Pooky’s INSET pick and mix! 

In order to help you get the most out of my visit to your school, I’ve put together a menu of the topics I’m most often asked to talk about. We start the day with a full staff session so that everybody receives some mental health training.  This is followed up by two workshops which can be attended by as few or as many staff as you wish.  Staff can attend either or both workshops.  


I’ve developed this pick and mix approach to enable you to learn about a range of topics during my time with you and also to fit around your other INSET day activities.  I understand that some staff have limited time to learn about mental health and might just attend the morning keynote, whilst other staff might attend multiple sessions.


Timings and content are flexible and can be adapted to suit – the suggestions below are to try and take as much of the headache out of your planning as possible.  


You will be provided with electronic versions of all the materials which you can use as you wish; additionally, I will follow up our INSET by sharing a range of videos which summarise the learning which can be used to refresh or cascade the learning.  Again, you are welcome to use these as you wish. 


Please note, all sessions can be run as a standalone twilight session if desired and if you want to deep dive into a topic we can run longer sessions – up to a full day.


Suggested timings:

9.30 – 10.30: Opening Keynote – Choose Keynote A, B or C – all staff

11.00 – 12:30: Workshop 1 – choose workshop A- J – relevant staff

1.30pm – 3.00pm: Workshop 2 – choose workshop A- J – relevant staff

3.00pm to 3.30pm: Q&A session for interested staff




Keynote sessions – pick one.. 


Keynote 1:Mental Health Masterclass

This session is a practical introduction suitable for all staff including all your non-teaching staff and can be a great way to kick off your INSET day.  This session will give staff the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to spot the early warning signs that a pupil needs support with their mental health and to take appropriate first steps.  


Suitable for: all staff, all phases.  Designed to be run as a full staff INSET session



Keynote 2: Promoting resilience in the face of adversity

During this session, Pooky will summarise a simple, evidence-based approached to promoting resilience in the face of adversity.  You’ll learn about the evidence underpinning the approach and how the 4Ps of parents, peers, problem-solving and passion can be used as a framework for promoting resilience in the children in your care. This can be followed up with workshop 3 if some colleagues would like to go into more depth. 


This can be run as a big session taught theatre style – ideally all staff should attend this session. It can be followed up with workshop 3 to go more in depth if desired.


Suitable for: all staff, all phases.  Designed to be run as a full staff INSET session



Keynote 3: 5 Small Ways to make a big difference to pupil wellbeing

This session will really get you thinking about the little things that you can do every day that can have a significant impact on pupil wellbeing and mental health.  The session is designed to inspire colleagues to action and provides plenty of opportunity for both reflection and planning and plenty of practical ideas that you can put into practice right away.  


Suitable for: all staff, all phases.  Designed to be run as a full staff INSET session






Workshops – pick two..


Workshop A: 8 Practical strategies for supporting pupils who are struggling

This workshop is aimed at staff who are supporting students who are struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, self-harm or other distressing or challenging behaviours. The workshop is entirely practical and runs through 8 practical strategies that colleagues can use right away to support the students in their care.  


Suitable for – all staff, all phases



Workshop B: Teaching about mental health issues safely and sensitively

This workshop is aimed at anyone who will be teaching or talking to pupils about mental health issues as part of PSHE or pastoral provision.  Pooky will walk you through the dos and don’ts of safe teaching and help colleagues build the skills and understanding to tackle tricky topics confidently.  We’ll also explore recommended resources and discuss how to quality assure resources and visiting speakers as part of your provision. 


Suitable for – teaching and pastoral staff, especially those delivering PSHE, all phases



Workshop C: Resilience Building – developing simple child-centred action plans

If you opted for keynote 2 then during this workshop, you’ll have the chance to apply your learning from the morning keynote and consider how best to tailor the 4Ps approach to resilience to meet the needs of the children in your care.  You’ll learn how to recognise and build on risk and protective factors, and tailor simple child-centred plans of action. 


