The Coalition for Youth Mental Health in Schools, of which Eton College is a member, has called for radical reform of how mental health is supported in educational settings. The coalition has recommended an overhaul of counselling and PSHE in secondary schools while also demanding a step change in the provision of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

Eton College Head Master, Simon Henderson said, “This important research and report – written by a coalition of school leaders, including Eton’s Director of Safeguarding, Alice Vicary-Stott – makes a number of recommendations which highlight the critical role youth mental health provision will play as we respond to the impact of the pandemic.

“It also reinforces, again, the power of partnership and how, when the state and independent sectors come together to share experience and expertise, it can be of benefit to all young people. Eton is proud to play our role in this.”

Following the major study, which took in academic research, opinion polling and focus groups, and expert witness evidence sessions, the coalition is making eight recommendations:

  • The introduction of a nationally standardised framework for measuring and tracking outcomes for CAMHS across the country alongside increased funding.
  • The government should accelerate its ambition to ensure every school has a designated mental health leader by 2023 by bringing forward the funds allocated for training by two years.
  • The government should introduce a statutory requirement for every school staff member to receive appropriate mental health and wellbeing awareness training as part of annual safeguarding training.
  • Schools should restrict mobile phone use during the academic school day and educate students on how to be safe online.
  • All schools to teach at least one properly timetabled lesson of PSHE education each week.
  • The government to invest £11.6 million a year from 2023 into a new ITT route to ensure every secondary school in England has a specialist trained PSHE teacher by 2030.
  • The government should centrally fund a school counsellor in every school.
  • A new apprenticeship trailblazer route to increase the diversity of school counsellors.

The coalition’s report included findings from its opinion research exercise, including the results from a poll of 1,010 young people on their experience of life under Covid-19:

  • 71% reported feeling like they had no motivation more frequently than pre-pandemic.
  • 62% reported feeling anxious or worried more frequently than pre-pandemic.
  • 46% reported feeling a continuous low mood or sadness more frequently than pre-pandemic.
  • 42% reported not getting any enjoyment out of life more frequently than pre-pandemic.
  • 38% reported feeling hopeless or tearful more frequently than pre-pandemic.
  • 18% reported having suicidal thoughts more frequently than pre-pandemic.

The coalition was first brought together in the midst of the second lockdown and was a direct response to the challenge of Coronavirus on the lives of all of your young people. It includes independent schools and multi-academy trusts in the state sector and is made up of:
Alleyn’s School

Lady Eleanor Holles School

City of London School for Girls

David Ross Educational Trust

Eton College

Oasis Community Learning

Outwood Grange Academy Trust

Reach Academy, Feltham

Star Academies

St Paul’s School

Wellington College

Westminster School

Wycombe Abbey

To read the full report please click here.