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The power of ideas

At E-ACT, we believe in the power of ideas. 

If an idea helps just one person, we think it should be shared. 

Delivered in partnership with Tes, Ideas conferences, podcasts and documentaries feature contributions from people at the forefront of our schools, government, academia and elsewhere. 

Information on upcoming conferences, podcast and documentary will be posted on this page. 

Partnered with TES

Connecting and supporting more than 13 million educators globally, Tes is one of the largest and most active communities of school teachers and leaders in the world.

Did you know?

1 in 6 children aged 5-16 are likely to have a mental health problem
1 in 3 mental health problems in adulthood are directly connected to an adverse childhood experience
1 in 20 teachers have a mental health problem lasting more than a year
7% of children have attempted suicide by the age of 17

Mental health in schools - where next?

Our ‘Where next’ conference was attended by over 900 people in October 2021.  

We looked at the many parts that make up a whole school wellbeing programme and offered practical advice on how schools can go about developing their own. 

Our speakers included transformative headteacher and radical reformer, Sir Anthony Seldon and one of the world’s foremost mindfulness experts, Professor Willem Kuyken 

We were also joined by colleagues from the Anna Freud Centre, the University of Exeter and the Department for Education. 

Mental health in schools – where next

Professor Willem Kuyken Director, University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre
Sir Anthony Seldon Former Headmaster of Wellington College
Dominic Herrington National Schools Commissioner
Professor Helen Dodd Professor of Child Psychology, University of Exeter
Jaime Smith Director of the Schools Division, Anna Freud Centre

Meet our past speakers

Willem Kuyken
University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre
Willem Kuyken
University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre

One of the world’s foremost mindfulness experts, Professor Kuyken is a Ritblat Professor of Mindfulness and Psychological Science and director of the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre. 

Professor Kuyken has been awarded the May Davidson award for outstanding contribution to the development of clinical psychology and was made a Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. He is currently leading a five-year study with the Wellcome Trust on the benefits of using mindfulness practices in schools.

Sir Anthony Seldon
Former headmaster and political historian
Sir Anthony Seldon
Former headmaster and political historian

A transformative headteacher and radical reformer, Sir Anthony pioneered wellbeing and happiness classes at Wellington College in 2006. He is of the firm belief that there is no more important task for schools than teaching wellbeing.  

At the core of wellbeing lessons is the idea that children leave school knowing more about who they are, what they want to do with their lives, how to manage and look after themselves and how to relate well to others and to their environment around them.

Ms Jaime Smith
Schools Division, Anna Freud Centre 
Ms Jaime Smith
Schools Division, Anna Freud Centre 

Jaime has worked in education all her life, starting as a secondary school teacher in London and working in local authorities to support children excluded from school.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools programme was established at the Anna Freud Centre under Jaime’s direction as was the Schools in Mind Network which has now engaged over 29,000 schools’ professionals.

Professor Helen Dodd
Child psychology, University of Exeter
Professor Helen Dodd
Child psychology, University of Exeter

Professor Dodd has been a prominent figure in the @playfirst campaign for schools to prioritise children’s play throughout the pandemic. She has an interest in the psychological benefits of free play, time in nature and time outdoors. 

Professor Dodd holds a UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship, which funds a program of work examining the relationship between children’s play and mental health. She was recently officially recognised by the British Psychology Society for her outstanding contribution to developmental psychology.

Dominic Herrington
National Schools Commissioner
Dominic Herrington
National Schools Commissioner

Dominic Herrington was appointed the national schools commissioner in 2019. He and his team of regional schools commissioners work closely with school leaders, teachers and governors to achieve the best education system possible for all children in England. 

Dominic was previously the regional schools commissioner for south east England and south London and has also led on a range of policies and programmes at the Department for Education including specialist schools, school improvement and 14 to 19 reform.

Matthew Hopkinson
Department for Education 
Matthew Hopkinson
Department for Education 

Matthew is deputy director of the Life Sills Division at the Department for Education. 

He is policy lead for pupil physical and mental wellbeing, incorporating policy on school approaches to pupil wellbeing support, relationships, sex and health education, anti-bullying and PE and school sport. 

Ms Alison Quinn
National Mental Health Lead
Ms Alison Quinn
National Mental Health Lead

Alison oversees the trust’s wellbeing strategy and is responsible for guiding our academies’ whole-community approach to mental health.

Her responsibilities include Mental Health First Aid training and she has designed and implemented personalised mental health curricula across the trust.

Prior to joining E-ACT, Alison worked as a social, emotional and mental health specialist advisory teacher. She is a qualified SENCo and has a masters in special and inclusive education.

Leanne Mahony
Former headteacher of Nechells E-ACT Academy
Leanne Mahony
Former headteacher of Nechells E-ACT Academy

Leanne is a regional education director and the former headteacher of Nechells E-ACT Academy in Birmingham.

Growing up in Nechells, our children face levels of deprivation amongst the highest in the country. Under Leanne’s leadership, unwavering focus on wellbeing led to the academy being shortlisted for the Wellbeing and mental health award at the prestigious Tes Schools Awards in 2021.

Jon Severs
Editor, Tes Magazine
Jon Severs
Editor, Tes Magazine

Jon is the editor of Tes Magazine. A household name in education, Tes is one of the largest professional communities in the world, connecting and supporting more than 13 million educators globally.

The source of the latest education news and advice, the Tes website attracts over two million visitors per month. With arguably the most active community of teachers in the world, Tes has been providing an invaluable service to schools for over 100 years.

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