy. The 5 Steps framework will allow school leaders to have a clear record of their progress and areas of development as well as the assurance that they are working towards an evidenced based approach.

Each of our 5 steps include 2-6 practical actions that educational professionals can take to make sure that promoting mental health and wellbeing is integrated across the whole school or college curriculum. Each one is supported by:

  • Evidence-based practice
  • Free or low cost resources
  • Case studies from schools & colleges to give examples of how these actions have worked.
How do I use the platform?

You don’t need an account to use our platform, but we strongly recommend that you do so that you can create your own action planning tool and monitor your progress. By creating an account, you will be able to:

  • Create your own bespoke “5 Steps to Mental Health and Wellbeing action planning tool"
  • Mark each step you’ve taken as either achieved, working towards or not yet in place
  • Add your own notes about your personalised approach and how you are developing your own plans
  • Print or export your “5 Steps to Mental Health and Wellbeing action planning tool" to display in your school or college. (If you go to 'Print checklist' you can then save as PDF)
  • Revisit your action planning tool at any time to update and review your progress


Action planning tool example

Our action planning tool uses a RAG (Red, Amber, Green) rated system so that you can clearly see the status of each action (Not yet in place = Red, Working towards = Amber, Achieved = Green).

Schools and colleges are under great pressure. Some of these steps will take a while to implement, so be realistic. Your goal should be to make improvements over time, rather than try to do everything at once.

We would encourage you to revisit every 6 months or termly to update your progress and print out your own bespoke planning tool. This could also be built into your school or college development plan to reinforce and clearly demonstrate your commitment to building a wellbeing school or college.

This framework will regularly refer to a whole school or college community. This is because pupils and students, parents, governors, staff all have a role to play in promoting mental health and your success in creating a whole school or college approach will depend on their support.

We are always looking to review and update our resources and case studies. If you would like to get involved, have feedback, or a query, please email 



Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We’d also like to set optional analytics to help us improve it. We won’t set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We’d like to set non-essential cookies, such as Google Analytics, to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. For more information on how these cookies work, please see our Cookies page. If you are 16 or under, please ask a parent or carer for consent before accepting.