Commenting on a new report from the Health and Social Care Committee on mental health services for children and young people, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:  

"The findings of the select committee are damning but not surprising to those in the education sector. Our members know only too well that in too many cases young people's mental health has deteriorated during the pandemic. They require specialist assessment and support, but supply is not meeting demand. 

"Mental Health Support Teams currently work with only a small percentage of schools - approximately one thousand - and the target of 35% coverage by 2023/24 is just not good enough. Notwithstanding the issues of rollout, MHSTs can only support low to moderate mental health issues. Many on the waiting list will quickly require more specialist support. 

"Successive Conservative governments have throttled the capacity of local authorities to fully support schools. They must recognise this and redouble their efforts to come to the aid of young people who need the help. Investing in training more MHST practitioners would drastically reduce the timeframe for rollout, in order that all schools benefit from early support by the end of 2022. That is the kind of ambition and sense of mission that is required at this moment. 

"Assessment and diagnosis times have reached a critical point now. We agree with all the recommendations of this report. The Government must listen and follow them through."