To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on school pupils’ performance and wellbeing of financial stress in their families.
The Government recognises that, for many complex reasons, economic disadvantage can have an adverse effect on pupil attainment and wellbeing.
Through the pupil premium, the Department has spent more than £18 billion since 2011, including £2.4 billion in 2019-20, to tackle educational inequality. We established the Education Endowment Fund with £137 million to research and promote the most effective ways of using pupil premium funding so that all schools can make a difference to the futures of their disadvantaged pupils. Since 2011, the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has decreased at both ages 11 and 16.
The Department has taken a range of actions to help schools support the mental wellbeing of their pupils. This includes teaching pupils about mental wellbeing through the introduction of health education and improving collaboration with external agencies to ensure those pupils that need specialist support and treatment get it quickly. New Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) will be established in 20% to 25% of the country by 2023, supporting children and young people with mild to moderate mental health issues, and helping those with more severe needs to access the right specialist services locally. MHSTs should be delivered in a way to take account of disadvantage and seek to reduce health inequalities. We will also fund training for senior mental health leads in every state funded school and college in England, providing the skills and knowledge required to put in place effective whole school and college approaches to promote and support good mental health. We also have several initiatives in place to further support schools to develop and implement whole school approaches to mental health and wellbeing.