Specialists in well-being and mental health in schools

Dearnis (meaning compassion) is a small company operating in schools in the Midlands.  We are extremely passionate, have a wealth of experience and are committed to nurturing and improving the well-being and mental health of both staff and students within the school environment.

In a warm and humourous yet professional style, we offer expert training and interventions, specifically tailored to meet the needs and requirements of the individual schools that we work in.

Rory Cahill BA (Hons), PCGE, MSc. Company Director

Rory is a fully qualified Teacher and also a qualified counsellor/psychotherapist up to Masters level. He has a significant amount of experience working within both roles in both Primary and Secondary settings. His therapeutic background is integrative, with a particular interest in compassion-focused therapy and positive psychologies. Rory is currently undertaking a Ph.D around compassion-focused therapy in schools under the supervision of Professor Paul Gilbert.
Rory is a dynamic, inspirational and well respected professional who is held in high regard by both the children and adults he works with.

Liz Coltman BA (Hons), PGCE, MA. Company Director

Liz is also a fully qualified Teacher and qualified counsellor/psychotherapist up to Masters level. She has almost 20 years experience of working within both roles within secondary schools. Her subject specialism is in Drama and she also manages transition. Her therapeutic background is integrative with a special interest in person-centred, attachment and cognitive-behavioural approaches.
Liz is a well loved professional and is renowned for building and maintaining positive and inspirational relationships with the children she works with.


What we can offer your school…

Staff Training and Interventions

We can offer one off, or a series of between 3 and 20 training/well-being sessions around mental health and well-being for staff working within your school.  Our informative, friendly and interactive sessions include the following:


National and local Information about current research around mental health and well-being in schools


A space where to learn accessible and effective therapeutic techniques around how staff can work both collaboratively and individually to manage their own well-being, mental health and stress levels


Training into how to spot mental health issues emerging within the young people you work with and how to best work with them, in a variety of contexts


Training and resources around delivering lessons on mental health and well-being to your students in the classroom


Ongoing group or individual well-being interventions and/or therapy

Student Training and Interventions

Again, these are just examples of the work we are currently doing.  Don’t forget that we will design and tailor training and intervention to specifically meet the needs of your school and your students! 


Year group interventions specifically tailored.  For example, Year 11: Aiming high whilst managing stress and anxiety; Key stages 2 and 3; Developing resilience; Year 6: Excelling throughout transition.  Many other types of interventions can be designed specifically for your students upon request 


A series of ongoing sessions for specific groups, e.g. students struggling with anxiety/anger/low self-efficacy/depression/family breakdowns etc. In addition we can offer targeted sessions for larger socio-economic groups including disadvantaged students.


Interactive assemblies delivered informing and promoting positive mental health and well-being for all students


Regular counselling sessions for individuals 

Context for Need: The Research

Sadly, mental health and well-being issues are becoming far more more frequent and the need for effective training and intervention at a school level is required more than ever.  NSPCC research conducted recently found that requests for CAMHS had increased by a third during the 2017/18 academic year – with referrals averaging 183 per day.  In addition, teacher recruitment and retention is in crisis, with over 4000 teacher training places left unfilled this academic year.  (NUT 2018)  A DfE  paper, released in March found that a combination of reasons often contributed to teaching staff leaving the profession, but with stress cited as a main contributing factor.

At Dearnis, we are so incredibly passionate about making a difference within the schools that we work in.  We are also very aware that schools are very different to each other in terms of what they do and where they are at in supporting students and staff.  This is why we pride ourselves in designing our work with the individual school’s needs and requirements at the forefront.  We know that one size definitely does not fit all here and we will work hard to design and provide the correct training and interventions to meet the specific objectives and deliver the outcomes required by your school exclusively.

What could we do for your students and staff?


Understanding our moods, thought-processes and emotions is essential in managing our own well-being and mental health. Our work consistently allows opportunities for individuals to reflect on and explore their emotions and their own personal psychology.


An abundance of accessible, practical and enjoyable
techniques are embedded within our training and resources. These are taken from a number of psychological models including person-centred, cognitive-behavioural and compassion-focused therapies.


Recognising, understanding and applying our strengths as individuals is key to a happy and successful life, both within work and personal contexts. We take time to educate our clients about the power of re-writing our own personal narratives, whilst allowing space for change. We look at how our negative internal dialogues are often very restrictive and offer simple methods by which we can change them so they become optimistic, helpful and build upon our existing strengths and positive qualities.


The ethos within the compassion-focused model (and ultimately projected within school) highlights how we must develop compassion in terms of boundaries, growth and belief in ourselves and others. We must do what it takes to ensure that people are playing their part in ensuring that all parties are on track to being the very best versions of themselves.


A fundamental key to positive well-being and personal success is largely due to how we relate to others. Within our work, we explore how all parties can get the very best out of relationships throughout the school.


Building resilience underpins much of the work we do. Our approach and techniques allow individuals to feel inspired, motivated and more ready to embrace change and challenge.


What Our Clients Say…

As someone that suffers with anxiety, I can often find it difficult to stop worrying and find the positives. Throughout the past few weeks, I have found that the work from Liz and Rory has really benefitted helping me find the positives and find different strategies to remain in-control of my emotions. You can walk into any session feeling a variety of different emotions; sad, restless, stressed. But, rest-assured, you will always leave with a smile on your face and a sense of joy in your belly. They’re like the Ant & Dec of well-being! Thank you both

Rebecca Mason

Teacher of Drama, The Roundhill Academy

I have worked with both Rory and Liz on different things and both have helped me massively throughout my journey at school.  They are both caring and vibrant characters who want the best for others which has been shown with their constant determination to improve the school and happiness and well-being of everyone around them.

Alfie Shipley

Year 11 Student, The Roundhill Academy

Liz and Rory delivered several sessions at Moat House around staff mental well-being. These were thought provoking and provided teachers with strategies to identify and cope with some of the stresses which they face on a daily, weekly or termly basis. There was a mix of light hearted and more serious material and Liz and Rory’s deep subject knowledge enabled them to answer questions thoroughly.

Alasdair Black

Headteacher, Moat House Primary School

Liz and Rory provide a bespoke service for both students and staff at our school. Working as the SENDCO can be a challenging I have been able to access well-being support for my students with additional needs to support them in a mainstream setting which can at times present a range of difficulties. I have seen an improvement to individuals socially and academically as a result of this support. The group work is very beneficial to students with or without additional needs. The staff workshops allow staff to build positive working relationships, share scenarios and improve their mind-sets in this very challenging profession.

Michaela Rueben

Associate Principal and SENDCO, The Roundhill Academy

Contact Us

Email Liz or Rory:

liz@dearnis.com | rory@dearnis.com

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