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Outdoor Education: Finance

Question for Department for Education

UIN 178723, tabled on 12 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 30 September 2020 to Question 97703, on Outdoor Education: Finance, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the report prepared for Ministers by civil servants following that meeting with campaigners.

Answered on

20 April 2021

The government is continuing to prioritise mental health and wellbeing support for children, young people, and staff following the return to education on 8 March. The Department for Education has convened a Mental Health in Education Action Group. The action group will look at the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities. It will consider how to support mental wellbeing as children and young people are returning to education settings, with transitions between education settings in September, and in the longer term. As we consider how best to support the education sector moving forward, we will consider access to outdoor spaces in that context.

In the first instance the group are engaging with health experts to bring together the evidence of impact on children and young people. The group will identify the existing range of support available and will examine how to ensure support is easy to access and has the greatest possible impact. They are also engaging with education stakeholders, including staff and leadership unions, to ensure that we understand the issues that are facing staff in nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities and how they can be supported in the coming months.

This year, we will invest up to £220 million in our Holiday Activities and Food programme. Delivery began at Easter and will run during the summer and Christmas holidays in 2021, supporting disadvantaged pupils and their families with enriching activities, providing them with healthy food, helping them to learn new things and improving socialisation.