NUT18: Crisis in young people's health
It has been recognised that many of the root causes of poor mental health can be attributed to a high stakes testing, target driven and exam factory system of education and that the Government's pledge to have a 'mental health first aider' in every school (resisting any pressure for teachers to be given this additional, unfunded or untrained role) will have little effect. Conference instructs a call on Government to provide funding and training for appropriate persons to meet their pledge to have a 'mental first aider' in every school. Conference instructs an approach be made to the health unions to consider a joint campaign to lobby the Government for increased funding in all areas of mental health, particularly CAMHS where a review highlighted difficulties with a fragmented service and lack of properly trained staff.
Because of the concerns that many primary school children are experiencing symptoms of stress and anxiety because of the pressures to succeed in SATs tests, conference instructs the renewal the campaign to end SATs.
It has been recognised that the narrowing of the secondary curriculum and the promotion of 'EBACC' subjects at the expense of other subjects, particularly the arts, is having a detrimental effect on young people's mental health. Conference instructs for a campaign nationally and locally for all secondary aged students to study more than one non-EBACC and to oppose the narrowing of the curriculum in schools and to support members in taking action, including strike action to, to prevent it.
It is believed that above all else, children need support, respect and love as pre-requisites for behaviour for learning and not the increasingly punitive approaches to behaviour such as detention, isolation and exclusion (zero tolerance) which is feeding a mental health crisis. Conference instructs to oppose punitive policies in school and promote alternatives based on respect and understanding.