|23 Jan 2024
Members of the Coalition for Youth Mental Health in Schools, co-founded by LEH during the Covid pandemic, have published a new report, setting out how the education sector can respond to growing challenges around supporting pupils’ mental health.
The Coalition’s latest report, called Solutions for a Crisis, highlights the good work going on in schools to support pupils, but warns that delays in accessing child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in the community are putting a strain on education providers.
The Coalition makes several recommendations to the Government, including introducing mandatory waiting time targets so children and young people can access mental health support more quickly. In certain instances, researchers found that pupils using in-school counselling services were pushed down CAMHS waiting lists. This puts schools in a challenging position, forcing them to decide between offering interim support, or postponing it in the anticipation that the pupil might be able to access specialised assistance sooner.
LEH Head Mistress, Rowena Cole, said: “I’m proud of the role that LEH and our Coalition partners from across the independent and maintained sectors are playing in highlighting the serious issues affecting children and young people’s mental health, and bringing best practice to the fore."
Rachel Hart, LEH’s Head of Life Advice who leads its work as part of the Coalition, said: “We’ve spent two years exploring best practice for tackling mental health within schools. Solutions for a Crisis showcases a range of tried and tested approaches, but we know the commitment and dedication of schools alone is not enough to fix a failing system. We urge the Government to act now to better equip schools to effectively mitigate the visible and significant impact of lockdowns on our children and young people.
“At LEH we have long adopted the eight principles of a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing; pupil voice influences decisions, our Life Advice programme sits firmly within the curriculum and focuses on social and emotional learning, our pastoral team works tirelessly to offer targeted support and appropriate referral, and we embrace an ethos of belonging that respects and values diversity. Importantly, we continue to listen to and work with pupils, parents, our partner schools, and the wider community, to ensure our pastoral provision is the best that it can be.”
The Coalition is made up of school leaders from some of the most high-profile maintained and independent schools in the country, who have united to warn that vulnerable children are being let down because of delays in being able to access mental health services.
The group, which published its first report in 2021 highlighting the difficulties facing young people in the wake of the pandemic, has said its calls then for urgent action have gone unanswered.
The Coalition is made up of Alleyn’s School, Danes Educational Trust, Eton College, Lady Eleanor Holles School, Oasis Community Learning, Reach Academy Feltham, Star Academies, St Paul’s Boys’ School and Wellington College.