AXA UK&I partner with Teach First to build a resilient generation

2 June 2021

Posted in Partnerships

  • AXA and Teach First announce partnership to support youth mental health
  • AXA will deliver the Head Coaches training programme to teachers and leaders in the UK’s most disadvantaged communities
  • The AXA and Teach First partnership will train 150 teachers and pastoral leaders with the potential to reach 40,000 pupils

AXA and Teach First today announce a dedicated partnership to deliver the AXA Head Coaches programme in disadvantaged communities across England. The programme is a youth-focused mental health initiative designed to help teachers and pastoral leaders spot potential mental health issues with their pupils and signpost them to appropriate professional help.

Before COVID-19, one in eight young people suffered with mental health issues (NHS, 2017)1 and teachers were the most commonly cited professional service (48.5%) in supporting young people with mental health worries (NHS, 2019)2. By partnering with Teach First and supporting educators to look out for the signs of mental ill health, AXA will support those in the most disadvantaged areas to get pupils the support they need and tackle inequality in the education system.

AXA’s Head Coaches programme, delivered by AXA Health clinicians and experts, will train teachers and pastoral leaders working with young people as Youth Mental Health First Aid Champions, providing them with the skills and confidence to spot common signs and triggers of mental health issues and help pupils seek further support. The trained Youth Mental Health First Aid Champions will be equipped with appropriate resources to guide those in need to further professional help from charities and organisation such as Childline, doctors or health workers or support from within their school.

Conducted online, through a mix of presentations, discussions and activities, the course explores how to identify symptoms of mental ill health, how to start supportive conversations and listen non-judgementally as well as providing initial help, signposting and guidance towards appropriate professional help and tools to protect themselves whilst performing their role.

The pilot programme, which will run in Autumn 2021 and February 2022, is set to train 150 teachers and pastoral leaders, with a potential reach to 40,000 pupils. From there, Teach First will further extend the programme to many more schools, increasing the impact and reach to communities in need of support.

“We believe that when it comes to mental health, we’re all in it together. That’s why we’re pleased to have partnered with Teach First to offer support to those who are best placed to provide it. Working together, we can train teachers and leaders through our AXA Head Coaches programme to become Youth Mental Health First Aid Champions for the pupils who need them the most, ensuring young people’s mental health and wellbeing is prioritised alongside their education.”

Claudio Gienal, Chief Executive Officer, AXA UK & Ireland

“Maintaining good mental health is vital for a young person’s wellbeing and their ability to thrive at school. The pandemic has been extremely challenging for some young people and it’s more important than ever that we equip teachers and leaders with the training they need to support them and put them in touch with appropriate mental health professionals. We’re delighted to be working with AXA to deliver this initiative and we believe it will have a positive impact for thousands of pupils across the country.”

Russell Hobby, Chief Executive Officer, Teach First

AXA Head Coaches was developed as a component of AXA’s partnership with Liverpool Football Club (LFC) as Official Training Partner. The programme has so far trained 56 staff from the LFC Foundation (LFC’s official charity) as Youth Mental Health First Aid Champions and together they reached over 28 thousand children last season.

To find out more about AXA’s Head Coaches programme, visit our Helping society to share page.

1 Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, PowerPoint Presentation (, NHS 2017

2 Guidance - Mental health and wellbeing: JSNA toolkit 5. Children and young people - GOV.UK (, NHS 2019 update