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Mental Health Services: Schools

Question for Department for Education

UIN 74992, tabled on 15 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to increase the funding provided to schools on mental health support for students.

Answered on

23 November 2021

Education is a devolved matter, and the response will outline the education reforms for England. The government remains committed to promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools and colleges. The department recognises it is more important than ever that children and young people have access to the support they need for their mental health and wellbeing, and we know that funding the right services and provision within education settings is key to ensuring they do so.

On 10 May 2021, as a part of our Mental Health Awareness week, the department announced £17 million towards improving mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people. This included £9.5 million to offer senior mental health led training to around a third of all state schools and colleges in academic year 2021/22, helping them to implement effective holistic approaches to mental health and wellbeing, and £7 million to Wellbeing for Education Recovery, enabling local authorities to continue supporting schools and colleges until the autumn to meet ongoing mental wellbeing needs.

Schools support the mental wellbeing of their pupils as part of their curriculum provision and pastoral support, which is paid for from schools’ core funding; the autumn 2021 Spending Review delivers an additional £4.7 billion for the core schools budget by financial year 2024/25, compared to previous plans. This settlement includes an additional £1.6 billion for schools and high needs in 2022/23, on top of the funding we previously announced. It also includes an additional £1 billion for a recovery premium over the next two academic years (2022/23 and 2023/24). Schools will have flexibility to target funding towards those pupils who need it most, and we will publish further detail around rates, allocations, and conditions of grant in due course.

Beyond this, the department is also investing up to £5 billion to support recovery for children and young people who need it most. This includes the Recovery Premium for this academic year worth over £300 million, weighted so that schools with more disadvantaged pupils receive more funding. Schools can use this funding to deliver evidence based approaches to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils.

This is in addition to the £79 million announced by the Department of Health and Social Care in March 2021 to significantly expand children’s mental health services. This will partly be spent on speeding up and expanding the provision of Mental Health Support Teams in schools and colleges, meaning nearly 3 million children in England will access school or college-based support by April 2023.

The department does not expect teachers to be mental health experts. Therefore, for those that need more specialist support, the NHS Long Term Plan is backed by an additional £2.3 billion a year for mental services by financial year 2023/24. This will mean at least 345,000 more children and young people will be able to access support as we aim to ensure that mental and physical health are treated equally.