School-based Counselling Services Debate

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Department: Department for Education

School-based Counselling Services

Eleanor Laing Excerpts
Tuesday 9th November 2021

(2 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Debate resumed.
Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker
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I also have to inform the House that I have to reduce the time limit to six minutes. I call Paul Blomfield.

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Kevan Jones Portrait Mr Kevan Jones
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On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Call me old-fashioned, but I thought that in a wind-up the Minister was supposed to respond to the debate. He has now been on his feet for seven or eight minutes, and all we have heard is a pre-prepared, read-out speech.

Eleanor Laing Portrait Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing)
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The right hon. Gentleman knows that that is not a point of order for the Chair. If he does not like what the Minister is saying, he is at liberty to intervene on him and suggest that he says something else. The Minister also has plenty more time to make plenty more points.

Will Quince Portrait Will Quince
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Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. In response to the right hon. Gentleman, I am responding to what the Government are doing on the issues that have been raised.

As I mentioned, another important part of the whole school approach is ensuring that all pupils understand how to promote their own mental health and wellbeing. We must ensure that they have the knowledge and confidence to seek additional support when it is needed. That is why we made health education compulsory for pupils receiving primary and secondary education, alongside relationships education in all primary schools, and relationships and sex education in all secondary schools. Through these new subjects, all children will be taught about mental health, including how to recognise and manage any wellbeing issues. We have published a support package for schools to ensure that teachers have the confidence to deliver the subjects, specifically including the content on mental health and wellbeing.

Let me turn to the mental health support teams, which have been referenced by numerous Members across the Chamber. Although schools have an important role to play, teachers are not mental health professionals and they should not be expected to act as such. Where more serious problems occur, schools should expect the pupil and their family to be able to access support from specialist children and young people’s mental health services, voluntary organisations and local GP practices.