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Teachers raise concern over poor mental health support in schools

The National Education Union have published new survey results showing the concern teachers have for mental health provision in school settings.

In the latest survey of almost 18,000 National Education Union members, conducted ahead of Annual Conference in Harrogate, the Union asked teachers and support staff about pupil/student mental health.

Results of the survey suggest:

  • There is patchwork and often inadequate access to specialist provision with which to support young people in schools with poor mental health. Around half of respondents to the survey reported no nurse, no senior mental health lead, or trained mental health first aider. 
  • Teachers with access to CAMHS support or learning support assistants said that there are too few available to meet demand (66% and 77% respectively). A quarter of teachers (26%) and a third of support staff (33%) said they have no CAMHS support whatsoever. 
  • The Union suggests that Government priorities are focused on the wrong factors. Teachers reported workload as a hindrance to providing proper support to pupils in need, with 80% of respondents stating it is a “large barrier”. 70% suggested having insufficient numbers of school staff is another major issue. 

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“Our members are overwhelmed on many fronts, and amongst the most frustrating is not being able to fully support the young people in their care who are enduring poor mental health.

“It is a failure of Government that we have an infrastructure so stymied by underfunding, that young people who need support simply cannot get access to it. The waiting lists are profound, the hurdles too great, and the situations tragic.

“Schools do everything they can to support young people, but this not a sustainable situation. Government must do everything in its power to support schools properly, so they can be properly funded and better staffed, and boost the ability of external services to meet demand. This is a huge task which has been ignored for too long.”

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Published on 12th April 2023