To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide mental health support for students and staff returning to school.
22 September 2021
Mental health and wellbeing are a priority for the government. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have prioritised keeping schools open above all else because they are vital for young people’s wellbeing, as well as their education.
We are investing £3 billion to boost learning, including £950 million in additional funding for schools which they can use to support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.
In May, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we announced more than £17 million of mental health funding to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges. This includes £7 million additional funding for local authorities to deliver the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme. This builds on our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme in 2020/21, which provided free expert training, support and resources for staff dealing with children and young people experiencing additional pressures from the last year. Wellbeing for Education Return has been used by more than 90% of councils since its launch last summer: https://www.minded.org.uk/Catalogue/Index?HierarchyId=0_48943_49165&programmeId=48943.
Up to 7,800 schools and colleges in England will be offered funding worth £9.5 million to train a senior mental health lead from their staff in the next academic year, which is part of the government’s commitment to offering this training to all state schools and colleges by 2025.
Training will provide senior leads with the knowledge and skills to develop or introduce a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing in their setting. It will encourage staff to develop their own understanding of issues affecting their pupils, giving young people a voice in how their school or college addresses wellbeing and working with parents and monitoring pupils where appropriate.
This support for practice in schools is in addition to the £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support we announced in March, which will include increasing the number of Mental Health Support Teams. The support teams - which provide early intervention on mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in schools and colleges - will grow from the 59 set up by last March to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children.
The department has brought together all its sources of advice for schools and colleges into a single site, which includes signposting to external sources of mental health and wellbeing support: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mental-health-and-wellbeing-support-in-schools-and-colleges#mental-health-and-wellbeing-resources.
In May, we published the first ever Education Staff Wellbeing Charter: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-staff-wellbeing-charter. The charter sets out the actions that government and other organisations, including Ofsted, will take to improve wellbeing of staff in schools and colleges.
Since June 2020, we have funded peer-support and one-to-one telephone supervision from experts, which has supported over 300 school leaders. This June, we launched an invitation to tender seeking a contractor to provide peer support and one-to-one counselling to least 2,000 school leaders, starting in the autumn 2021.
We know flexible working opportunities can promote staff wellbeing and have appointed the training provider ‘Timewise’ to train school leaders to implement flexible working practices in schools.