Suitable for – all staff, especially pastoral and support staff, all phases


Alternatively, this can be run as a 90-minute session incorporating the content from both the lecture and the workshop.



Workshop D: Understanding and responding to self-harm

Self-harm is increasingly prevalent, yet many colleagues report not really understanding it and worrying they’ll make things worse if they try to support a pupil.  During this workshop, Pooky will answer the many questions you have about the what, why and what next of self-harm, both aiding your understanding and enabling you to help the pupils in your care – without fear of doing harm.


Suitable for – all staff, all phases



Workshop E: Promoting staff wellbeing – practical strategies for line managers

During this session, we consider the importance of staff wellbeing and look at practical steps we can take to promote wellbeing in the school environment. We’ll consider the relationship between work and wellbeing, how to promote wellbeing  and the role of line managers.  We’ll think specifically about how middle and senior leaders can take a role in promoting wellbeing and what they should do if they’re concerned about a team member.


Suitable for – line managers, all phases



Workshop F: Beyond behaviour: Understanding and responding to challenging behaviours 

During this practical workshop, we’ll explore a range of challenging behaviours commonly seen in younger children.  We’ll consider what might underlie these behaviours and explore what the child might be telling us.  We’ll consider a range of behaviours including angry outbursts, scratching and biting, self-harm, eating difficulties, school refusal, social withdrawal and soiling.  We’ll learn about the links between behaviour, wellbeing and mental health and explore the difference between a punitive and inquisitive response, and consider when and how each should be used


Suitable for – all staff, early years, primary or middle school settings



Workshop G: Practical strategies for reducing exam stress

In this workshop we explore exam stress and the steps we can take to support all pupils to achieve to the best of their ability without having their performance reduced by stress and anxiety.  We’ll consider how to support pupils to help themselves, the role of parents, what we should and shouldn’t be doing to support and finally how to recognise the red flags that a young person needs more significant support with their mental health. 


Suitable for – all staff, primary or secondary and FE versions available



Workshop H: Supporting students with eating disorders

This session will help you to gain a better understanding of eating disorders and how and why they develop. You’ll learn the early warning signs and what to do next as well as considering how to support the needs of pupils currently receiving treatment for or in recovery from an eating disorder. This can be adapted to meet your current requirement and can include ideas for supporting mealtimes, adapting academic expectations, supporting return to school and appropriate engagement in sport. 


Suitable for – all staff, all phases



Workshop I: Recognising and supporting the mental health needs of young people with special or additional needs

Whilst the incidence of mental health issues is often higher in young people with special or additional needs than their peers, these needs can often be overlooked, or assumed to be part of other diagnosed conditions.  During session, we’ll look to improve our understanding of and response to a range of mental health issues in young people with special or additional needs.  


Suitable for – all staff, all phases



Workshop J: Meeting the mental health needs of every learner – whole school audit and action plan

This session enables you to take a look at how well your school is currently meeting the mental health needs of students and staff and explores practical next steps to build on current strengths and address areas of challenge.  We’ll consider the school ethos and environment, how well the needs of vulnerable pupils are being met and whether the school currently has practical policies and procedures in place that are actually being utilised. Designed to act as the springboard for school improvement, this session works best when staff come with an open mind ready to celebrate what’s working well and challenge what isn’t. 


Suitable for – all staff all phases, especially middle and senior leaders including governors



About the trainer - Dr Pooky Knightsmith

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, social care 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 or LinkedIn




Terms & Conditions

Costs:I charge a standard fee of £1200 per day or part thereof. I do not charge VAT. Standard additional expenses include travel @45p /mile from Croydon or standard air fare & accommodation if required.  


Cancellation:For cancellations made up to 14 days ahead of an event, payment is due in full.  For cancellations made 15 to 30 days ahead of an event, 50% of the payment is due.  


Payment:As standard I invoice after the event has successfully run and kindly request payment within 30 days of invoicing. I can invoice either partially or fully ahead of your event if preferred.