Supporting Student Wellbeing in Independent Schools - Speakers

Tuesday 30 Apr 2019
ETC Venues- Victoria, London

Sarah Griffiths, Deputy Headteacher, Caterham School (Chair)

Sarah is a graduate in Mathematical Sciences from Jesus College, Oxford, she has previously taught at Dulwich College and Stowe School. Sarah has worked for a number of years promoting wellbeing in schools through pioneering work within schools and through lobbying and presenting on the topic. Sarah is deeply committed to pupil welfare, encouraging to a proactive, positive approach underpinned by community wide effort.

Dr Rina Bajaj, Schools Engagement Trainer, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

Rina is a School Engagement Trainer at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF). Rina is a Counselling Psychologist who has been working within the field of mental health since 2004. Rina has a diverse experience of working with children, adolescents and adults from a range of backgrounds. She has worked within the NHS, statutory organisations, the corporate world and the voluntary sector. In her role at the AFNCCF, Rina has delivered training to school professionals for nearly two years across England. She has been instrumental to developing and delivering schools-based interventions through the AFNCCF’s Schools in Mind network.

Helen Keevil, Assistant Headteacher, Epsom College

Helen is the Assistant Headteacher in charge of Pupil Welfare at Epsom College with a particular focus on e-safety & wellbeing. Helen oversees the pastoral work of the house staff, trains senior student digital mentors, peer mentors of various ages and delivers regular INSET to teachers, gap students, parents & matrons on pastoral issues, safeguarding & e-safety updates. She tutors pastoral leaders for the Boarding Schools Association, sitting on their Gender Agenda working party and enjoys raising awareness of positive mental health issues through local charity work.

Sarah Kessling, Training Team Leader & Specialist Trainer; Lets Talk Training

Sarah began her career teaching at the Royal National Institute for the Blind. This role sparked an interest in pastoral support and led to her completing an MSc in Psychological Well-being. She has delivered training for Harmless since 2015 and is a Master ASIST Instructor. Sarah has an interest in teaching, a passion for mental health, and personal experience of self-harm, suicide and mental health problems. This has led to her current role creating, delivering and managing Harmless’ training department. Sarah’s aim is to equip everyone with the confidence and skills to respond to and support someone in distress.

Mike Lamb, Director of Staff and Pupil Wellbeing, Hurstierpoint College

Mike spent many years running expeditions and projects internationally, being lucky enough to kayak the length of Lake Malawi, build sand dams in Kenya and work as an expedition guide in the Amazon. He has also worked as a Head of Year, Housemaster and is presently Director of Staff and Pupil Wellbeing at Hurstierpoint College, Sussex. He has developed and designed whole-school wellbeing programmes and believes these should be at the heart of every school.


Alan Mackenzie, Independent Online Safety Consultant

Alan is an independent consultant who has specialised in the area of online safety since 2007. Speaking in hundreds of schools and conferences every year, Alan is passionate about the positive and appropriate use of technology and the huge benefits that can be realised through global connectivity and collaboration; he believes that good digital skills are vital in order to help children and young people embrace the wonderful opportunities whilst mitigating the risks.


Simon Leigh, Addictions Counsellor

Simon trained as an addictions counsellor and has been both accredited by and an examiner for, the federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals. He qualified with a Masters Degree in Addiction Counselling and has previously run a rehab facility and had a private practice in Harley Street, London. He has provided hard hitting drug education to students, parents and staff at approximately 100 schools both in the UK and across Europe.

Dr Helen O'Connor, Psychologist, St Swithun's School

Following a Clinical Doctorate from Royal Holloway University in 2001 Helen developed a specialist interest in OCD and eating disorders and worked for 14 years within CAMHS and in her last position before leaving the NHS as the Lead Consultant Psychologist for a Psychological Therapies team within an adolescent inpatient unit

Fiona Parsons, Assistant Head, King Alfred School, London

Fiona has been in education first as an English Teacher, Head of Year and then as an Assistant Head Pastoral and Head of PSHE for over 12 years. She has been actively involved in pastoral care and the curriculum alongside strategic development of the pastoral approach across the school. She is deeply committed to developing excellent personal relationships with the pupils and passionate about integrating genuine student voice into the whole school system and curriculum.

Tracy Preston, Head of Counselling, King Alfred School, London

Tracy has been a counsellor for over 25 years in private practice – specialising on working with children from age 4-19. For the last 17 years she has been a counsellor at King Alfred School – an independent school in Hampstead which was one of the first schools to have full time counsellors on site for pupils. During this time she has developed a multi-disciplinary counselling practice at the school and has worked extensively with students with all types of issues including eating disorders and self-harm.

Oliver Welsby, Consultant, Trainer and Speaker, Brightcore Consultancy

Oliver has extensive experience as both a DSL and a Mental Health Lead. He has a master’s degree in educational leadership; a qualification in which he specialised in the management of safeguarding with a specific focus on the development of effective mental health strategies within schools.


Graham Yates, Deputy Head, St Swithun's

Graham is Deputy Head Pastoral at St. Swithun’s School having previously been Deputy Head Academic at Hampshire Collegiate School and Assistant Head at Kingston Grammar School. Prior to this he was PGCE Course Director at Brunel University and Geography PGCE Tutor. Across all of these roles Graham has worked with staff and students to help foster a positive and resilient attitude towards learning.