An extraordinary coalition of some of England's most respected independent schools and highest performing multi-academy trusts in the state sector has been formed to propose radical reform to mental health provision in educational settings.
The Coalition for Youth Mental Health in Schools, constituted by schools such as Alleyns, Eton College, the David Ross Educational Trust and CLSG, wants to rebuild counselling services and the PSHE curriculum from the ground up, and re-vitalise the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. Amongst its eight primarily legislative recommendations to the government is a state investment of £11.6 million a year to provide for a specialist trained PSHE teacher in each school by 2030, as well as a statutory requirement for every school staff member to receive appropriate mental health awareness training.
As Jenny Brown notes, “this is an important clarion call to improve youth mental health, offering practical steps that will make a difference to the lives of young people. In a post-Covid world which will ask so much of its next generation, we must invest in building the securest foundations for good mental health in our schools. Schools need to be resourced for strong mental health with clear nationally standardized ambitions, mental health and PSHE training for all staff, a timetabled PSHE lesson a week, a school counsellor in every school, and clear strategies for digital phone management. It is timely and important."