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 and education experts for teachers and school leaders. 

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. 

Using the framework

How do I use the platform?

The framework will allow you to methodically review your provision and make informed strategic decisions.  

Each of the 5 steps include three to six practical actions that you can take to make sure that promoting mental health and wellbeing is integrated across your whole-school or college. Each action is supported by:  

  • evidence-based practice  
  • free or low-cost resources  
  • case studies to showcase how these actions have worked. 

We recommend registering your details to create an account, although this is not a requirement to access the framework.

Using the action planning tool

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).  

School and college staff have busy workloads and competing priorities some of the steps included in the Framework will take a while to implement, so remember to be realistic when setting your goals.   

Your aim should be to make improvements over time, rather than try to do everything at once.  

We would encourage you to revisit your action planning tool every three to six months to update your progress and print out your own RAG rated results.   

The action planning tool could also be built into your school or college development or improvement plan to clearly demonstrate your commitment to a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing.  

The 5 Steps Framework will regularly refer to a whole-school or college community. This is because pupils, parents and carers, governors, and staff all have a role to play in promoting mental health, and your success in creating a whole-school approach will depend on their support.  

We are always looking to review and update our resources and case studies. If you would like to submit a short case study or testimonial about the work you are doing in your setting please email  

Why take a whole-school approach to mental health?

Existing guidance on a whole-school or college approach to mental health

There are two key pieces of guidance which recommend taking a whole-school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing. Our 5 Steps framework has been written in accordance with these. 

The first is from the Department for Education and Public Health England, who have co-created guidance which shares eight key principles for a whole-school or college approach to mental health. These eight principles all fit under one of the 5 steps: 

Diagram showing the 8 principles of the DfE guidance on a whole-school approach to mental health

Promoting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing: A whole school or college approach (page 9) 

The second piece of guidance comes from NICE, whose ‘Social, emotional and mental wellbeing in primary and secondary education’ report recommends that schools should take a whole-school approach as one of their key recommendations: 

“Adopt a whole-school approach to support positive social, emotional and mental wellbeing of staff, children and young people (including people with a neurodiverse condition) in primary and secondary education.” 

What are a school’s statutory mental health responsibilities?

While there is no one piece of statutory guidance on mental health, there are a number of statutory mental health requirements for schools included as part of guidance on related topics.  


Schools have a statutory safeguarding responsibility which covers mental health. This is laid out in Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) – it has a requirement which states that schools must “prevent the impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development”.   

RSHE curriculum  

The RSHE curriculum requires that some elements of mental health and wellbeing are covered through the curriculumThese are different for primary and secondary settings.  


The personal development section of the current Ofsted framework notes that inspectors will make a judgement on the personal development of learners by evaluating the extent to which: 

  • the curriculum and the provider’s wider work support learners to develop their character – including their resilience, confidence and independence – and help them know how to keep physically and mentally healthy” 


Schools have legal duties through the SEND code of practice. The government are currently holding a review of SEND provision in England, with consultation closing in July 2022.  

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