Many schools have become highly skilled in responding to and supporting their pupils’ mental health and emotional wellbeing. And some schools have the capacity to be leading partners in the support put in place by specialist providers.
These were two key points made by the county’s two clinical commissioning group (CCG) Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) Schools Link Managers to the Parliamentary inquiry into education and mental health.
Deborah Sheppard, Herts Valleys CCG CAMHS Schools Link Manager, and Breda O’Neill, from East and North Hertfordshire CCG, submitted evidence to the Education and Health Select Committee’s joint inquiry earlier this year.
“We have worked with a large number of schools seeking to understand their perceptions and approaches to mental health, their competencies and needs,” explained Deborah.
“We have developed training and resources to meet some of these needs; however, what can be achieved locally is limited by decisions that are influenced by central government.
“We wanted to ensure that the voices of the schools we have worked with are heard at the highest possible level. Our submission contains recommendations in relation to supporting schools to maintain and develop their roles in supporting children and young peoples’ mental health.”
The inquiry is examining the role of education in promoting wellbeing in children and young people and preventing the development of mental health problems.
Deborah said Hertfordshire schools were skilled in responding to and supporting pupils’ mental health and emotional wellbeing but needed additional support to reduce the impact of problems in the home, like parental mental ill health.
“We were also keen to point out that children and young people’s mental health and subsequent achievement is being negatively affected by the current approach to attainment in schools which is creating high pressure environments for teachers and learners.”
Breda added: “Ofsted inspects schools on how they develop an ethos of pride in achievement and deliver high expectations, but the current focus on attainment has built such pressure into the educational system that it could be said to be having the opposite effect.”
You can read the full submission here: