The government will fund newly trained mental health experts for schools and colleges across England to tackle children’s “trauma, anxiety or grief” following the Covid-19 crisis.
The new £17m cashpot includes £9.5m for schools to train an existing member of staff as a “senior mental health lead” over the next academic year, offered to 7,800 state schools and colleges now and to all by 2025.
Ministers will also give £7m as part of a Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme providing free expert training for teachers and staff to support children and young people whose mental wellbeing was impacted by the pandemic.
“Teachers and school leaders have seen the impact lockdown and the pandemic has had on children’s mental health,” said Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). “Children are returning to school needing not just academic help, but a wide range of pastoral, mental health and wellbeing support too, all of which requires additional resources.
“But schools cannot be the only place children or their families are able to turn for help with mental health. The support of well-integrated and well-funded social and health services is equally vital. Sadly, these services have been seriously damaged by a decade of austerity.”
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