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Schools: Assessments

Question for Department for Education

UIN 118618, tabled on 4 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential relationship between examinations and levels of depression and anxiety among people under 18.

Answered on

9 February 2022

The government is clear that education providers should encourage pupils and students to work hard, but not at the expense of their wellbeing. Examinations are, by their very nature, stressful. Schools and colleges should be able to identify signs of exam-related stress whenever it emerges and be in a position to respond appropriately.

Individual young people's mental wellbeing is affected in different ways by issues in their lives. It is important that they receive support where they need it, including from their school or college. The government has provided a wide range and training and resources to schools and colleges to help them support the wellbeing of their pupils and students. Our recent £15 million wellbeing for education recovery and return programmes have provided free expert training, support and resources for staff dealing with children and young people experiencing additional pressures from COVID-19, including anxiety and stress. Approximately 12,000 schools and colleges across the country benefited from wellbeing for education return.

The government announced £9.5 million in May 2021 to offer senior mental health lead training to around a third of all state schools and colleges in England in the academic year 2021/22. An additional £3 million was provided on 8 February 2021, to extend this training to more schools and colleges given high demand, so that everyone eligible who wishes to access training before the end of May will be able to. The senior mental health lead is a strategic leadership role, with responsibility for overseeing the school’s ‘whole school approach’ to mental health and wellbeing. As part of this training, leads will learn about how to develop a culture and ethos that promotes positive mental health wellbeing, as well as how to make the best use of local resources to support children and young people experiencing issues.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.