The Link Programme is a major national initiative, specifically designed to enable collaboration between education and mental health professionals. It is led by the Anna Freud Centre, funded by the Department for Education and supported by NHS England.

For the last six years, we’ve been connecting Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CYPMHS), local authorities, schools, colleges and mental health professionals. In building collaboration across local areas, we seek to get more children and young people the help and support they need, when they need it.

The free, online national event on 25th May 2021 will bring together participating local areas, schools, colleges, and mental health professionals to share their learning with each other and those looking to find out more about the programme.

At the event, we will:

  • Celebrate best practice: hear from local authorities and CYPMHS colleagues on how the programme shaped their strategies
  • Share success stories: education colleagues will speak about the impact of the programme in schools
  • Discuss effective joined-up working strategies: previous participants will speak about the practical changes they implemented and the benefits of joining the Link Programme

You will also get the chance to ask questions to our panel of speakers.

In addition, we’re really excited to share with you our future plans for the programme. In the context of the pandemic, the challenges and needs of local areas have shifted significantly. Join the event to find out how the programme will be delivered in the new academic year and how you can get involved.

Who is the event for?

This event is designed specifically for:

  • Leaders in local authorities and CCGs with responsibility for education or children and young people’s mental health
  • Schools and colleges professionals
  • Mental health professionals
  • Previous participants in the Link Programme
What is the agenda?

2pm – 2:10pm: Introduction from our Chair
Jaime Smith, Director of the Schools Division at the Anna Freud Centre

2:10pm-2:20pm: The value of the Link Programme for the future
Simone Bayes, Deputy Director Mental Health Delivery, Department for Education

2:20-2:30: Collaboration and joined-up working in Greater Manchester
Ann Hambleton, Mental Health in Education Programme Manager at Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership

2:30pm-2:40pm: The Link Programme by numbers: findings from the evaluation 
Dr Melissa Cortina, Senior Research Fellow at the Anna Freud Centre

2:40pm – 3:20pm: Locality-led joined up working: learning from Durham County Council
Dr Peter Mulholland, SEND and Inclusion Strategic Lead for SEMH, Durham County Council

3:20pm - 3:30: 10 minute break

3:30pm – 4:20pm: Learning from schools and colleges
Emma Owen, Assistant Vice Principal – Wellbeing/Mental Health, Haberdasher's Abraham Darby School

4:20pm - 4:30pm: The future of joined-up working: the Link Programme in the new academic year
Cait Cooper, Deputy Director for the Schools Division at the Anna Freud Centre

4:30pm – 4:55pm: Joined up working during lockdown: how the Link Programme helped local areas move forward together
All speakers to join

4.55pm - 5pm: Closing remarks

How much does it cost?

The event is free to join and open to all those who are interested in finding out more about the programme.

How do I sign up?

You can secure your place by filling in the ‘Book now’ form at the top of this page. You will then be sent an invitation link to join via Zoom.

How do I join the Link Programme?

We will share information on how to get involved both during the event and in the follow up email.

'Without the programme, we don’t think the importance of joint working would have been apparent. We’re pleased to say that 95% of the schools and colleges in Telford have taken part. Ultimately, we feel that the Link Programme was the last piece in the jigsaw to bring all these professionals together and really unify our activities in Telford and Wrekin.' - Andy Cooke, Service Delivery Manager in Pupil Support Services at Telford & Wrekin Council

'The programme empowered Norfolk and Waveney education and mental health professionals to really work together and select the most optimal initiatives that complement our specific circumstances. It has given us the confidence to pursue these projects, providing a platform for holding honest conversations with education staff and implementing real change. When we are all on the same page, we can achieve so much more.' - Anna Sims, PATHS leader, Norfolk County Council Children's Services

  • 3 hours

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