Richard Vaughan, Deputy Director of Life Skills, Department for Education

Richard Vaughan is the Deputy Director at the Department for Education, and is responsible for policy on Life Skills, which covers Mental Health in schools; Anti- Bullying; Personal, Social, Health and Economic education; Relationships and Sex Education, PE and school sport; and Citizenship education.

Richard is a career civil servant and has over 20 years’ experience, working in various departments on a range of policy issues. This included leading the 2008 CAMHS Review with Dame Jo Davidson. Richard has a great fondness of engaging with stakeholders as this enables him to get a real sense of how current policy is being received, and how it can be improved.


Caroline Hounsell, Director of Partnerships, MHFA England

Caroline was one of the first MHFA England Instructors to be trained and joined MHFA England’s national training team in 2007, taking on a role as national Quality Assurance Lead in 2012. In 2015 she was appointed into a new role as MHFA England’s Director of Business and Partnerships, which subsequently evolved into her current role as Director Partnerships of Product Development and Training.

During her time at MHFA England, Caroline has been involved with the design, content development and writing across a range of MHFA courses, including Workplace MHFA courses. Caroline has delivered MHFA training to numerous large organisations, including NHS England and Public Health England and sits on several key mental health governance groups spanning statutory and voluntary sectors. 

Caroline leads on the Youth in Schools programme announced by Prime Minister Theresa May that will bring MHFA into every secondary school in the country between 2017-2020. She also has lived experience of being a young carer for a family member who had mental health issues. 

As an accredited British Association Counselling Psychotherapist (BACP) qualified in 2006, Caroline draws on the experience gained through her private practice working with clients from a range of backgrounds to further develop her knowledge and skills as a mental health professional.


Dr Pooky Knightsmith, Mental Health Author and Educator; Vice Chair, Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition

An internationally respected face of child and adolescent mental health, Pooky works tirelessly to ‘be the change she wants to see’. A prolific keynote speaker, lecturer, trainer and author, she develops and shares practical, evidence-informed approaches to promoting mental health – arming health and education staff with the skills, information and knowledge they need to support the children in their care; whilst also working hard to drive collaboration and change at a national and international level amongst politicians and charity, business and service leads. 


Pooky has a PhD in child mental health from the Institute of Psychiatry, is the author of five books and is the current vice chair of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition.  She’s also a Mum of two who works hard every day to win her own battles against PTSD, anorexia, self-harm and depression.


You can follow Pooky on TwitterYouTube, InstagramFacebook

Twitter: @Pookyh

Instagram: @PookyH





Kirsten Brown, Headteacher, Gilbrook School, Liverpool 

Kirsten Brown is currently the Head of School for an outstanding primary school for pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties; inspected in November 2017.  The school uses a non-confrontational approach to behaviour management for pupils and has developed a curriculum aimed at promoting mental health.

Kirsten has taught within this sector for 23 years and been in senior leadership for 13 years.  She works with CAMHs to support other schools and agencies.  The school accelerator school for Mental Health Support.  Kirsten also works closely with partner agencies in order to promote safeguarding and non-confrontational approaches to behaviour management.


Emma Tyer, Wellbeing mentor, The King’s School, Gloucester

Emma is the Well-being mentor at the Kings’ School Gloucester. She works with junior and senior pupils, and  also staff, helping  to develop resilience, grow confidence, set goals and achieve them. Emma is a trained, accredited life coach, with 28 years’ experience helping groups and individuals to reconnect with what is important to them, encouraging them to have confidence in who they are and courage to be who they want to be. Emma is also the founder and CEO of Ronan’s Trust – a small local charity that offers support to bereaved families through gardening and being creative.


Mandy Phillips, Deputy Head (Pastoral), The King’s School, Gloucester

Mandy is the Deputy Head Pastoral at The King’s School, Gloucester. She has been a games teacher for 27 years, with 20 of those at King’s! She works closely with a team of Heads of Year, tutors, Welfare Supervisors and the Well-being Mentor to support all pupils from a pastoral perspective. Promoting well-being, supporting pupils with mental health difficulties and giving tools to develop resilience has been a huge aspect of her role in recent years.


Shahana Knight, Director Of Services, TPC Therapy LTD

Shahana Knight is the director of TPC Therapy Ltd, a mental health and well-being service for children. She is a clinical play therapist, sits on a fostering panel and works all over England delivering CPD training, workshops and classroom sessions to professionals and parents in multiple fields including schools, fostering and adoption.


