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Schools: Mental Health Services

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL974, tabled on 9 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that mental health first aid training is rolled out in primary school settings.

Answered on

23 June 2021

We recognise how important it is to equip education staff with the skills and tools that they need to understand and respond to the mental health needs of their students. We remain committed to ensuring school staff, pupils and all education settings, including primary schools, can access the wellbeing and mental health support they need in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have made sure that schools have access to a range of training over the last year so that teachers understand the issues that pupils are facing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and how to support their pupils. In particular, our Wellbeing for Education Return programme supported over 15,000 schools and colleges by funding expert advisers in every local authority, to give access to free training, support and resources for education staff.

We are committed to supporting all schools to deliver Relationships, Sex and Health Education, which includes a range of specific teaching requirements on mental health and wellbeing. We prioritised the publication of the mental wellbeing teacher training module in July last year to help improve the confidence of subject leads and teachers in delivering mental wellbeing as part of the new curriculum and to plan lessons to help their pupils with recovery.

Earlier this year, we convened a Mental Health in Education Action Group. Through this group, we are working to build on what we are already doing to help education settings put in place the right support for children and young people’s mental wellbeing at this critical time. This is being backed by the Youth Mental Health Ambassador, Dr Alex George.

We recently announced more than £17 million to build on mental health support already available in education settings, with up to 7,800 schools and colleges in England offered funding worth £9.5 million to train a senior mental health lead from their staff in the next academic year. This is part of the government’s commitment to offer this training to all state schools and colleges by 2025. The training will equip senior mental health leads with the knowledge to develop or introduce a holistic approach to wellbeing and mental health in their setting and to implement effective processes for ensuring that pupils and students with mental health problems receive appropriate support. As part of this recent announcement, we also provided £7 million in additional funding for local authorities to deliver the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme, which builds on Wellbeing for Education Return to provide local expert advice to schools with navigating local support to find the right support for their pupils.