Schools Mental Health Fund and procurement advice
In 2021, all schools were advised of their indicative Schools Mental Health Fund (Fund) allocations until 2024 through the . The Fund is allocated directly to government schools through SRP cash and credit allocations. The Fund will be released annually in line with the 3-year roll-out schedule and in line with regular SRP timelines (indicative, confirmed and revised SRP cycle).
The funding model comprises:
- $25,000 base allocation amount for all schools
- additional enrolments-based funding for schools with 201+ students
- a 10% additional loading for rural and regional schools. This is in response to the Royal Commission’s call for a particular focus on rural and regional schools
- a moderately higher per student rate for primary school settings (applied after enrolment threshold is reached). This is in response to the Royal Commission’s recognition that secondary schools are typically larger and many already have access to several department-funded mental health programs (including Mental Health Practitioners, GPs in schools, headspace counselling)
- a 70/30 credit/cash split acknowledging the implementation priorities for the Fund and Menu.
The following arrangements apply. Schools:
- must only use their Fund allocation to purchase programs, staff or resources from the Menu
- may use a component of their Fund allocation to fund relief teachers to enable school staff to attend professional learning or other activities related to implementation of the Menu
- can use additional funds to purchase programs, staff or resources from the Menu, for example Equity Funding (social disadvantage or catch up)
- must spend and acquit their Fund allocation during the calendar year the funding was received.
Reporting and acquittal
The department’s captures school intentions to use the Fund and Menu. Schools are required to identify planned activities that utilise Menu items and planned Fund expenditure within schools’ annual implementation plans (AIPs).
Schools can also report on their progress in implementing funded activities via SPOT, in line with existing AIP processes. The funding planner supports schools to consider how they will use allocated Equity Funding, Disability Inclusion Tier 2 Funding and Schools Mental Health Fund and Menu.
- receive the best value for money offering
- have the required oversight in place to monitor service quality and other specifications
- comply with legislative and procurement policy requirements.
All procurement documentation must be stored by schools for audit purposes. Resources and templates are available to support schools to meet their procurement obligations at each step, and this includes procedural advice on procurement thresholds.
If schools choose to employ new staff or extend current staff to support their mental health and wellbeing priorities as part of this initiative, advice on important considerations regarding eligibility and suitability can be found at . The (staff login required) assists schools to understand the skills and qualifications necessary for staff to be employed in schools when using the Fund. To contract a health service or mental health professional to provide mental health services to students, schools can use the (staff login required). More information on engaging staffing, including mental health professionals, can be found in the (staff login required).
Schools may choose to collaborate with other schools to address common mental health and wellbeing objectives. Pooling funding may help schools to:
- access programs, staff or resources from the Menu that are beyond the reach of a single school’s allocation, yet are identified as a collective need by multiple schools in a local area
- support a larger community-focused initiative that needs sustained support to result in long-term practice change
- strengthen links with local schools and other education settings, enabling a more collaborative approach to identifying and meeting the needs of children and families in the local community.
Reviewed 31 July 2023