Skip to main content

Pupils: Eating Disorders

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL5213, tabled on 3 June 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what responsibilities and duties schools have specifically towards pupils who develop eating disorders; and what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of support offered by schools to pupils with eating disorders.

Answered on

15 June 2020

When carrying out duties to safeguard children and young people, schools must have due regard to the statutory guidance, ‘Keeping children safe in education’, which defines safeguarding and promotes the welfare of children. The guidance is available at:

Governing bodies of maintained schools, academies (except 16–19 academies) and pupil referral units are also subject to a duty to support pupils with medical conditions. In meeting the duty, schools must follow statutory guidance, which is available at:

The department’s mental health and behaviour advice includes information about how to identify pupils whose behaviour may be a result of an underlying mental health difficulty, linked to the SEND graduated response process, and provides guidance on how they can adapt their approaches to support these pupils with their individual needs.

It is vital that children and young people with eating disorders have access to effective specialist support. Through the NHS Long Term Plan, we are investing £2.3 billion a year into mental health services by 2023-24, which will see spending for children and young people’s mental health services growing faster than the overall spend on mental health, which will itself be growing faster than the overall NHS budget. The NHS Long Term Plan also makes a specific commitment to boost investment in children and young people’s eating disorder services over the five years of the plan.

Inpatient treatment should be a last resort, which is why the government announced in 2014 that it would invest £150 million to expand eating disorder community-based care. We are making good progress on this promise, and as a result 70 dedicated new or extended community services are now either open or in development.