ASCL comment on funding for mental health support in schools and colleges

10/05/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the government’s announcement of more than £17 million to build on mental health support available in education settings.
 
Commenting on the government’s announcement of more than £17 million to build on mental health support available in education settings, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“We’re pleased to see the government announcing this investment in mental health support as well as its announcement on Saturday about NHS mental health support teams for schools. We have to say that this comes after years of government underfunding of schools and colleges which has taken its toll on their capacity to provide pastoral support, and very severe difficulties in accessing NHS children’s mental health services for young people with complex problems. However, the initiatives now being implemented are a step in the right direction, and we look forward to seeing further detail.
 
“We do feel, however, that there needs to be a greater focus on the factors which cause poor mental health. We are particularly concerned about the impact of child poverty on the wellbeing of pupils and their ability to learn. It is a shocking state of affairs that so many young people experience very straitened and difficult circumstances, that they arrive at school cold and hungry, and that they are faced with the grim reality of generational disadvantage. As a wealthy country, we owe it to these young people to genuinely level up our society and we look forward to the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday to see how the government plans to live up to its rhetoric on this front.”