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Schools' mental health arrangements to be audited

Schools' mental health arrangements to be audited

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Schools' mental health arrangements to be audited


Primary, secondary and special schools across the island are to be audited as part of a new approach to mental health in education, the Health Minister has said.

Deputy Richard Renouf said that a provider is currently being identified to carry out the audit, which would see each school develop its own individual action plan.

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Pictured: Health Minister Richard Renouf said that a provider was being sought for the audit.

“As part of the future model of care, consideration is being given to a whole system approach to better supporting mental health and behavioural needs within secondary schools,” the Minister said in response to a question from former Education Minister, Senator Tracey Vallois.

“A provider is currently being identified to audit every Jersey school, primary, special and secondary, including non-provided schools, to understand their individual mental health training and support needs and develop individual school action plans.” 

However, in response to Senator Vallois’ question around whether behavioural and health support units could be included within schools - a question also posed to the Government by Express - the Health Minister did not commit to an option.

“Work is ongoing via the Inclusion Review and the emotional well-being and mental health redesign work to identify the best approach to better supporting mental health and behavioural needs within schools,” he said.

“This may include a recommendation for behavioural and mental health support units within schools, however evidence review to date suggests taking a whole system and whole school approach to these issues.”

Instead, he listed a series of recommendations given to the Government, including:

  • named CAMHS Practitioners to offer support to each secondary school.
  • Children and Families Hub to include mental health specialist professionals able to provide telephone support.
  • Improving the quality and impact of mental health and well-being support as part of the core PSHE curriculum.
  • Providing significant governance and school leadership to guide a “whole school” mental health approach.
  • Monitoring the delivery of mental health and well-being support through the Jersey Schools Review Framework, as this will ensure that delivery is maintained over time.
  • Re-specifying School Nursing via Family Nursing and Homecare (FNHC) to provide health and well-being drop-in clinics to students and parents/carers.
  • Providing additional capacity across the system, including behaviour support, mental health therapy and support, and parenting support.

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Pictured: Earlier this year, Express covered a number of concerns around special school, La Sente.

The Inclusion review mentioned was announced at the end of last week, with the Government appointing the National Association for Special Education Needs to carry out a review of inclusion measures for children in early years and education aged 0-25.  

As part of this, the Association will be consulting islanders on their views, which they can answer through a number of online surveys.

The recommendations come at a time when children’s mental health issues on the island are reaching new highs, with a recent report on the subject showing that referrals to mental health services have increased by 26% over the last 4 years, and a parent recently giving a testimony to Express about how she felt there was a need for more dedicated eating disorder treatment on the island.

Similarly, earlier this year Express explored a number of concerns around the inclusivity of Jersey’s education system, with one carer describing special school La Sente as a “containment facility” for children, and the Children’s Commissioner saying she would investigate the “too high” exclusion rate at its facilities.

CLICK HERE to take part in the Inclusion Review.

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