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More funding is needed for mental health provision in schools, new research finds


Ninety-seven per cent of school leaders want to see more funding available for mental health provision in schools, according to new research by Leeds Beckett University and Hub4Leaders.

Professor Jonathan Glazzard

Almost all of the 603 school leaders surveyed called for more funding to tackle the growing problem of pupils suffering mental health issues, and for Ofsted to inspect mental health provision.

The national ‘Pupil Mental Health Crisis?’ survey, conducted throughout November 2017 by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools at Leeds Beckett in collaboration with educational consultants Hub4Leaders, asked school leaders 10 questions regarding pupils’ mental health.

Jonathan Glazzard, Professor of Teacher Education at Leeds Beckett, said: “It is important that mental health does not become a postcode lottery. People with mental health problems have experienced unfair discrimination and poor treatment too often in the past.

“Our research shows that most of the teachers surveyed felt that the mental health provision in their school was insufficient. Additionally, 61 per cent of teachers did not feel adequately trained to support pupils’ mental health needs and 76 per cent of schools faced challenges in accessing external mental health provision.”

The key findings of the survey were:

Mental health problems in schools are growing.

More than half of the school leaders agreed that there is insufficient mental health provision for pupils in their school and 97 per cent said more funding must be made available – 83 per cent said that mental health issues amongst pupils have increased in the past five years.

The promised training hasn’t been delivered.

Two thirds of the school leaders surveyed said that there is still no dedicated staff member in their school who is trained in or given responsibility for pupils’ mental health, despite the Government’s pledge to provide mental health first aid training to schools.

Social media has an impact and parents must do more to help.

Eighty-six per cent of respondents agreed that social media has directly impacted pupils’ mental health, with 89 per cent adding that parents should restrict the amount of time their child spends on the internet.

The Department for Education (DfE) need to provide more guidance.

Ninety-three per cent of the school leaders asked want the DfE to release more guidance on how to tackle the growing issue of pupils’ mental health.

Professor Glazzard added: “We welcome the proposals in the Government Green Paper - ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’ - which was recently published.

“If implemented, these proposals will ensure that all schools have a designated lead for mental health. Mental health support teams will be employed to work with schools to provide targeted intervention and support to the most vulnerable pupils.

“However, the proposals will be gradually rolled out over several years so not all pupils will receive the support they desperately need.  If the Prime Minister is determined to correct, in her words, ‘this historic injustice’, then all schools need to benefit immediately from these proposals. Our research shows that there is a clear need to address the issues of funding and training immediately.”

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