Responding to the publication today (Saturday 7 September 2019) by the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, of a children’s manifesto with six pledges for political parties ahead of a general election, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, which represents the majority of schools in England, said:
“The Children’s Commissioner has absolutely the right priorities here. School leaders are also extremely concerned that children do not have access to the services they need to support them when they need it, be that with additional needs, mental health, or when they or their families find themselves in trouble. But it is striking that the proposed solution to almost every concern the Children’s Commissioner raises is centred on schools.
“Schools are already on the front-line when dealing with the problems faced by children and their families. They are more often than not the place children and their parents and carers turn to for help. Teachers and school leaders are already struggling to cope with the variety and extent of their pastoral care duties – and all with ever-diminishing budgets, staff, resources and external services to rely on.
“Schools cannot be held responsible for fixing all of society’s ills. They absolutely can and want to be part of the solution, but they cannot shoulder all these responsibilities alone. Trained experts are needed from other health and social care services, and, crucially, all these services, including schools, must be properly funded in order to meet the requirements society has of them.”
Press and Media contacts:
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