DfE plans further mental health guidance and counselling ‘blueprint’


The PSHE Association has been asked by education ministers to produce guidance for schools to help them teach students about mental health.

At the same time, the Department for Education (DfE) is also to issue a “blueprint” for schools to use when delivering counselling services.

Research shows that one in 10 children has a diagnosable mental health disorder and more than half of adult mental health problems begin during childhood.

Speaking at the Children and Young People Now Awards, childcare education minister Sam Gyimah said that he wanted the guidance to make “schools a place where mental health needs are identified and support is provided sympathetically”.

Mr Gyimah, who also has responsibility for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in schools, spoke too about the importance of counselling services in developing a “supportive culture” and keeping pupils engaged with learning.

He added: “I’m pleased to announce the development of a new departmental strategy that focuses on getting experts to distil what it is that makes for good counselling services in primary and secondary schools. And what the wider benefits can be – how we can unlock the potential of pupils and work out when they need more specialist help.”

It comes after the DfE issued guidance to schools earlier this year focused on helping teachers to be able to spot the signs of mental health difficulties in students. 

The government has also launched a £25 million fund as part of its Voluntary and Community Sector grants programme for projects focused on improving young people’s mental health in schools.

Mr Gyimah continued: “It’s right that we renew our focus on the character, resilience and wellbeing of children and young people – it’s one of the department’s biggest priorities over the coming months. 

“So often it can feel like schools and teachers are judged purely on the results they achieve, on their standing in the league tables. But inextricably linked with academic successes are wellbeing, character, confidence – all of the ingredients that come together to create the whole child.”

The government’s existing advice to schools can be found at http://bit.ly/1Ejq7mM



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