Greenwich Council

Agenda item.

Motion - Council calls on the Government to provide a designated budget for emotional wellbeing in schools

Decision:

Resolved –

Council celebrates the 70th birthday of the National Health Service (NHS) and pays tribute to every person who has worked or volunteered for the NHS since its inception. Council especially thanks the NHS for the array of support given to all Greenwich residents.  

 

Council notes the Government’s plan to support schools by offering every secondary school mental health first aid training and the trials to strengthen the links between schools and local NHS mental health staff. Council further notes the Government’s funding plan for the NHS to receive an extra £20 billion a year by 2023 but supports the King’s Fund view that it still falls short of the 4% annual increase required to meet current needs.

 

Council notes its Children and Young People Plan, Quarter 4, 2017/18 Performance Monitoring report and is deeply concerned that it shows a rise in the number of Greenwich children attending A&E due to self-harm, which can be used as a proxy measure for poor mental wellbeing. Council considers the Government’s plan to support schools and the NHS’s funding plan will fail to provide the early intervention services needed, to ensure pupils’ sub-clinical mental health needs do not become progressively worse.

 

Council notes the Greenwich Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Early Intervention Team’s work in schools providing a range of services including training, consultation, group work, Non-violent Resistance (NVR) training for parents and NVR continual professional development for teaching staff. Council notes the strategic and financial support of Royal Borough of Greenwich and schools for emotional wellbeing but that more resources are needed in schools to promote, protect the emotional and mental health of children in Greenwich.

 

Council recognises that both local authority (LA) funding and per-pupil funding has reduced in real terms which affects a school’s ability to provide in-house mental health services. Hence, Council calls on the Government to provide a designated budget for emotional wellbeing via the LA for schools to establish in-school mental health experts and maintain programmes such as CAMHS and the NVR training programmes in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and across the country. 

 

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Anthony Okereke moved the motion noting that a quarterly performance Report showed an increase in the number of young people attending hospitals because they had self-harmed.  That in four years the number of British children who have self-harmed had increased by 49%, giving a horrifying indication of the scale of the poor mental health and well-being of children in this borough.  He noted the support, per academic year, Greenwich schools received from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service  (CAMHS) but with a growing demand this service was becoming overwhelmed.  Whilst schools have the option to buy additional CAMHS service and top up their core offer they were finding this increasingly difficult to finance.   He felt that schools must be equipped to provide the right environment for learning which included providing the right environment for emotional wellbeing which was why he was calling on the Government to provide a designated budget for emotional wellbeing via the local Authority for schools to establish an in-school mental health expert team and maintain the current service and other programmes.

 

Councillor Ann-Marie Cousins Mariam Lolavar[1] seconded the Motion noting that 75% of those in need of mental health support were not able to access it due to the long waiting lists and the high thresholds for CAMHS; professionals play a key role in reaching young people in crisis and this motion aimed to shed light on one small part of a fragmented mental health provision in crisis.  The Government's children young people's mental health green paper was welcomed but given that a recent NHS providers report stated that 80% of NHS trusts in England feel they do not have enough money to provide quality care to the growing numbers of people seeking mental health support, there were questions as to how this would be funded.   More than 57% of NHS Trusts were unable to meet the demand from Under 18’s specifically.  Introducing mental health workers into schools was the right thing to be doing allowing early identification, self-management and preventative work also to provide support to those with a long way ahead of them for treatment.   There was a predicted 5 years roll out of the Government’s proposals and this Council must be empowered to do more and providing funding for additional support in schools was one step that could be take now to protect our young people.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley, Leader of the Conservative Group, moved an amendment.  He commended Councillors Okereke and Cousins Lolavar1 on their impressive maiden speeches and echoed the concerns raised.   The increase in the number of Greenwich children presenting at A&E due to self-harm was deeply worrying  and the Conservative Group praised the hard work of teachers and health professionals in the Borough.  He want to be clear there was no disagreement on the scale of the problem or the urgency of dealing with it rather the motion identified the right problem but the amendment sought a different approach in how to tackle it.

