Westminster Education Forum

Next steps for children’s mental health - effective multi-agency collaboration, provision in schools and the impact of screen use

Morning, Monday, 1st April 2019

Central London


This timely conference will bring together stakeholders with key policymakers to discuss priorities for improving children and young people’s mental health provision in England.

Delegates will consider key issues for delivering proposals set out in Government’s Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision green paper and the recently released NHS long term plan, which include the introduction of specialist mental health leads in schools and colleges, the creation new mental health support teams and the piloting of 4-week waiting times for services.

It also comes with plans to trial all three elements in new trailblazer areas that are expected to be operational by the end of 2019, and the intention for this to inform a planned wider roll out over the next five years.

Those attending will also focus on how to establish a co-ordinated, multi-agency approach between schools, the NHS and charities to tackling mental health concerns, as Government introduces new mental health support teams which are intended to provide a link between schools and the NHS.

Delegates will discuss their design and roll out as well as considering the implementation of the 4-week waiting time for treatment.

Attendees will discuss the practical challenges surrounding the introduction of designated mental health leads in schools and colleges, including funding and resource concerns and criticism that the provision of specialist staff is only currently planned to reach certain schools across the country.

With existing school staff expected to take on the additional role of designated leads, sessions will also look at pressures on staff - including the further workload and concerns surrounding teacher wellbeing - and support needed.

Further sessions discuss the implementation of health education into the curriculum following the government commitment to make PSHE a compulsory part of the curriculum from September 2019, including issues surrounding teaching and timetable time, staff knowledge and resources.

The seminar comes with Chief Medical Officer currently conducting a Review into the impact of excessive social media use on children’s mental health following comments from the Secretary of State for Health; and the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee undertaking an inquiry into social media and screen use. Delegates will therefore look at how to raise awareness amongst parents, children and teachers of the potential risks of social media usage, whilst also discussing the positive effects on young people’s mental well-being, such as the use of apps to enhance mental wellbeing.  

The seminar follows the National Audit Office recently raising concerns about the ability of children’s mental health services to meet growing demand.

We also expect discussion on implications of the joint inquiry by the Education and Health and Social Care Committees finding that the green paper ‘lacks ambition and will provide no hope to the majority of children that desperately need it’. The Committee was also concerned that the Green Paper is too narrow to take into account the needs of vulnerable groups and places ‘significant demands on the teaching workforce without guarantee of significant extra resources’.

Further sessions focus on phase one of the CQC’s review of children and young people’s mental health services which criticised the fragmentation of the system, suggesting it leads to some children missing out on appropriate support and questioned the capacity of health practitioners to identify mental health needs.

Those attending will also look at the CQCs recommendations including its call on local organisations to develop a clear ‘local offer’ of the care and support available and for Ofsted to look at what schools are doing in this area.

Keynote Speaker

Jenny George

Director, Health Value for Money Studies, National Audit Office

Keynote Speakers

Jenny George

Director, Health Value for Money Studies, National Audit Office

Sara Saunders

Implementation Lead (Green Paper), Children & Young People's Mental Health Team, NHS England


Baroness Tyler of Enfield (subject to Parliamentary business)

Baroness Armstrong of Hilltop

Member, House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee and Member, House of Lords European Union Committee


James Hollinsley

Head of School, Longwood Primary Academy & Nursery, Essex

Dr Stella Acquarone

Founder and Principal, The Parent Infant Centre

Emma Thomas

Chief Executive, YoungMinds

Ruth Lowe

External Affairs Manager, Parentkind

Jenny Barksfield

Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Senior Subject Specialist, PSHE Association