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

Congress Centre, 28 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS


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.

With the NHS Long Term Plan confirming government commitment to improving children and young people’s mental health provision, delegates will consider key issues for the delivery of proposals set out in the Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision Green Paper, which include the introduction of specialist mental health leads in schools and colleges, the creation of new mental health support teams and the piloting of 4-week waiting times for services.

We also expect discussion on plans to trial the proposals in 25 new trailblazer areas recently announced by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care which are expected to be operational during 2019, and the intention for this to inform a planned wider roll out over the next five years.

Those attending will assess what needs to be put in place 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 issues around the implementation of the 4-week waiting time for treatment.

Attendees will examine the practical challenges surrounding the introduction of designated mental health leads in schools and colleges - with training funded by the DfE due to start in seven universities across the country this month - including concerns about resources and 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, the session will also look at support that might be needed in light of pressures from the further workload and concerns surrounding teacher wellbeing.

Further sessions discuss the implementation of mental wellbeing and resilience into the curriculum, following the Government commitment to make health education a compulsory part of the curriculum from September 2020, including issues surrounding teaching and timetable time, staff knowledge and resources.

The seminar comes with the 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 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 wellbeing, such as the use of apps to enhance mental wellbeing.   

The seminar follows the National Audit Office 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’.

Keynote Speaker

Jenny George

Director, Health Value for Money Studies, National Audit Office

Keynote Speakers

Emma Hardy MP

Member, House of Commons Education Select Committee

Jenny George

Director, Health Value for Money Studies, National Audit Office

Emily Frith

Head of Policy and Advocacy, Office of the Children’s Commissioner


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

Tom Rebair

Young Ambassador Award Winner 2018, Prince’s Trust

Paul Jenkins

Chief Executive, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

Will Gardner

Chief Executive Officer, Childnet

Dr Max Davie

Officer for Health Improvement, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Richard Browne

Headteacher, Pathways E-ACT Primary Academy, Sheffield

Emily Larson

Senior Advisor, Behavioural Insights Team

Dr Zoe Brownlie

Clinical Psychologist, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust