Posted on: 5 January 2023
A recent national survey, commissioned by the Department for Education, to analyse how impactful mental health support teams (MHSTs) working in schools are being received, has produced impressive results for our School Based Needs team.
MHSTs are part of the government’s response to the 2018 Green Paper on Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision. In Surrey, they work as part of the School Based Needs Teams within Mindworks Surrey and are currently located in schools across Surrey Heath, Spelthorne, Epsom, Elmbridge, Reigate, Banstead, Woking, Runnymede, Guildford and Waverley.
The team’s whole school approach provides a wide range of support for students, parents/carers, teachers, SENCOs, headteachers and staff. As the service evolves in terms of resources, the aim is to have MHSTs available in 45% of state schools across Surrey by the end of 2023.
Although our results were impressive, they were based on the relatively limited number of schools across Surrey that responded to the national survey. The results showed:-
- Education Mental Health Practitioners: 91% of Surrey schools that responded to the survey worked with an Education Mental Health Practitioner compared with the regional average of 56%. 80% felt sufficiently informed and supported by the Surrey Mental Health Support Team.
- Schools feeling supported: Of those who schools/colleges that responded in Surrey, the MHSTs received 100% success rate in terms of the support provided, engagement and receptiveness in working collaboratively with them.
- School engagement and commitment: 100% of those who responded in Surrey felt their school/college were an active partner in the programme and that their parents were aware of the service compared with a national average of 87% in both respects.
- Provision of support: 100% of those who responded in Surrey felt their school/college were clear on the direct intervention from the MHSTs and the support that could be signposted by the team, compared with 89% and 78% respectively. 100% of the Surrey school/college respondents felt that the MHSTs targeted resources to best support the pupil/student’s needs compared with 78% nationally.
- Co-production: Compared with the national average of 81%, 100% of the Surrey schools who responded felt the school/college was given the opportunity to help shape the support we provide on an ongoing basis. 100% also felt positive of how the MHSTs and school/college worked together compared with 60% regionally and 61% nationally.
- Impact: 100% of those who responded in Surrey felt that working with the MHSTs improved the overall school/college approach to promoting positive mental health, wellbeing and pastoral support compared with 79% and 82% regionally respectively.
- Referrals: 100% of those schools/colleges who responded in Surrey felt that the referral pathway was clear, fit for purpose and successful with the latter gaining a national average of 79%.
- Governance: 73% of those schools/colleges that responded in Surrey felt fully aware of how they were represented with the local MHST programme governance arrangements compared with a national average of 45%.
Other national key findings from the survey, revealed:-
- Barriers/Challenges: When schools/colleges were asked about the challenges and barriers they had experienced in being able to make use of the MHSTs, the most common response was 24% stating limited MHST staff capacity, 22% parental engagement and 18% stating school/college staff capacity.
- Most important factors that enabled schools/colleges to make effective use of MHSTs: When asked this, 55% stated that mental health and wellbeing was a priority in the school/college, 43% stated having a senior mental health lead in place with strategic oversight/buy in from the senior leadership team and 39% stated understanding the scope/remit of the MHSTs.
- Meeting the schools needs: The survey stated that 38% of respondents felt the MHSTs met the needs of the school/college and 34% stated they felt the MHSTs had been integrated into the school community.