A whole-school approach to pupil wellbeing

It is estimated that three children in an average-size classroom will have a mental health problem. To tackle this, the Welsh Government is taking a whole-school approach to wellbeing, while in Scotland, counselling services will be available to all secondary school pupils from September

By the age of 14, half of all mental health problems will have begun, according to the World Health Organization. And Young Minds has estimated that three children in every average size classroom will have a mental health issue.
To tackle this, the Welsh Government has committed to improving the wellbeing of children and young people. They want to equip children with the skills, confidence and tools to be emotionally resilient.
The Welsh Government is taking a whole-school approach to wellbeing. This means that mental health and wellbeing is central to the way schools in Wales work, leading to more effective ways of prevention and early intervention.
To support this work, the Welsh Government has doubled funding, providing an additional £2.5 million for local authorities and local health boards.
A year ago, the Welsh Government formed a Joint Ministerial Task and Finish Group to accelerate work on improving mental health and well-being support in schools. It was set up following recommendations from the Mind over Matter report released by the National Assembly for Wales’ Children, Young People and Education Committee in 2018.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “The mental health and wellbeing of our children and young people is so important and I’m pleased to announce further support for our whole school approach. Our National Mission places wellbeing at the core of our new curriculum, supporting our children and young people to become healthy confident individuals, who are building their mental and emotional well-being by developing confidence, resilience and empathy.”
The Welsh Government has also published its mental health strategy ‘Together for Mental Health’.

Scotland’s wellbeing work

In Scotland, counselling services will be available to all secondary school pupils by September this year, including during the school holidays to ensure continuity of care.

The Scottish Government and COSLA have agreed on the allocation of £60 million over four years, which will build or expand high quality counselling services for children and young people.
Counselling services currently delivered by qualified and registered counsellors through Pupil Equity or Scottish Attainment funding will continue, enabling local authorities to reallocate those funds to other priorities to help close the attainment gap.
Scottish Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said: “Children and young people can face many issues growing up and must have the right support available at the right time.
“Providing every secondary school with access to at least one counsellor by next year is a significant step forward in our package of measures to improve the mental health support available for children and young people.”
Announced on 4 September 2018, The Scottish Government is investing over £60 million in additional school counselling services across all of Scotland. £12 million will go to local authorities for 2019/20, rising to £16 million a year thereafter.
The funding is being distributed based on a fixed sum of £45,000 allocated to each Local Authority (LA), seven per cent for schools located in remote rural areas, and the remainder distributed on secondary pupil numbers.

London’s focus on wellbeing

The Mayor of London’s Healthy Schools initiative supports and recognises schools that go above and beyond to promote positive wellbeing in pupils.
Schools can have a direct impact on helping children to lead a healthy lifestyle. They can help children learn about their health and develop their motivation and self-respect to make healthy choices.
The Mayor’s award programme recognises and celebrates schools that are making a difference to their pupils’ wellbeing.
One such school is George Spicer Primary School in Enfield, London, which has gained  Healthy Schools London Silver and Bronze Awards. This is in recognition of their work creating a calm space for pupils to eat, encouraging healthy eating choices and expanding their range of food.
The Healthy Schools London programme gives Bronze, Silver and Gold awards to schools that encourage young Londoners to learn about their health and develop their motivation to make healthy choices. The Mayor is also supporting the Daily Mile – a campaign that encourages all schools to get their pupils moving every day to improve their overall fitness and wellbeing.