Self harm risen in half of schools, research shows

Stressed school kid

Incidents of self-harm among children and young people have risen in almost half (45 per cent) of schools in England, which equates to more than 10,000 schools, according to research from The Key.

The Key’s annual State of Education survey report reveals that three in five (60 per cent) of the headteachers and other school leaders surveyed have also seen an increase in depression among students over the past two years.

While pupil mental health was the most prevalent health and safeguarding concern for school leaders in both 2015 and 2016 when asked about a range of issues, worry over domestic violence, drugs and sexting also increased over this period.

What’s more, almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of school leaders told The Key last year that children’s services or social services being slow or failing to respond to referrals was a barrier to fulfilling their safeguarding duties. More than a third (37 per cent) also reported that excessive paperwork and bureaucracy were obstacles to completing their duties.

On the issue of self-harm, The Key’s report demonstrates that while more than a third (38 per cent) of school leaders in London saw incidents increase among pupils over the past two years, more than half (54 per cent) of leaders in the north west said the same.

Self-harm also seems to be more prevalent in coastal areas with nearly six in 10 (57 per cent) school leaders witnessing an increase in incidents since 2015 compared to just over four in 10 (43 per cent) in inland areas.

Interventions from schools include staff working closely with parents in two-thirds (66 per cent) of schools, and counselling provision in nearly six in 10 (58 per cent) schools. Over half (57 per cent) already run staff their own training to help staff identify early indicators of mental health issues.

In light of the these findings and the safeguarding pressures being felt by schools, The Key has worked with a team of safeguarding specialists to provide INSET training materials for all schools to download now, ready to deliver in staff training sessions this September.

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