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Debates and questions

S5W-30970: Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 29 July 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what financial support it will make available to secondary schools to respond to any mental health and wellbeing issues among pupils following the COVID-19 lockdown.

Answered by: John Swinney 13 August 2020

We recognise that young people’s mental health and wellbeing will have been affected during lockdown and know how important it is for schools to stand ready to play a prominent role in supporting their pupils. Supporting and improving pupils’ mental health has therefore been at the heart of planning for reopening schools on 11 August and is set out clearly in our guidance on continuity in learning, which can be accessed at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-continuity-in-learning/

In terms of funding support, in July we announced £80 million funding to recruit more teachers and support staff to enable schools to intensify support for children and young people as they return to full time face-to-face education. The final numbers will of course be dependent on the precise needs of each school however, this investment provides local authorities with the assurance they require to progress plans immediately.

Excellent progress has been made during lockdown and authorities have well-developed whole-school and targeted interventions, including support from educational psychologists and counsellors. We also collated and published the resources available to schools to support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing on Education Scotland’s website, which can be accessed here: https://education.gov.scot/improvement/learning-resources/resources-for-school-staff-to-support-positive-mental-wellbeing-of-children-and-young-people/

We will continue to work hard and in partnership to ensure a safe and welcoming start to the new term for all pupils and staff.