Chartered College of Teaching contributes to report on need for greater mental health training for teachers

The Chartered College of Teaching has contributed to a new report looking at mental health training available to teachers and leaders. ‘Teachers: The forgotten health workforce’ finds that schools and teachers, who have not received adequate training, are buckling under the strain of providing mental health support for children. It calls for urgent investment to support schools and teachers in promoting good mental health.

Dame Alison Peacock, CEO and Dr Lisa-Maria Müller, Education Research Manager contributed to the report published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

“Despite this background of unprecedented need, inadequate training, and a workforce eager to learn, training in promoting children’s healthy development was omitted in the final stages of the recent teacher training reforms in England, in favour of a narrow focus on improving academic attainment.”

Regardless of socioeconomic status, children with better social and emotional development achieve higher GCSE results, while those with mental health difficulties are more likely to perform poorly. Research has shown that the influence of individual teachers on pupils’ mental health is as significant as their influence on academic test scores.

We offer these recommendations to create a healthier education system, turning vicious cycles of poor pupil and teacher wellbeing into virtuous circles that enhance children’s long-term physical health, mental health, educational and economic outcomes.”

Dame Alison Peacock

Recommendations include integrating comprehensive training in child development, health and wellbeing into teacher training courses and being provided free of charge to all current teachers. The report also recommends investment in schools to become hubs for children’s services, from social workers to social prescribing link workers.

“It is both astonishing and alarming that teachers are not adequately trained for these roles. Given the essential role schools and teachers play in supporting children’s long-term health and wellbeing, and responding when problems arise, funding support from the health sector to equip this forgotten health workforce could be transformational.”

Chloe Lowry, lead author, Institute of Education at University College London