Schools: Mental Health Services

Department for Education written question – answered on 21st February 2018.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government has made an assessment of the (a) efficacy and (b) experiences of Designated Safeguarding Leads in schools in advance of the introduction of Designated Mental Health Leads in schools.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Department has not made a specific assessment of the efficacy and effectiveness of Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs). Guidance for inspectors reflects the requirements for DSLs and inspectors report on whether arrangements in schools for safeguarding children are effective.

The green paper ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health provision’ proposes to incentivise schools and colleges to put in place a Designated Senior Lead for mental health. Around half of schools already have a dedicated lead for mental health. The green paper proposal leaves flexibility for schools to decide on the role that the mental health lead should play and how it fits with the safeguarding lead and commits to review how schools’ approaches to mental health and wellbeing is reflected in existing statutory policies, including safeguarding. The paper is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/transforming-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-provision-a-green-paper.

An independent evaluation of the Government’s mental health services and schools link programme showed that school leads working with counterparts in the NHS have had considerable success in strengthening joint working and improving referrals between schools and health services. The independent evaluation is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/590242/Evaluation_of_the_MH_services_and_schools_link_pilots-RR.pdf.

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