Schools: Mental Health

Department for Education written question – answered on 12th June 2020.

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Photo of Lisa Cameron Lisa Cameron Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Mental Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to provide schools with flexibility under the national curriculum to meet the emotional and mental health needs of staff and pupils when schools reopen as part of the easing of covid-19 restrictions.

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

Schools and colleges continue to be best placed to make decisions about how to support and educate all their pupils during this period, based on the local context and staff capacity.

Where year groups are returning to school, we would expect school leaders and teachers to consider their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing and identify any pupil who may need additional support so they are ready to learn. They should also assess the stage pupils have reached in the school curriculum and the adjustments that may need to be made.

No school will be penalised if they are unable to offer a broad and balanced curriculum to their pupils during this period.

Our planning framework for schools advises them to prepare wellbeing support, and the primary planning guide sets out further guidance on managing pupil and staff wellbeing and mental health as schools open more widely:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools#managing-pupil-and-staff-wellbeing-and-mental-health.

The Department has signposted resources on supporting and promoting mental wellbeing among a list of resources to help children to use at home: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

BBC Bitesize have worked with the Department to provide content with substantial focus on mental health, wellbeing and pastoral care.

Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, including bereavement support. This advice is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

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