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Mental health of pupils in spotlight in Lords debate

23 February 2024

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On Thursday 22 February, members of the House of Lords debated the role of schools in caring for the mental health and wellbeing of pupils, and assisting in their development as community and family members.


Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (Green) put forward the debate. 

This is a general debate. During debates, members put their experience to good use to discuss current issues and draw the government's attention to concerns.     

Members speaking

Members speaking in the debate included:

Opening the debate, Baroness Bennett said:

'In November 2023 NHS Digital estimated that 20% of eight to 16 year-olds had a probable mental health disorder.

'We need schools that are more democratic and more compassionate, caring and forgiving...They need to be far richer in art, culture, physical activity and play. That is the sort of schools that we need to care for the mental health and well-being of our future generations, to send them out into the world for a healthy, fulfilling and productive life.'

Baroness Barran (Conservative), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education, responded on behalf of the government:

‘We have extended our attendance mental programme and we will have 32 attendance hubs, meaning that 2,000 schools will be helped to tackle persistent absence with that peer-to-peer support.

‘We are extending [mental health support teams] to an estimated 44% of pupils and learners by the end of this financial year and to at least 50% by the end of March 2025.’

Catch up

Watch and read the debate

Watch on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.

Explore background information

Find out more about the issues the debate covers in the House of Lords Library briefing.

Learn more about how the House of Lords checks and challenges government.

Photo credit: Oleksandr P / Pexels

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