Nearly four in five teachers have seen mental health issues among pupils increase over the past year, a survey suggests.
More than three in five (62%) believe the Government has placed low priority on the good mental health of young people in educational settings, according to a poll from the National Education Union (NEU).
The UK’s largest teaching union is calling on ministers to recognise that the wellbeing of young people is “just as vital” as their academic learning.
The survey, of mainly teachers, school leaders and some support staff, suggests that two in three believe pressure to prioritise “catch up” of learning has presented a barrier to supporting pupils’ mental health.
More than half said a lack of access to external support services (56%) and sufficient staff providing pastoral care (54%) are also barriers.
The findings were released on the final day of the NEU’s annual conference.
The survey, of nearly 10,700 NEU members, suggests that 78% have seen the number of students with mental health issues rise over the last year, with 34% saying the number had “increased greatly”.
It found that only 7% believe the Government has placed high priority on ensuring that pupil mental health is good in schools and colleges.