Nick Clegg – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Nick Clegg on 2016-02-09.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of (a) primary and (b) secondary school budgets have been spent on tackling mental health problems in each of the last five years; and if the Government will take steps to protect such spending in future.

Mr Sam Gyimah

The most recent prevalence survey estimated that 1 in 10 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder, and more have lower level problems. This is why the Government has made good mental health, character and resilience a high priority. The Department of Health is commissioning a new prevalence survey to update this estimate for a wider range of ages, from 2-19. It is due to report in 2018. We do not routinely collect data that allows us to measure the amount schools spend specifically on addressing mental health issues.

We are committed to better understanding what schools are doing on this matter, which is why my department is commissioning an extensive survey. This survey will provide a robust national picture of mental health support provided by schools and colleges.

It is for head teachers to determine how they spend their individual school budgets to best meet the needs of all their pupils. In the Spending Review we announced that the core schools budget will be protected in real terms through this Parliament. We are also protecting the Pupil Premium, which many schools use to fund mental health provision, at current pupil rates. Within these protections, we announced in December 2015 that an additional £92.5 million will specifically be provided in the high needs element of the Dedicated School Grant (DSG) next year.

We have also made £1.4 billion available over the next five years to transform local children and young people’s mental health services to deliver more integrated and accessible services. Clinical Commissioning Groups have been required to work with others services locally, including schools, to produce plans that set out how they will transform children and young people’s mental health services locally to make them more accessible and increase the focus on prevention.

We are also contributing to a £3 million joint pilot with NHS England for training single points of contact in schools and specialist mental health services, to ensure that children and young people have timely access to specialist support where needed. There are 22 pilot areas covering more than 200 schools across 27 CCGs.