UK school reforms ‘ignored’ rise in pupils’ mental illness

Jul 5, 2015 by

Former education secretary was ‘just not interested’ in number of children falling ill, says ex-health minister Paul Burstow

A former health minister has claimed Michael Gove quietly downgraded the importance of mental health in schools during his time at the Department for Education amid an explosion in the number of young people falling ill.

Paul Burstow, care services minister in the coalition, suggests in an article online for the Observer that “Gove’s education ministry was just not interested in mental health and wellbeing”, despite the long-term costs to pupils and the exchequer. Gove, now justice secretary, was education secretary from 2010 to 2014.

While there has not been a national study of children’s mental health since 2004, there is evidence that the problem has been growing, adding to pressures on the NHS. Emergency admissions for teenagers with psychiatric conditions rose to 17,278 last year, almost double the number four years ago. According to data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, there were 15,668 admissions of women aged 15 to 19 for cutting, burning or harming themselves, compared with 9,255 admissions in 2004.

Source: Michael Gove’s school reforms ‘ignored’ rise in pupils’ mental illness | Education | The Guardian

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