Claire Bardner, founding member, The Holding Collective

Claire Bardner moved into the charity sector after a successful career in marketing, becoming an award-winning inventor and social entrepreneur. Claire evaluated and developed strategy for War Child UK's schools programme and was Network Development Officer at the Association of Charitable Organisations supporting benevolent funds. Claire is now on a mission with Katy to promote and embed therapeutic services in UK schools. She has extensive experience in CYP mental health and has particular interest in NPD as it relates to domestic abuse, coercive control and trauma. Claire is also developing pioneering Zero Suicide PSHE resources for schools with Katy.


Katy Whitney, Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Highgate Primary School, and founding member, The Holding Collective

Katy Whitney, founding member of The Holding Collective trained as an adult counsellor and has been working therapeutically with children and families for ten years.

Katy works in schools developing therapeutic, pastoral and safeguarding interventions. In November 2017, Katy and the team at Highgate Primary School won The Guardian’s Public Service Award in the category of Health and Well-being.

Katy has recently delivered a lecture at The Royal Society of Medicine’s Innovations Summit.

During her training as a Humanistic Counsellor, Katy specialised in working with adults affected by bereavement and completed three years as an honorary counsellor within the NHS.


Rachael Hill, Wellbeing Manager, Wymondham College

Rachael has 27 year’s work experience working with young people and adults with Mental Health issues, drug and alcohol dependency and spent 10 years working in a Homeless Outreach team.

Rachael’s current role has been to set up a Wellbeing service at Wymondham College which currently has 3 staff, Rachael Hill, Sue Kelly & Lucinda Labrum


Sue Kelly, Registered Mental Health Nurse, Wymondham College

Sue is a Registered Mental Health nurse. She has 20 years of work experience working within H.M. Prison Service delivering care which involved assessing, care planning during custody and release with Mental Health needs.  Sue has also worked as a Crisis Worker (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) for the Police.

Sue’s current role on site at Wymondham College is assessing the Mental Health needs of young people and is able to provide early intervention, and mental health awareness as part of the unique Wellbeing Service. 


Lucinda Labrum, Counsellor, Wymondham College

Lucinda works creatively using art and pets as part of her therapeutic practice. Lucinda supports students using nature as much as possible in her work.

Wymondham College has a unique and diverse population with 1,350 children on roll. Wymondham College is a state school with boarding facilities.


Dr Bryn Williams, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Williams Independent Psychological Consultancy

Dr Bryn Williams is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Director of WIPC UK and Clinical Director of Psychologware.  He works with clients with a range of needs including mental health, attachment disorders and neurodeveloomental difficulties.  He is part of an initiative introducing Spencer.Education to schools to improve access for teachers looking to support mental health and psychological well-being with pupils.


Marius Frank, National Achieving Wellbeing Programme Lead, Achievement for All

Following a stellar career as teacher, head teacher and CEO of ASDAN Education and then finally joining Achievement for All (AfA) in 2015.  Marius has spent the last year leading content development for Achievement for All’s newest programme called “Achieving Wellbeing”.  His work has involved creating a comprehensive set of complementary strategies and approaches to unlock academic progress and lifelong achievement by improving emotional wellbeing and mental health in education settings.  The Programme is proving very popular with primary and secondary settings; also with Virtual Headteachers who see value in improving outcomes for Children Looked After.


Anne Cameron, CLA and Virtual Headteacher Programme Development Manager, Achievement for All

AfA’s CLA Development Manager, Anne Cameron has led charity activity focused on CLA and previous CLA for the last three years and successfully managed relationships with 14 VSH and LACE teams in England and Wales in partnership with our Regional Leads. She established a Designated Teacher Hub in Croydon and supported its transition to virtual school management, a model currently being replicated in partnership with the virtual school in Northumberland.


Eileen Sheerin, Headteacher, Ashcroft School, Cheshire

Eileen Sheerin is an award winning headteacher of Ashcroft School in Cheadle. Joining the school as deputy head in 2008, Eileen soon became headteacher in 2011. Students at Ashcroft School have significant barriers to learning, negative views of education due to experiences and often have had long periods of absence from school. Eileen has a successful track record of reengaging her students with education and supporting them into further education and employment. She attributes her success to a holistic and nurturing approach to learning.