Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph School, Paola, recently signed a collaboration agreement with Minds Ahead, an award-winning English social enterprise that aims to revolutionise mental health in schools and colleges by developing an education workforce with the knowledge and skills to effectively support the mental health of pupils, staff, parents, and school leaders.

The agreement was signed after weeks of negotiations and discussions by the school’s headmaster Kenneth Vella and Dean Johnstone, Minds Ahead chief executive officer.

Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph School headmaster Kenneth VellaMater Boni Consilii St Joseph School headmaster Kenneth Vella

Vella said research had shown that COVID-19 and other challenges had definitely left a mark on people’s psychological and mental health, and educators and students were no exception. “Minds Ahead will be assisting our educational entity in supporting the mental health of our members of staff and the school community in general, not only through ongoing consultations but also through training of teachers, parents and students alike. We are also willing to extend the benefits of the agreement with other Maltese educational institutions.”

Vella pointed out that the agreement complemented other memoranda of understanding signed in the past years with other local and international entities, including Level Academy Malta, Warnbrough College UK, Learning Scoop Finland, Seppo Finland, and Mightifier Finland. “In the past years, thanks also to Mindfulness with Elaine, led by Elaine Azzopardi, we have also started to teach children during and after school hours how to practise mindfulness,” Vella commented.

Minds Ahead chief executive officer Dean JohnstoneMinds Ahead chief executive officer Dean Johnstone

Johnstone said there were a number of challenges to support the mental health and well-being of a school community. Over the past years, there was an increase in the level of poor mental health in students aged three to 18 due to the impacts of COVID-19. Meanwhile, educational establishments worldwide still lack suitably qualified staff to appropriately support students’ mental health. Children with poor mental health are those most likely to miss school and have the highest ‘unauthorised absence’ rate, meaning they could be at risk of harm.

He added: “Through this collaboration agreement with Mater Boni Consilii St Joseph, Paola, we will also have the opportunity to offer accredited programmes to Maltese educators; provide training to educators, parents and students on mental health; organise national conferences and webinars; and offer national professional learning development sessions to the Maltese community.

“Presently in the UK, there are over 2,000 schools and colleges using the various mental health programmes developed by Minds Ahead. This is also the result of the ongoing collaboration between Minds Ahead and our existing partners, including having UK Department for Education approved programmes for Senior Mental Health Leads.

In the UK, there are over 2,000 schools and colleges using the various mental health programmes developed by Minds Ahead- CEO Dean Johnstone

“Presently in England, there is a strong emphasis that all educational institutions should have a mental health specialist,” Johnstone added.

Vella said any educators and school leaders interested in obtaining more information about the services that will be offered by Minds Ahead in Malta may e-mail him at

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.