Good mental health is a priority for the Department. We have high aspirations for all children and want them to be able to fulfil their potential, both academically and in terms of their mental wellbeing.
Schools have an important role to play in supporting the mental health of children, and young people and providing good personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) is one way schools can do this. PSHE education is a non-statutory subject that can encompass many areas of study. It equips pupils with the knowledge and skills to make safe and informed decisions and to prepare them for adult life. Through the introduction to the national curriculum, we have made clear that all schools should make provision for PSHE.
The Government’s current approach is for schools to develop their own local PSHE programme to reflect the needs of their pupils, drawing on the resources and evidence provided by expert organisations. Schools also should decide what training their staff need, reflecting their individual circumstances, and we trust head teachers to ensure that the right training is available for all school staff.
Teachers, and other school staff, can access free on-line e-learning modules on a wide range of mental health issues, through the MindEd website, https://www.minded.org.uk. In addition, we funded the PSHE Association to produce guidance on teaching about mental health in PSHE. This was published in March 2015.
To get a clear picture of what schools are doing on mental health and inform further action, we are conducting a large survey asking schools what activities and support they have put in place. The results will be published spring 2017.