To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of ending blended learning on the mental health of college-aged students who are accessing Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
8 September 2021
The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, mental and physical health. As set out in the '16 to 19 Study Programmes: Guide for Providers', on-site education should be the norm for the majority of the 16-19 curriculum. However, remote or online learning can add value for some students and courses where it is underpinned by a clear educational rationale and forms part of a clear strategy.
In making decisions concerning the use of remote and online delivery, providers should give particular consideration on how best to support vulnerable and disadvantaged students and students with special educational needs and disabilities and mitigate effects on their mental health and wellbeing. Providers should also be considerate of the wider socio-economic and well-being implications of remote and online learning.
In all circumstances, quality should be the key criteria for determining use of remote and online learning.
The department realises that many students and staff members will be feeling uncertain and anxious at this time. Further education providers should identify young people who may need additional support and engage with them and their representatives to understand their needs, and ensure they have appropriate mental health and wellbeing support in place. To provide support, the government remains committed to its joint green paper delivery with the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England, which is establishing Mental Health Support Teams, covering an estimated £3 million children and young people by 2023, and providing senior mental health led training to all state schools and colleges by 2025. As part of this commitment, from this autumn, we will offer 7,800 schools and colleges in England grants to train a senior mental health lead in their setting, which is being backed by £9.5 million.