To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the (a) education and (b) health and wellbeing of LGBT young people; and what support he will provide to tackle any gaps identified in the provision of services to those people.
All children and young people in the country have experienced unprecedented disruption to their education as a result of COVID-19. There have also been concerns around LGBT young people who are isolated in homes with families who are not supportive of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In September, we plan to welcome all children and young people, in all year groups, back to school. We are working towards this because school is the best place for children to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to be around their peers, carers and teachers, and have access to the pastoral support schools offer.
Education recovery lies at the heart of our ongoing response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is why the government has announced a £1 billion package of support to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time, with extra support in the form of a tutoring programme for those who need it most. We have also encouraged schools to focus on pastoral support as pupils return and have given schools the flexibility to have a face-to-face ‘check-up’ with all pupils during the summer term. This is in addition to guidance on how to support children’s mental wellbeing while they are not at school. Leading mental health charities are also being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund and a further £4.2 million that be awarded to charities, including Samaritans and Young Minds.
All NHS mental health trusts have been asked to ensure that there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. These are available for children and young people as well as adults. 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, which is available here:
In addition, children and young people can access free confidential support anytime from government-backed voluntary and community sector organisations either by texting SHOUT to 85258, or by calling Childline on 0800 1111 or The Mix on 0808 808 4994. Children and young people can also find online information on COVID-19 and mental health on the Young Minds website, which is available here: