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Schools should not be viewed as frontline mental health providers, says NAHT

Today, Theresa May will announce that the National Citizen Service will develop a new course to raise awareness of mental health among young people.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said: “School leaders know the importance of good mental health. Schemes which promote good mental health and help young people to be proactive with their own state of mind are a vital part of the picture.   

“Schools can help in identifying pupils that they are concerned about, but there are other organisations that should take the lead in what happens next when it comes to providing specialist support.

“If support and funding is inadequate, many young people could continue to get a raw deal. We know of the long waiting times for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), and gaps in the provision of other support.   

“Schools and their students need the support of adequately funded health and social care services. Schools should be promoting pupil wellbeing and not making up for cuts to other essential services.

“In the last session of parliament, the government committed to statutory status for PSHE. This must be followed through if we are to create space in the curriculum for young people to discuss a range of issues, including anxiety, stress and depression.”

NAHT and our work on the current challenges facing education 

NAHT represents more than 29,000 school leaders in early years, primary, secondary and special schools, making us the largest association for school leaders in the UK. We represent, advise and train school leaders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We use our voice at the highest levels of government to influence policy for the benefit of leaders and learners everywhere. NAHT Edge supports, develops and represents middle leaders in schools.

We have produced several reports, detailing the current challenges facing education and suggesting NAHT’s solutions: 

  • Breaking Point report on the school funding crisis
  • Redressing the Balance - Assessment Review Group report
  • Recruitment survey
  • Fair Funding - essays on the National Funding Formula

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

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