To receive a report from Peter Nathan, Director of Education.
Suzy Francis, Principal Educational Psychologist/ Strategic Lead for Social Emotional Mental Health introduced the report
1. The Background of the document provides the national context of mental health. The paper from youth parliament echoes what is covered in the report.
2. From the first lockdown in March last year Enfield Thrives Together was set up. This started with six people across voluntary sector, parents, schools, NHS and the local authority. From this there has been regular fortnightly meetings to continue to listen to what was going on and to pivot services as they adapted in lockdown. Enfield Thrives Together now has a membership of over 70 partners.
3. The document reflects the actions during the pandemic from looking at what parents are experiencing through to school staff wellbeing.
4. Schools are undertaking a lot of work to support each other.
5. The Professional Learning programme was set up in the summer promoting resilience and recovery.
6. In Autumn term the wellbeing for education return grant was received enabling the local authority to provide a network of presentations and training to the schools. This included Royal Free eating disorders clinic, CAMHS, EPS, the PSHE lead, voluntary sector, social prescribing and PE Team providing a wide scope of how childrens wellbeing could be supported. This included expert knowledge and information about local services. This programme will carry on until the 1 April. Providing parent care and telephone support lines opening up accessibility to Educational Psychology services. Schools and staff will continue to be provided with emotional wellbeing support. There will also be online workshops for young people led by Children and Wellbeing practitioners and Educational Psychologists
7. An example was provide of an online workshop for parents where in excess of 150 parents had logged in.
8. Officers are hoping to work with Youth Parliament members on a film to be developed with young people for young people. It is hoped that this will be ready to launch in May around World Mental Health Day.
Comments, queries and questions:
· The following was highlighted by the Youth Parliament member from their discussions on this issue:
o Young people feel very uncertain about their future and this causes worry.
o Concerns raised on not enough face to face support or enough information about the future going forward, particularly at years 11,12 and 13.
o Lots of worries caused on exams marking last year.
o Not every student speaks up and ask for support.
o Awareness that schools try hard to tackle. More information needed to help cope with uncertainty.
o Stress of the large amounts of online schoolwork than can cause burnout, difficulties in focusing and depression affecting students of all abilities
o Uncertainty for this year’s exams is adding to stress and anxiety.
· Claire Docherty on behalf of the unions highlighted the following issues:
o Echoed that if the wellbeing of the school staff is looked after then this helps support the wellbeing of students
o A survey was undertaken with NEU members on mental health amongst teachers and support staff with 276 responses received. The results are indicative of the results that all the unions are having with their members. Amongst the findings from the survey:
§ 40% rated their mental health as good or better, 23% rated their mental health as poor.
§ 60% said experiencing low mood or depression
§ The main cause of stress and anxiety was workload and a lack of work/life balance
§ 70% considered leaving the profession due to the impact of work on their mental health
§ 33% were constantly anxious and stressed due to work
§ The efforts of leaders to support mental health was recognised and appreciated, but felt more could be done to look at route causes rather than the symptoms
o Unions members would welcome the opportunity to work with all stakeholders to develop something like a mental health charter for Enfield. Mental health concerns have been around for a while. However, the pandemic has bought to the fore. It was agreed that this survey can be shared with members
· Following a query on whether timing had affected the survey results, it was confirmed that results were similar 12 months ago. Although members stated that since the pandemic their mental health has further deteriorated.
· An observation was made that mental health is a very important issue and felt that the report should be elevated and discussed and debated elsewhere, such as Cabinet or Council. It is important to look at the cause of issues and that actions included quick fix short term actions must come from the report.
· An observation on the young people going into schools at present. It was raised that if the foster carers own children were not going into schools, the children in care could feel that it was unfair that they should be attending school.
· Officers were asked to address raised so far that had been exemplified by both the unions and the youth parliament, these being: information, uncertainty and staff wellbeing.
· Officers would like the help of the Youth Parliament on information, to look at the types of mediums that can used to the help to the young people at the right time.
· On the issue of uncertainty and the stress and anxiety that comes from this. One of the key messages throughout all the work on community wellbeing is how do we stay in the present and remain in control of what we can manage. It is important to ensure that there is good information available that provides some containment and some certainty. This is key in managing the uncertainty and being able to stick with what you can control.
· On the Staff survey and staff wellbeing, the local authority are using lots of different ways to link in with Enfield school staff; such as through the teams that work in schools and through council officers meeting with Headteacher or other members of leadership teams. It was acknowledged that workload and work life balance was still an issue a year ago. The issue of stigma in relation to mental health was raised. For example, a confidential service available to young people – Kooth which was believed to be quite well known, however the take up is not that high. Following conversation with Headteachers regarding support for them and their staff and the take up is not as high as would have expected. Enfield Thrives Together is a very active partnership, trauma informed practice training will roll out in the near future subject to funding. The Mental Health agenda is regularly discussed with schools and the local authority continues to look at ways to working and support schools.
· Does the Council have a mental health charter or policy? There is advice and guidance in terms of HR but not a charter, this could be worked on with schools and the youth parliament.
‘The Council should produce an action orientated mental health charter and policy and provide the resources to make changes that will support young people and staff on matters such as information, uncertainty and staff wellbeing. In producing this the Council is asked to work with the various stakeholders including the unions and the Youth Parliament and with the involvement of the Children Young People and Education Scrutiny Panel’.
Officers were thanked for their report