Schools discuss mental health needs with government

TWO schools were visited by a senior government decision-maker enabling pupils to share their views on the way the education system deals with mental health issues and special educational needs.
School visit to WathSchool visit to Wath
School visit to Wath

Wath Central Primary and Wath Academy spoke with Matthew Hopkinson, a senior member from the Department for Education after the visits were arranged by MP John Healey.

Mr Hopkinson, deputy director of Life Skills Division, visited to look at the work the schools are doing to help pupils with mental health problems and complex needs.

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The visit comes after the Wentworth and Dearne MP took local head teachers to Westminster earlier this year to meet with the schools minister Nick Gibb to press for greater government support to help schools deal with the mounting mental health concerns they have to handle on a daily basis.

Mr Healey said: “I’m pleased that our local head teachers were able to show the Department for Education the work they are doing and pass on their thoughts directly to those who make key decisions.

“It’s vital that those making government policy can see and hear for themselves exactly what schools are dealing with on a day-to-day basis.

“Both schools can now continue to work closely with the department on any policy and engagement matters going forward.”

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It follows a survey of schools by the MP across his constituency which found all secondary schools and a majority of primary schools reporting a rise in anxiety-related mental health problems for both students and staff since his original survey in 2018.

Jude Gray, head teacher at Wath Central Primary, said: “The opportunity to meet with the deputy director and put across our views as well as showing him the innovative work we’ve been doing in school was very welcome.”