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Schools: Academic Year

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL14898, tabled on 13 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of a potential extension of the academic year on the mental health of (1) staff, and (2) pupils.

Answered on

27 April 2021

The government recognises the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted on mental health and is committed to supporting children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during this period. Schools can already use their additional funding from the COVID-19 catch-up package for pastoral support for mental wellbeing where pupils need it. We have also set up Wellbeing for Education Return, an £8 million scheme funding expert advisers and training in every local authority area to support education staff to respond to the emotional and mental health pressures.

The government has appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to oversee the long-term plan. Sir Kevan will engage with parents, pupils and teachers to develop this proposal and review how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on education. We are considering all options to address lost education, including time in education, to ensure the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is addressed as comprehensively as possible. In doing so, we are mindful of the need to manage teacher workload, and staff and pupil mental health, whilst also examining the benefits of change.

The department will continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on pupils and staff and their needs to help target support across the system effectively.