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Schools: Mental Health Services

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL2548, tabled on 8 September 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide additional resources to schools for addressing mental health issues experienced by young people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answered on

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 children and 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.

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.

Additionally, our Mental Health in Education Action Group, has worked to identify and put in place further specific help to education settings to provide support for children and young people’s mental wellbeing at this critical time, and in the longer term.

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 recently brought together all its sources of advice or schools and colleges into a single site, which includes signposting to external sources of mental health and wellbeing support for teachers, school staff and school leaders: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mental-health-and-wellbeing-support-in-schools-and-colleges#mental-health-and-wellbeing-resources. This also includes guidance to support relationships, sex and health education curriculum planning, covering of the key issues children and young people have been concerned about throughout the COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing.