Children, Schools and Families written question – answered on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham PPS (Mr Mike O'Brien, Minister of State), Department for Work and Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

(1) what steps the Government have taken to improve the emotional wellbeing of school children since 1997;

(2) what support the Government provide to schools for children with mental health problems.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Minister of State (Schools and Learners), Department for Children, Schools and Families, Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Schools and Learners)

holding answer 4 February 2008

A variety of work has been developed to improve the emotional wellbeing and mental health of school children. The National Healthy Schools programme which has existed since 1999 promotes a whole school approach to both physical and emotional health, and one of its core themes is emotional health and wellbeing. To achieve national healthy school status, schools now need to satisfy the criteria for all four core themes and last year new guidance was issued on promoting emotional health and wellbeing to support work in this area. Currently 95 per cent. of schools have joined the National Healthy Schools programme and 55 per cent. are meeting the new standards.

The National Framework for Children and Young People and Maternity Services (NSF), published in 2004, set out a 10-year programme of improvements for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). In support of this, grant funding to local authorities for CAMHS has increased from £10 million in 1999-2000 to £91 million in each financial year from 2003-04 to 2007-08 to strengthen the provision of targeted mental health services for children and adolescents. We also announced plans in 2007 for an independent review of CAMHS.

The Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) programme was created to develop all children and young people's social and emotional skills at school, which help to underpin emotional wellbeing, and it was made available to primary schools in 2005. Approximately 60 per cent. of primary schools have voluntarily adopted SEAL, and 15 to 20 per cent. of secondary schools are expected to start implementing it by July 2008.

In 2007 we announced that we will invest an additional £60 million over three years to support schools to work with mental health practitioners and others to improve the mental health and emotional wellbeing of pupils.

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