The Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care jointly published ‘’Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health: A Green Paper’ in 2017, and a subsequent consultation response in 2018, setting out the government’s commitments to improve mental health support in and around schools and colleges. We remain committed to these proposals, including incentivising and supporting all schools and colleges to have an effective senior mental health lead by offering training free of charge to every school and college in England by 2025.
The government has prioritised providing bespoke training and support to meet the immediate challenges that all schools and colleges face in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak through our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme, delaying delivery of senior lead training.
The proportion of schools and colleges reporting they have a mental health lead has gone up, to over three quarters in 2018 (82% of schools, 91% of further education colleges) from under half of schools in 2016 (49% of schools, 69% of colleges), although these findings are based on different sources (the winter 2018 'School Snapshot Survey’ and the summer 2018 'Post-16 institutions and providers omnibus'). The ‘School Snapshot Survey’ and the ‘Post-16 institutions and providers omnibus' are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-snapshot-survey-winter-2018 and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/post-16-institutions-and-providers-omnibus-wave-6-survey.
We have recently assessed the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the training needs of senior mental health leads. We have started to engage the training provider market, and key education, health and local authority stakeholders with a view to offering senior lead training from the beginning of autumn 2021.
Our intended option, subject to feasibility, is to provide schools and colleges with a grant and appropriate support to identify and purchase high quality training that meets their needs. This training is intended to provide individuals with the additional knowledge and skills needed to develop or introduce a positive whole-school or college approach to wellbeing and mental health, helping ensure pupils and students needing help with their mental health receive the appropriate support.