Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at World Mental Health day, and a number of new measures announced by the government to tackle mental health issues. We also focus on how to close attainment gaps across the country.
Today, Wednesday 10 October, to mark World Mental Health Day, the Prime Minister announced a series of new measures to help tackle mental health issues. The announcement has been covered prominently by the Independent, the Sun, the Express, the Telegraph, and the Daily Mail.
The new measures include a new annual ‘State of the Nation’ report on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. This will be jointly published by the department, with the Department for Health and Social Care.
The new report will use existing data on children and young people’s wellbeing, including that collated by the ONS to consider the trends and challenges emerging, making it more user-friendly for schools and other professionals working with children and young people.
However, The Daily Mail misleadingly reported that pupils in primary and secondary schools are to be given routine mental health checks and ‘wellbeing’ assessments as part of new lessons on ‘mental resilience’ which will be part of the curriculum from 2020.
This is inaccurate. We are clear that it is for schools to decide how best to support their pupils and how best to measure this, not the government. Furthermore, we will not require schools to collect or report any new data and schools will not be held accountable for any measures around pupils’ mental health.
We know many schools are already doing great work to support their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing and we want this to continue. To support them we will produce a guide to help them navigate the resources and tools already available to them.
Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb said:
Being able to identify mental health problems early and making sure children and young people have the right support when they need it is imperative. That is why, through green paper proposals, we will provide significant additional resources for early mental health intervention for all schools – primary and secondary.
We have also committed to ensuring all children and young people learn about mental wellbeing through the introduction of compulsory Relationships, Sex and Health Education in all schools. For the first time every child will be taught about good mental and physical health, the important links between the two, how to be safe on and offline, and the importance of healthy relationships.
Education in the North
Today, Wednesday 10 October, the i News published a story about education in the North of England, and the future of young people in the region.
This follows the announcement yesterday by the Education Secretary of a £24 million programme to increase opportunity for communities in the North East of England
We want every child across the country to receive a high-quality standard of education, regardless of location or social background. Academic standards in the country are rising with 86% of pupils now attending good or outstanding schools, compared to 66% in 2010.
Our new Social Mobility Action Plan also sets out measures to close attainment gaps and we are investing £2.4 billion a year through the pupil premium to support disadvantaged pupils all over the country.
A DfE spokesperson said:
We want every child to have a high quality education, regardless of background, and since 2010 the proportion of pupils in good or outstanding schools has risen.
We have also seen the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their more affluent peers has shrunk by 10% since 2011.
We must continue working together to eliminate that gap and just this week the Education Secretary launched Opportunity North East, a £24 million programme working with businesses and education providers to drive up education standards and create better prospects for young people on the region.