The Government must put wellbeing at the heart of education as children return to school after Covid-19.
Our new report, Time for a Clean Slate: Children’s Mental Health at the Heart of Education calls on the Government to support schools to prioritise pupil and staff wellbeing and afford schools flexibility with the curriculum as children return. It also calls on the Government to seize this opportunity to bring about a sea change in the education system - to prioritise child welfare and wellbeing, so that it is on a par with academic achievement.
Mental health and wellbeing runs through everything we do. Our services support children affected by almost all the vulnerabilities identified as risk factors for poor mental health and wellbeing. In 2018/19, we supported over 40,000 children, young people, parents and carers through our mental health services, including 28,700 children supported through our school-based programmes, aimed at improving social and emotional learning.
What needs to happen
The Government needs to support schools to place wellbeing at the heart of education by:
- Launching a national campaign to reassure children, young people and parents to get them back to school, but also to work with schools to identify what they need to keep pupils and staff safe.
- Urgently publish guidance for schools to support them with staff and pupil’s mental health and wellbeing in the aftermath of Covid-19.
- Allow schools flexibility in the curriculum and a ‘readjustment period’ of at least a term to meet the emotional needs of staff and pupils.
- A ‘catch up pupil premium’ for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils, that can be used flexibly by schools to address the emotional and mental health needs of pupils.
- Rebalancing the education system so that it prioritises child welfare and wellbeing, so that it is on a par with academic achievement.
Read our report below.