The Children and Social Work Act 2017 provides a power for the Secretary of State for Education to make Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE), or elements therein, mandatory in all schools. The Government also made a manifesto commitment that all pupils should learn about mental wellbeing and the mental health risks of the internet. The Department is conducting a thorough engagement process, including a call for evidence, on the status and content of PSHE, as well as the new subjects of Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education. We will use the findings to finalise draft regulations and guidance, which will then be subject to consultation.
Schools are already free to address eating disorders through PSHE, as well as in the wider curriculum. The Government funded the PSHE Association to provide guidance to schools on how to teach pupils about mental health. The guidance includes age-appropriate advice on teaching about eating disorders. The Government has also funded information for school staff. MindEd is a free online portal that includes specific information on eating disorders, which can be found at: https://www.minded.org.uk/.
The Government is also consulting on the green paper 'Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision'. It includes proposals for new mental health support teams to provide more trained support for young people with mental health issues, and to improve access to specialist support where it is needed.