School operations

Mental Health Fund and Menu

Schools Mental Health Fund and procurement advice

The Schools Mental Health Fund (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.

More information on the how the Fund is calculated through SRP can be found on the Student Resource Package – Targeted Initiatives page.

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 Strategic Online Planning Tool (SPOT)External Link 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.

Schools are supported to acquit fund spending with project codes for salary and cash expenditure in CASES21. The Schools Mental Health Fund: instructions for reporting expenditure (DOCX)External Link is a step-by-step guide on reporting credit and cash expenditure.


Schools are expected to follow the Rules of use when using their Fund allocation to purchase from the Menu. Following the Rules of use will support schools to ensure they:

  • 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.

Engaging staff

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 Recruitment in Schools. The Skills checklist (PDF)External Link (staff login required) assists schools to understand the skills and qualifications necessary for staff to be employed in schools when using the Fund. All professionals working in schools should be engaged according to the department’s employment protocols.

To contract a health service or mental health professional to provide mental health services to students, schools can use the School council health services agreement (DOCX)External Link (staff login required). More information on engaging staffing, including mental health professionals, can be found in the Procurement rules of use (DOCX)External Link (staff login required).

Aggregated buying

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.

Advice on how schools can pool funding or enter an aggregated buying arrangement are available at Rules of useExternal Link (staff login required).

Guidance chapter outlining the funding model for the Schools Mental Health Fund and Menu and procurement advice

Reviewed 27 March 2024

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