Mental health education to be made compulsory in English schools

The Independent is reporting that Health education is to be made compulsory in all schools in England under new government plans following growing concerns about mental health problems among young people.

Children will be taught how to build mental resilience – as well as how to recognise when their peers are struggling with mental health issues  – as part of statutory lessons, the government says. 

It follows a national call for evidence where teachers, pupils and parents were asked what they thought should be taught as part of compulsory relationship and sex education (RSE) classes.

The move has been broadly welcomed by campaigners who called for personal, social and health education lessons (PSHE) to be made compulsory to tackle the rise in mental health issues.

But some have criticised the delayed roll-out of the SRE reforms – which were planned for September 2019 – and they say that the government’s proposals do not go far enough.

As well as a focus on health, the reformed guidance to schools – which has not been updated since 2000 – will include topics like consent, keeping children safe online and LGBT+ issues.

But not all topics currently covered in PSHE lessons in school – such as financial literacy and preparation for the workplace – are being made compulsory by the government.  

The proposals are now open to another consultation on how the subjects should be taught – with teaching materials available from 2019 and the reforms becoming statutory in September 2020.

Read more Mental health education to be made compulsory in English schools

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