02381 120 010 info@rootofit.com


Judges at the award ceremony.

This years judges.

The Mental Health in Education Awards are proud to have the support of a number of national organisations. The judges between them have hundreds of years of inclusion experience and give their time voluntarily in order to recognise excellence.

Richard Daniel Curtis.

CEO, The Mental Health Tick & The Root Of It

Richard is the Founder of The Root Of It.  Having spent years working with children with severe behavioural difficulties, as the local authority cuts hit Richard left his local authority post in order to set up a school improvement and special needs service for schools.  The Root Of It was founded in May 2013 in the South East and has expanded nationally to be able to provide professionals to schools.  Winners of the Best New Business Award at the 2014 Entrepreneurs Convention and the Gold Award at the Scoot Headlines Awards 2015 the team is recognised as the national go to team for school support, providing schools with an alternative to local authorities across the UK.  Taking an innovative approach to providing support for schools, The Mentoring School have developed national Mentor qualifications, including course for learning mentors in education and workplace mentors. 

Dr Rona Tutt OBE.

Former president of National Association of Head Teachers

Rona has taught across the age range in state and independent, day and residential, mainstream and special schools. She is a former President of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and continues to be involved in their work, including being a member of the Association’s SEND Council. This gives her the opportunity to work with members involved in early years to post-16 education and across the continuum of SEND provision, including specialist support services and alternative provision. She is a founder member and chair of the National Forum for Neuroscience and Special Education (NFNSE) which is hosted by the Association.

Rona represents the NAHT on the Special Education Consortium (SEC) and the National SEND Forum (NSENDF), both of which provide opportunities for working with parent organisations, and across education, health and social care. Rona has been a winner of the Leadership in Teaching Award, received an Outstanding Reviewer Award for her work on the International Journal of Educational Management and was awarded an OBE for her services to special needs education.

Rona is vice chair of governors at two schools that take an innovative approach to children’s learning; an all-age school for profoundly deaf pupils and a secondary school for pupils with MLD, ASD and SLCN. Since moving on from headship, she has written and co-authored a number of books, including The SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 years – Policy, Provision & Practice (2015) and Rona Tutt’s Guide to SEND and Inclusion (2016). She was the writer for the DfE-funded project, Making it Personal – A Guide to Personalisation, Personal Budgets and EHC Plans, which is published KIDS, the charity supporting disabled children, young people and their families.

Since moving on from headship, Rona has been much in demand as a speaker, writer, reviewer and judge. She is a Fellow of UCL’s Centre for Inclusive Education (CIE).

Yvonne Monaghan.


Yvonne is Head of Consultancy at Nurture UK and has been working with children who exhibit social, emotional and behavioural needs for nearly 30 years, within both primary and secondary special school settings. She was previously the coordinator for social emotional, mental health and wellbeing (SEMH) for the targeted Education Support services working  with and supporting mainstream and special schools in Wigan Local Authority.  Yvonne has been involved with developing and supporting nurture groups for many years, a passion that was inspired by Marion Bennathan’s keynote at a conference held 14 years ago. A few years ago Yvonne completed her MA focusing on the use of the six principles of nurture.

In her spare time Yvonne is an avid fell walker and climber and spends a lot of her spare time in the Lake District.

Deidre Costigan.


Deirdre is UNISON’s National Officer for Disability Equality. UNISON is the UK’s largest trade union with over 1.3m members, including members who work in schools, further and higher education. Deirdre focuses on organising disabled staff and developing bargaining resources to encourage employers to implement workplace policies such as reasonable adjustments and disability leave. She also leads on UNISON’s disability equality campaigns in employment and broader society. UNISON is a campaigning union and has been part of the trade union and civil society campaign against cuts to SEND provision. In her spare time Deirdre is also a Labour Councillor and a local school governor.

Nicola Bailey.

BSc (Hons), QTS, NPQH, MEd, BPS

During Nic’s career in education that spans over 20 years she has occupied various roles and different levels. Currently as an Assistant Headteacher in the West Midlands she is responsible for SEND and inclusion. She is also a DSL and strategic Mental Health lead and facilitates training on First Aid for Mental Health, Safeguarding, Inclusion, neurodiversity, and Racial Equity.

In 2021 Nic became one of the regional coordinators for BAMEed West Midlands and in recent years she has harnessed her attention on issues that directly impact the Mental health and well-being of Global Majority children and staff in the education sector and the implications this has on Safeguarding.

Currently Nic is actively involved in creating a community for dialogue to inform and transform the interconnected links between education, SEND, race, SEMH, Wellbeing and Safeguarding.

Sylvia Jenkins.


Catch us at this years Mental Health Shows in Peterborough, Find out more.