 

Councillor Hartley detailed his amendment.

 

Councillor Nigel Fletcher formally seconded the amendment, reserving the right to speak.

 

Councillor Anthony Okereke stated that he did not accept the amendment.

 

Councillor David Gardner suggested that opposing the amendment did not mean that that every proposal in the amendment was disagreed with and there were aspects to be commended and considered further by the Cabinet. However, the amendment removed the call to support the King's Fund for a 4% increase in its year on year funding. Further, whilst the proposed increase in Government funding was welcome, no details had been given if this was new or re-directed funds and the amendment took out the specific call for ring-fenced funding for schools’ mental health.

 

In supporting the Motion Councillor Jackie Smith felt that it was to focus on what the Council would and was doing and some very work good work, with partners, was being undertaken to make a difference in Greenwich and address the fact that more young people, between the ages of 10 to 19, lost their lives to suicide than violent crime.  Children’s mental health did not get the publicity that violent crime did and research showed that many of the perpetrators of violent crime were young people that often suffered mental health problems and were not being supported.  That funding was needed now to deal with this problem.

 

Councillor Matt Hartley, leader of the Conservative Group, stated that he felt that both political parties wanted the same outcomes but had an honest difference of opinion over the approach.  The Council had an opportunity to support schools to quickly accesses the funding ring-fenced for schools if proactive action was taking to make a bid to be a trailblazer.  He stated that the mental health support teams would be new members of staff working in the schools but closely linked with the NHS.  He thanked Councillor Gardner for noting that there was much to commend about the proposals within the amendment and pleased that the Cabinet would consider the proposed approach of applying to be a trailblazer area and making sure that the money was secured quickly.

 

Councillor Denise Hyland requested that her support for the motion be put on record.  When in crisis young women often self-harm or become withdrawn whereas young men often become aggressive, which created a plethora of issues if the young person also had mental health issues. 

 

In closing the debate Councillor Anthony Okereke thanked everyone who had contributed to a worthy debate and he stood in the Chamber as a result of an in-school mental health service and for that reason he urged Members to support the Motion.

 

The Mayor put the put the motion to a vote and it was

 

Resolved –

 

That the Council celebrates the 70th birthday of the National Health Service (NHS) and pays tribute to every person who has worked or volunteered for the NHS since its inception. Council especially thanks the NHS for the array of support given to all Greenwich residents.  

 

That the Council notes the Government’s plan to support schools by offering every secondary school mental health first aid training and the trials to strengthen the links between schools and local NHS mental health staff. Council further notes the Government’s funding plan for the NHS to receive an extra £20 billion a year by 2023 but supports the King’s Fund view that it still falls short of the 4% annual increase required to meet current needs.

 

That the Council notes it’s Children and Young People Plan, Quarter 4, 2017/18 Performance Monitoring report and is deeply concerned that it shows a rise in the number of Greenwich children attending A&E due to self-harm, which can be used as a proxy measure for poor mental wellbeing. Council considers the Government’s plan to support schools and the NHS’s funding plan will fail to provide the early intervention services needed, to ensure pupils’ sub-clinical mental health needs do not become progressively worse.

 

That the Council noted the Greenwich Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Early Intervention Team’s work in schools providing a range of services including training, consultation, group work, Non-violent Resistance (NVR) training for parents and NVR continual professional development for teaching staff. Council notes the strategic and financial support of Royal Borough of Greenwich and schools for emotional wellbeing but that more resources are needed in schools to promote, protect the emotional and mental health of children in Greenwich.

 

That the Council recognises that both local authority (LA) funding and per-pupil funding has reduced in real terms which affects a school’s ability to provide in-house mental health services. Hence, Council calls on the Government to provide a designated budget for emotional wellbeing via the LA for schools to establish in-school mental health experts and maintain programmes such as CAMHS and the NVR training programmes in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and across the country. 



[1] Amended at the meeting of Council on 31 October 2018.

Supporting documents: