Students: Occupational Therapy

Department for Education written question – answered on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Labour/Co-operative, Liverpool, Wavertree

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will take steps with the Department for Health and Social Care to establish locally agreed referral processes to enable (a) sixth form schools and (b) higher education institutions to access occupational therapy for students.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Referral pathways for occupational therapy are agreed by local commissioners, based on local need, reflecting the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines and other relevant commissioning guidance.

Through the Children and Families Act 2014, the Department for Education requires local authorities and their partner commissioning bodies to make arrangements to work together to meet the education, health and care needs of children and young people (0-25 years old) who have special educational needs and disabilities, who may be in need of occupational therapy. The Department for Education, and Department for Health and Social Care are working with NHS England, local authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups and other partners to support local bodies to work together to jointly commission services to meet individual needs of children and young people.

Sixth form colleges have duties under the Children and Families Act 2014 to co-operate with local authorities in the provision of services and use their best endeavours to support young people where additional needs have been identified.

As autonomous and independent organisations, it is for Higher Education Institutions to determine what therapy services they need to provide to their students. Each institution will be best placed to identify the needs of their particular student body, including taking actions in line with any legal responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010.

In addition, we are in the process of introducing a University Mental Health Charter, backed by the government and led by the sector. This will drive up standards in promoting student and staff mental health and wellbeing.

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