The National Education Union Cymru say that there needs to be an increase in spending on Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), family counselling and all youth intervention services.

David Evans, Wales Secretary of the National Education Union Cymru, said:

“It is absolutely right that our members highlight the impact of mental health and complex needs of young people. Equal access to education is central to the work of the National Education Union.”

“The mental health and additional needs of young people are really important, and we will continue to raise these issues with Welsh Government.

“As implementation of the Additional Learning Needs and Tribunals (Wales) Act has been put back a year, we will be meeting with the Minister and outlining ways of embedding equal access to education for all children.”

Motion 5.        Youth Mental Health Crisis

Conference Cymru is increasingly concerned that austerity is having an adverse effect on school funding, early intervention services, family counselling and Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) thus leaving our most vulnerable youngsters at serious risk.

The NEU Joint General Secretary wrote that:

“Young people today face immense and increasing pressures in their daily lives which are having an adverse impact on their mental wellbeing.  A perfect storm of cuts to local authority support services, cuts to school funding, increased exam pressures and narrowing curriculum has created a crisis situation.”

In a recent survey of education staff working in early years through to Sixth Form colleges it was found that more than half of pupil’s mental health issues are leading to self-harm, 48%

of pupils have panic attacks and 45% have eating disorders.

Conference Cymru urges the Executive through the Wales Committee to lobby the government to ensure that there is an increase in spending on CAMHS, family counselling

and all youth intervention services.

Conference Cymru believes in equality including the rights of all young people to receive a fully supportive and funded education that meets their needs.

Conference Cymru is mindful of The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 and the additional responsibilities that the Act places on teachers and schools.

Conference Cymru acknowledges the materials developed by the Welsh Government, such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder Wales to up-skill teachers.  However, Conference also recognises that more teachers are encountering a growing number of pupils with complex additional needs and that they might not have had adequate training to support these young people.  This, together with lack of funding and often a reduction in support staff within the classroom means that these young people do not always have access to a full and meaningful education.

Conference Cymru also recognises that Wales can learn from other countries’ good practice such as Iceland, Poland and Latvia, where there is a raised teacher awareness of complex needs and their characteristics. Schools there are able to support young people and their families in a more holistic way from initial diagnoses to implementing a full and equal education.

Conference Cymru resolves to:

  1. Support the rights of every child to a fully funded and equal education.
  2. Continue to campaign for funding for schools and support-agencies.
  3. Campaign for closer links to CAMHS, to work in a multi-disciplinary way with GPs and for increased accessibility to the education psychologist service.
  4. Campaign for more funding for Local Authorities to increase provision of Specialist Teaching Facilities and special placements.
  5. Campaign for teacher training to include mandatory hours to understand the complex needs and conditions of our children, such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
  6. Campaign for trainee and qualified teachers in Wales to understand and to have on-going training in the complex needs which affect our children’s abilities to learn and develop, including medical, mental health, social and environmental conditions.

Press contacts:

The National Education Union is an amalgamation of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and National Union of Teachers (NUT), formed on 1 September 2017. Please see the below contact details for assistance:

Contact: David Evans, National Education Union, Tŷ Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ.  Tel: 029 20491818. Mob: 07815 071164.

e-mail: david.evans@neu.org.uk

Contact: Mary van den Heuvel, National Education Union, Tŷ Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ.  Tel: 029 20491818.

e-mail: Mary.VandenHeuvel@neu.org.uk

Note to editors:

  • The National Education Union stands up for the future of education. It brings together the voices of teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges to form the largest education union in Wales.
  • The National Education Union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). It is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.