Technology & Teenage Mental Health Conference

Cranleigh School in Partnership with The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust.

Heads, deputies and pastoral leads from schools across the South East gathered at Cranleigh on March 8th to hear experts from the fields of neuroscience, mental wellness and adolescent psychology discuss the impact of technology on the mental health of teenagers.

The conference brought together experts and educators with an interest in the impact of technology on teenage mental health, to share ideas and experiences, to learn from pioneering work going on in this area and to create a network of links.

Held in partnership with leading mental health charity, The Charlie Waller Trust, the one-day conference featured keynote speeches and workshops. Slides from all the speakers appear below.


Clare Stafford

Clare Stafford, CEO of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, gave an overview of the Trust and its work with adolescent mental wellness:

Cranleigh School Technology & Teenage Mental Health Conference: Clare Stafford from Cranleigh School

Dr John Coleman

Dr John Coleman, Developmental Psychologist, explained the mechanics of the teenage brain and its development:

Cranleigh School Technology & Teenage Mental Health Conference: John Coleman from Cranleigh School

Dr Dean Burnett

Dr Dean Burnett, Neuroscientist, columnist and stand-up comedian, explained why sleep is so important to adolescents and how technology can seriously disrupt it:

Cranleigh School Technology & Teenage Mental Health Conference: Dean Burnett from Cranleigh School

Laura Bates BEM

Laura Bates BEM, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, called for schools and parents to open up dialogue about the body issues that can be caused by the perfect world of selfies, and the extreme pornography that is available for children to view on unprotected websites:

Cranleigh School Technology & Teenage Mental Health Conference: Laura Bates from Cranleigh School

Claire Eastham Workshop

Claire Eastham, author of We’re All Mad Here, looked at how to create a healthy headspace for teenagers and set boundaries for technology in her workshop session:

Cranleigh School Technology & Teenage Mental Health Conference: Claire Eastham Workshop from Cranleigh School

Vicki Shotbolt Workshop

Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of ParentZone, discussed how to educate parents to help their children navigate the online world in her workshop session:

Cranleigh School Technology & Teenage Mental Health Conference: Vicki Shotbolt Workshop from Cranleigh School

Dr Andrea Saxel & Sam Cooke Workshop

Dr Andrea Saxel, Deputy Head Pastoral and Sam Cooke, Housemaster, both at Cranleigh, examined practical approaches to pastoral care in their workshop session:

Cranleigh School Technology & Teenage Mental Health Conference: Andrea Saxel & Sam Cooke from Cranleigh School


Thursday 8th March 2018

1.30pm – 2.15pm Registration. Tea & Coffee. Pastries
2.30pm Welcome address
Speaker: Clare Stafford, CEO of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust
2.45pm Introduction
Speaker: Andrea Saxel, Deputy Head (Pastoral), Cranleigh School
3.00pm Keynote Address 1: Technology and the Teenage Brain
Speaker: Dr John Coleman, Clinical and Developmental Psychologist
3.30pm Keynote Address 2: Technology, Sleep and Mental Health
Speaker: Dr Dean Burnett, neuroscientist and author of “The Idiot Brain”
3.50pm Keynote Address 3: Body Image, Sexting & Pornography
Speaker: Laura Bates BEM, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project and author of “Everyday Sexism”
4.10pm Break: Tea & Coffee. Exhibition
4.45pm Workshop Sessions:

  • Educating parents – theory and practice – run by Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of Parentzone
  • Create healthy head space for teenagers – run by Clare Eastham
  • Practical Approaches to Pastoral Care – run by Sam Cooke, Housemaster at Cranleigh School, with Dr Andrea Saxel
5.45pm Break. Bowlfood, drinks and Exhibition
6.30pm Panel Discussion
7.15pm Meeting close: Dr Andrea Saxel


[pullout]Clare Stafford – Conference Chair

Clare has worked within mental health for 25 years and it is her interest and passion. Clare’s background is as a senior manager within the NHS and voluntary sector and she has significant breadth and depth of experience in the mental health field including two years as a Senior Policy Advisor for the Department of Health.

Clare worked for Oxford Health NHS Trust as part of their psychological therapy services, delivering evidence based treatments to people suffering from depression, anxiety and related mental health problems before becoming CEO of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust in May 2014.

