Challenge to LEAs of rise in pupils with mental illness

One of the key challenges facing almost all local education
authorities (LEAs) is the increase in the number of pupils with
mental health difficulties who are unable to cope in secondary
schools, says the schools inspection body Ofsted.

Currently one in three LEAs do not have a satisfactory range of
provision for educating pupils with special medical needs, the
majority of whom are suffering from anxiety, depression or phobias,
says Ofsted.

In the best LEAs provision includes hospital special schools or
units, a home tuition service, hospital teaching, adolescent
psychiatric units and smaller units within other schools and
colleges where students with anxiety and depression can study.

Ofsted found that the quality of teaching and learning for these
pupils is generally good, and that almost all pupils are pleased
with their education, but many of those with depression, anxiety
and phobias, and their parents, were concerned about the time they
spent at home before they received help.

Ofsted says all schools should appoint a named person
responsible for children who cannot attend because of their medical
needs, and refer them promptly for alternative education.

Schools should also work closely with hospital and home tuition
service, providing information about the pupils’ curriculum and
achievements, drawing up personal education plans for the pupil,
and providing appropriate work.

In a third of LEAs there are not enough opportunities for these
pupils to work in group settings, so they are isolated at home for
too long. Because they seldom leave home, some of these young
people have no other peer contact, so the home tutor may be the
only contact outside the family.

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