Teachers missing lessons to pick up pieces of poor student mental health

07/09/2022

Teachers missing lessons to ‘pick up pieces’ of poor student mental health

Liz Truss has been urged to tackle poor mental health in schools after a study showed hundreds of teachers were missing lessons to give students “urgent medical attention”.

According to the charity YoungMinds, Britain’s new Prime Minister needs to provide funding for a support team in every school to “get a grip” on the issue.

Its survey of a thousand teachers showed that 47% take time from lessons to deal with mental health issues every day, while 27% do so several times a day.

Around three-quarters of teachers believe students’ lack of mental health support has harmed their educations.

Nic Griffiths, assistant headteacher at Merseyside’s Upton Hall School, said: “On some occasions my lessons have to be covered because a young person is in crisis and needs urgent medical assistance.

“This means that other pupils miss out on specialist teaching.

“Too much is expected of schools and of teachers. We are doing our best but it can’t carry on like this.”

YoungMinds believes that schools are “picking up the pieces” for overstretched health services, damaging pupils’ prospects as they try to catch up following years of lockdown disruption.

Even when young people are referred for help outside of school, the survey shows 45% of teachers do not believe they are given the right support.

The charity believes one remedy would be to install specialist support teams in schools with their funding protected, though it does not give a costing.

“Teachers are doing all they can to pick up the pieces, but they are not mental health professionals and shouldn’t have to be,” Emma Thomas, the charity’s chief executive, said.

“This is why we are calling for ring-fenced funding, so schools can better support the thousands of young people who are struggling right now.

“This cannot go on. Government must get a grip of the situation.”

YoungMinds’ analysis of the latest NHS data shows that record levels of under-18s – more than 450,000 – were referred to mental health services in May 2022.

Published: by Radio NewsHub


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