Since joining the Trust she has overseen an increase in their charitable activities and in particular has expanded training and resources to better equip teachers, parents and pupils to support mental health and wellbeing.[/pullout]

[pullout]Dr Andrea Saxel – Conference Lead

Dr Andrea Saxel is Deputy Head (Pastoral) at Cranleigh School, a role she combines with the teaching of Chemistry to A Level, as well as being the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Andrea graduated from Liverpool University with a BSc(Hons) and a PhD in Chemistry. After a short but enjoyable career in the pharmaceutical industry, she made the move to teaching and started at Bedford School teaching Chemistry. In 2002 she moved to Cranleigh where she has taken on a number of roles, including Housemistress of West.

Andrea brings a wealth of experience and understanding of the pastoral needs of teenagers. She has recently worked on the development of a system for tracking and monitoring pastoral care and wellbeing.[/pullout]

[pullout]Dr John Coleman OBE, Clinical and Developmental Psychologist

Dr John Coleman is a clinical and developmental psychologist. He was for many years the Director of the Trust for the Study of Adolescence (TSA), and he has been a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Education at Oxford University (2006-2015).

He is the author of many books, including “The nature of adolescence: 4th Edition” (Routledge, 2011) and “Why won’t my teenager talk to me?” (Routledge, 2014). He has served as a Policy Advisor in the Department of Health, and is currently Chair of the Association for Young People’s Health (AYPH). He is also a Trustee of Family Lives. Dr Coleman’s current research interests include the adolescent brain, life skills education, and the impact of the digital world on teenage development.

Dr Coleman runs workshops for parents of teenagers, and is the lead for the Hertfordshire “My Teen Brain” programme. In 2001 he was awarded an OBE for Services to Youth.


[pullout]Dr Dean Burnett, neuroscientist and author of The Idiot Brain and The Happy Brain

Dean Burnett is a doctor of neuroscience, psychiatry tutor/lecturer, stand-up comedian and writer.

He works for Cardiff university, as the course tutor and lecturer for the world’s first MSc in psychiatry to be delivered entirely online. He completed his PhD on behavioural neuroscience of memory formation at the prestigious Cardiff University School of Psychology.

Dean is the writer of the Guardian Science blog BRAIN FLAPPING, which focuses on combining science and humour and has attracted millions of readers since its start in August 2012. Dean is also regularly in demand as a contributor and spokesperson for science for the Guardian newspaper, the Telegraph, Focus Magazine and an impressively wide variety of other publications, as well as TV and radio.

He has performed live comedy alongside such names as Brian Cox, Simon Pegg, Jo Brand and Robin Ince, among others.


[pullout]Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project and author of Everyday Sexism

Laura Bates is the founder of the award-winning Everyday Sexism Project, an ever-increasing collection of over 100,000 testimonies of gender inequality.

Laura writes regularly for the Guardian, Independent and TIME among others. She was the recipient of the Georgina Henry Women in Journalism award for Innovation at the 2015 British Press Awards.

Her first book, Everyday Sexism, was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Book of the Year award and Political Book Awards Polemic of the Year, and named one of the Bookseller’s Top 10 Non Fiction Books of the Year.

Laura works closely with politicians, schools and universities worldwide, as well as bodies from the United Nations to the Council of Europe to combat gender inequality and violence against women.  Laura was awarded a British Empire Medal in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.


[pullout]Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of ParentZone

Vicki Shotbolt, the founder and CEO of ParentZone, is the official parents’ representative on the government body, the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS). She also co-chairs the UKCCIS working group on Digital Resilience with psychiatrist Dr Richard Graham.

ParentZone offers expert content and advice to professionals working with children, young people and families through Digital Schools and Digital Resilience membership programmes as well as Parent Info (


[pullout]Clare Eastham, mental health blogger and author

Claire Eastham is a mental health blogger and bestselling author, specialising in anxiety.

Her book We’re All Mad Here, became an instant bestseller and she has a strong following with both adults and teenagers alike.


[pullout]Sam Cooke, Housemaster at Cranleigh School

Sam Cooke was appointed Housemaster of Cubitt in September 2016 after having previously been Deputy, he also teaches Religion and Philosophy at Cranleigh School.

Sam has worked on the development of pastoral tracking systems and has a wealth of experience gained from running a large and busy boarding house of teenage boys.[/pullout]