Neurodiversity and mental health in the classroom

There is a growing and wide range of needs among children and young people that teachers and support staff are increasingly being expected to meet in the classroom. With a few small steps, we can make things easier for everyone, says Helen Osgood


We know that, long before the pandemic, mental health support services for education were under pressure, with long waits for assessment and schools often taking the financial hit to provide support in the intervening time.

The government did commit funding to try to address this, with £1.25bn invested specifically in young people’s mental health by 2025, alongside improvements to NHS eating disorder services, backed up by a new standard so that young people who needed help could be seen within four weeks, or one week for urgent cases.

Furthermore, the 2017 Green Paper, Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision, stated that schools would be supported to “develop approaches within which pupils can achieve their full potential”, including “supporting schools to have a clear offer to promote pupils’ mental health and wellbeing”, but we continue to wait for this to have the positive impact it could have had, and the situation has now reached crisis point in many areas of the country.

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