Commenting on the call by the Local Government Association for school-based counselling to be available and properly funded by Government, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:  

"Schools definitely need more counsellors. Most secondary schools need at least one full time counsellor to keep up with the demands for their expert support and so we think the LGA recommendation is a good step in that direction. We agree with the LGA that more school-based counselling would be a sensible step given the increased number of young people with anxiety and mental health issues. Situating these services for young people in schools makes sense. We think the Government should be looking at a model whereby the services which young people and their parents and carers needs can be accessed through and in schools - and with funding planned accordingly.

'The waiting lists for mental health support are a real problem and families who can afford to pay for faster support are doing this out of desperation. Early intervention through school counsellors to make young people feel supported at and via their school is so important. Having on-site counsellors can prevent other problems spiralling, such as attendance or anxiety problems.

'Government needs to be seriously tackling the causes of the increase in poor mental health for children and young people. This includes looking at the education system as a whole and the detrimental effects of a narrow curriculum.  The SEND Review and Behaviour and Exclusions updates provide an opportunity for the Government to entrench well-being and good mental health approaches at the heart of education and to prevent an imminent crisis in the mental health of a generation of young people."