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Children: Health

Question for Department for Education

UIN 78407, tabled on 19 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a comprehensive national measurement of children’s well-being in the UK.

Answered on

29 November 2021

The wellbeing of children and young people is a priority for this government and is central to achieving the aims of the department. We have committed to publishing ‘state of the nation: children and young people’s wellbeing’ reports annually to bring together publicly available data, including data collected regularly by the Office of National Statistics on wellbeing.

As part of 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 training for senior mental health leads in around a third of all state schools and colleges in financial 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.

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 includes an additional £1.6 billion for schools and high needs in financial year 2022-23, on top of the funding we have previously announced. It also includes an additional £1 billion for a recovery premium over the next two academic years, 2022/23 and 2023/24.

Beyond this, the department is 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.

On 10 October 2020, the department published the second annual report which focused on children and young people’s experience associated with wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak. The report is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/state-of-the-nation-2020-children-and-young-peoples-wellbeing. The report has helped the government, children and young people’s services, schools, parents, and anyone interested in children and young people’s wellbeing to understand their experiences of the COVID-19 outbreak, the measures put in place to reduce the impact of the outbreak, and the broader effects on society. The third report is due to be published in February 2022.

The department continues to monitor the emerging evidence on the experiences of children and young people during the outbreak to ensure the support measures put in place by the government, including in the longer term, are informed by the most up-to-date evidence.

In particular, Public Health England is monitoring the impacts of the outbreak, including on children and young people, and is publishing regular surveillance reports. Their report about population mental health and wellbeing in England during the COVID-19 outbreak was last updated on 8 April 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-surveillance-report.