Postgraduate Diploma in Mental Health Practice in Educational Settings (EMHP)

The University of Sheffield has been commissioned to deliver training for Educational Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP) trainees working across Yorkshire and the Humber.


In line with the government’s priority to increase access and availability of mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people, the Education Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP) role is an exciting opportunity to deliver evidence-based early interventions for children and young people, working across both educational settings and healthcare sectors in England.  This programme is part of the national Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (CYP IAPT) initiative and is a joint initiative by Health Education England (HEE) and the Department of Education (DoE), and funded by HEE.

This Postgraduate Diploma is a new 120 credit Masters-Level training programme which the University of Sheffield first ran in 2020. The training programme for this post is 12 months in duration and consists of academic and supervised practice learning across mental health services and educational settings, such as primary and secondary schools, and further education colleges. 

On successful completion of training, trainee EMHPs will be equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge and capabilities to work as a qualified EMHP as autonomous and responsible practitioners within their scope of practice in the Mental Health Support Teams (MHST), alongside education colleagues.

The MHST have the responsibility for delivering schools’ overarching approach to providing mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people.

Course Information

Duration One Year
Start Date Mid-late February, Annually
Compulsory Modules All six modules
Workplace/ Placement All trainees will be employed by a MHST in their local area prior to beginning the course.
Entry Requirements The EMHP programme is only open to people employed within Mental Health Support Teams.
Qualifications Required Trainees require experience having worked with children and young people prior to applying and should possess an undergraduate degree or equivalent.
Course content (programme aims) During training, the successful post-holder works under supervision of a senior practitioner to gain experience across healthcare and educational settings to enable them to gain the level of competence required to deliver high-quality, evidence-based low intensity interventions for children and young people experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems.
Module Information

Module 1: Children & young people’s mental health settings: context and values

The module addresses general professional ethical issues and values pertinent to NHS and related care settings, and the requirement to work from an inclusive values base, which promotes recovery and recognises and respects diversity. The module explores the critical professional and ethical issues surrounding the assessment and treatment of mental health difficulties. Areas covered include staffing structures and roles within the NHS and relevant voluntary and local authority agencies; clinical governance issues regarding effectiveness, quality and confidentiality of service; ethical and legal aspects of clinical practice; management of clinical time and caseload; use of supervision and personal and professional development.

Module 2: Common Mental Health Problems in Children and Young People: Assessment and Engagement

This module will provide EMHPs with a good understanding of the incidence, prevalence and presentation of common mental health problems experienced by children and young people (CYP) and evidence-based treatment approaches and choices. The module will develop the EMHPs competency to assess and identify areas of difficulty and establish the main focus for change. This will include understanding the child in the context of their family, culture, wider social environment, developmental stage and temperament and within a diagnostic framework. EMHPs will also gain an understanding of routine outcome measures and standardised assessment tools and appropriate interventions.

 Module 3: Interventions for common mental health problems

This module will provide EMHPs with a good understanding of processes of therapeutic support and management of individual CYP and parents/carers experiencing anxiety, low mood or behavioural difficulties. Skills teaching will develop general and disorder-specific competencies in the delivery of low intensity treatments informed by cognitive-behavioural and social learning principles.

Module 4: Working, assessing and engaging in education settings

This module comprises two main areas: understanding the educational context and the assessment and engagement of CYP and their families specific to educational settings. The context includes legislative and policy frameworks. In addition to the skills learnt in Modules 1 and 2, EMHPs will learn engagement skills in school setting and with teachers and other education staff, understanding whole school approaches, observational and auditing skills and neurological development and learning problems. The underlying focus will be to support senior mental health team colleagues and schools develop an environment of safety, belonging and competence for students and staff.

Module 5: Common problems and processes in educational settings

This module considers the broader contexts that impact on CYP in their ability to engage in learning, including adverse experiences, trauma and the limits of CYP autonomy. An understanding of social and health statutory and community agencies and the role of the EMHP within these systems will be explored.

EMHPs will also promote the wellbeing of CYP within the school context. This will include implementing peer mentoring approaches, supporting classroom management and staff training.

Module 6: Interventions for emerging mental health difficulties in education settings

This module will consider 3 main interventions for parents/carers and school staff in relation to CYP emerging mental health difficulties. These are consultation skills, delivery of training, and psychological support to groups (CYP and/or education staff.)

How to apply

Applications to this programme may only be made through MHST services recruiting trainees and not directly through the University of Sheffield. Posts are typically advertised by services on NHS jobs websites or equivalent.


Delivery of the programme will be provided through a combination of two taught days per week (Weds & Thurs), self-guided study and experience gained from working within a MHST.

Teaching consists of two full days of lectures. Sessions include role play, practical exercises, and small group discussions. Guided independent study is also expected to take place.

You will be assessed through essays, observed assessments, presentation, recordings of clinical practice and a portfolio. Your clinical practice will also require sign off by your supervisor in practice.

Careers All trainees on the course will already be employed in an MHST

Information for Supervision and services

The course is run in parallel with a supervisors’ course, to enhance their competence to supervise EMHPs delivering low intensity CBT and Whole School approaches in the MHSTs. This is also funded by HEE. Applications for the supervisors course should be made by the MHST to the University once an EMHP trainee(s) has/have been identified. More information about this course can be found on the EMHP Supervisor course webpage.


Please direct your enquiries to the course administrator at