Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive, Weston College

Practically everyone you chat to - is now aware of mental health struggles. This is a massive step forward no question and no doubt accelerated by COVID19, which has firmly put the topic under the proverbial lockdown magnifying glass. Progress indeed, but what is the solution?  

As the Principal at Weston, I have been pioneering and investing in an education based mental health support service for both our students and our staff for some time, and it is the staff initiatives in terms of organisational workforce development  that I wanted to share today with FE News readers and leaders of education.

As an Investor in People Platinum organisation, I wanted to create a sustainable wellbeing workforce development model, that would not only survive this pandemic (and others that follow), but one that would also ensure our staff are supported even on the brightest of days, because as mental health practitioners will tell you - mental ill health is highly unpredictable and we never quite understand what is going on in a person’s mind. You may be adept at seeming to be flourishing on the outside - but is important that we all have the time to explore and reflect on our inner selves.

This is why at Weston, we have developed the concept of the ‘Staff Wellbeing MOT’ in conjunction with our mental health practitioners and welfare staff, where staff are able to take 45 mins for themselves to connect virtually with a specialist therapist or mental health specialist to work through and talk about how they are feeling in order to locate strategies that could be useful to navigate their current emotions and state of wellbeing.

The MOT does not prescribe a specific approach and has a recognition that one size does not fit all. It is a fluid and adaptable process dependent on individual need. The focus of the MOT is to support, offer guidance and provide solution focused communication and collaboration. The staff MOT has been a key focus of our Let’s Chat initiative, introduced using the College Collaboration Fund in partnership with Gateshead College, which has allowed our  positive workforce culture of wellness to grow, recognising that all staff should take the time within the working day to look after their own wellbeing.

Staff have been encouraged to take up the Let’s Chat opportunities and access specific training that develops positive wellbeing as well as access the Let’s Chat website and take some time for themselves to explore and find effective mechanisms to holistically improve their own wellness. Upskilling students and staff with the knowledge and tools to tackle the daily challenges we face has been a key focus for 20/21 at our college. To date we have had over 800 staff attend various wellbeing CPD activities such as Emotional Literacy workshops or achieving Mental Health First Aid certification (MHFA)        

At Weston, an education based triage mental health support service is becoming a reality, and I would urge government to consider future funding to support Colleges and Schools to capacity build with mental health expertise, in order to make education based mental health support a reality across the UK.

Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive, Weston College

You may also be interested in these articles:

Learnings from the Party conferences #EdgyThinking Livestream 5

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page