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NAHT response to Health Committee inquiry

The Health Committee launched an inquiry in December into the role of education in promoting emotional wellbeing in children and young people and preventing the development of mental health problems. This inquiry is specifically examining the role of education in promoting emotional wellbeing in children and young people and preventing the development of mental health problems.

Evidence submitted to the inquiry, including NAHT's response, has now been published.

In our response, we recognise the fundamental role that mental health plays in children's success and that poor mental health is a significant barrier to learning.

We go on to develop the following key points:

  • NAHT believes that the vital role for schools is to contribute significantly to promoting good mental health and emotional wellbeing amongst pupils of all ages. The vast majority of schools already have protective factors in place to support pupil's mental health and engage with a wide variety of activities to promote and support good mental health and wellbeing.
  • NAHT supports the introduction of a statutory framework for PSHE for all pupils in all schools to enable pupils to understand and explore the issues around mental health and to protect children in the digital world by teaching them about their rights and responsibilities online.
  • In order for staff in schools to promote and support good mental health in their pupils, teachers and school leaders must be supported to maintain their own mental health. Mental health problems are frequently highlighted as a concern in the teaching profession.
  • A second crucial role for schools is in the early identification of pupils suffering from mental health problems. Teachers and school leaders must be to be empowered to play this vital role in the system.
  • There can be no expectation on any school to provide health and social care services funded from the school budget, unless additional secure funding is provided for schools to be able to deliver these to support the unmet mental health needs of pupils.
  • NAHT seeks a commitment to invest further in health and social care services, including CAMHS, to increase the capacity to meet the growing demand from schools and pupils for their services and to reduce waiting times for this support.
  • NAHT believes that all school staff should receive high quality CPD throughout their career so that they can promote good mental health and emotional wellbeing, are well placed to identify emerging mental health needs of pupils and can support and manage pupils with mental health needs in the classroom and school environment.