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BackgroundMindfulness-based approaches for adults are effective at enhancing mental health, but few controlled trials have evaluated their effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for young people. The primary aim of this trial is to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a mindfulness training (MT) programme to enhance mental health, wellbeing and social-emotional behavioural functioning in adolescence. Methods/design To address this aim, the design will be a superiority, cluster randomised controlled, parallel-group trial in which schools offering social and emotional provision in line with good practice (Formby et al., Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education: A mapping study of the prevalent models of delivery and their effectiveness, 2010; OFSTED, Not Yet Good Enough: Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education in schools, 2013) will be randomised to either continue this provision (control) or include MT in this provision (intervention). The study will recruit and randomise 76 schools (clusters) and 5700 school students aged 12 to 14 years, followed up for 2 years. Discussion The study will contribute to establishing if MT is an effective and cost-effective approach to promoting mental health in adolescence.