Suicide Prevention and the National Curriculum Debate

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Department: Department for Education

Suicide Prevention and the National Curriculum

Caroline Nokes Excerpts
Monday 13th March 2023

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Westminster Hall
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Nick Gibb Portrait Nick Gibb
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I will take both of those points under advisement. The hon. Member is talking about the wider issue of parents; we are really talking here about a curriculum for schools. Of course, in due course those children become parents—they become adults and parents. Teacher training is a wider issue. First of all, we need to get the curriculum right, and that is what will come out of this thorough review of the whole RSHE guidance, which we are starting right now.

The Government have also committed to publishing a new national suicide prevention strategy for England this year. The strategy will reflect new evidence and national priorities for preventing suicides. The Department for Education has worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care throughout the development of the strategy to understand what more we can do to reduce suicide and self-harm among children and young people. In answer to the question from the hon. Member for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy), my Department and the Department of Health and Social Care are committed to publishing that strategy this year.

In conclusion, the mental health of children is a priority for this Government, and we know that schools can play a critical role in supporting children’s mental wellbeing. We will monitor implementation of the new curriculum and continue to work to improve teacher confidence to deliver these broad-ranging and sensitive topics to the best of their abilities—a point raised by the hon. Member for York Central. We will also continue the roll-out of training for senior mental health leads and mental health support teams to ensure that schools are getting the best support possible on pupil mental health.

I have set out the measures already in place and the ways in which schools can and do support pupils, including those with suicidal feelings. Once the review of the RSHE statutory guidance has concluded, we will be able to consider what more can be done to support pupils further.

Caroline Nokes Portrait Caroline Nokes (in the Chair)
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I call Nick Fletcher to wind up.