Westminster Education Forum

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Improving children’s mental health in the wake of the pandemic - policy priorities, services and targeted support, workforce development, tackling root causes

July 2021


Price: £95 PLUS VAT
Format: DOWNLOADABLE PDF


When it happened…


Tuesday, 13 July 2021


What delegates came to discuss…


This conference will examine priorities, policy, and best practice for improving child mental health in England - with a particular focus on the impact of the pandemic.


We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with Gregor Henderson, Director, Mental Health, Public Health England; Dr Prathiba Chitsabesan, Associate National Clinical Director, Children and Young People’s Mental Health, NHS England; and Wendy Ghaffar HMI, Specialist Adviser, Cross Remit Safeguarding, Social Policy, Ofsted.


Overall, key areas for discussion in this conference include:


  • immediate priorities for supporting children’s mental health following the pandemic and a return to in-person education
  • identifying root causes of poor mental health, and best practice for prevention
  • assessing child mental health services and looking at how they can be improved, including the role of inspections in raising standards

It comes at a time of particular focus for policymakers and stakeholders, with:


  • the Government consulting on its white paper on potential changes to the Mental Health Act following the independent review of the Act of 2018, including proposals to:
    • strengthen children’s and young people’s rights to be involved in decisions about their care and treatment
    • ensure children and young people can challenge decisions, and that they are only detained for hospital treatment when necessary
  • research from NHS Digital indicating that in 2020 one in six children had a mental health concern, compared to one in nine in 2017
  • warnings from Ofsted that children who have suffered the most with their mental health through the pandemic have:
    • struggled on their return to school with their basic skills and learning
    • seen an increase in eating disorders and self-harm

Who attended…


Officials from the Department for Education; the Department of Health and Social Care; the Government Legal Department; the National Audit Office; and Ofsted.


Representatives from Appleton Academy, Bradford; Arts Council England; Association of Educational Psychologists; Barnardo's; Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Candesic; City of Wolverhampton Council; Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council; Fronting the Challenge Projects; Hampshire County Council - The Virtual School; KIDS; Kirklees Council; London Borough of Merton; NHS South Central and West CSU; NIHR; Public First; Royal College of Psychiatrists; South Asian Health Action; St Vincent de Paul Society; Switch Midlands CIC; TEWV NHS Trust and The Kids Network.



This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles