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Supporting Children with Medical
and Mental Health Needs at School


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Evidence (1) suggests the best way to support good mental health in schools is by Health and Education working together to improve outcomes for all children and young people.

In 2017 the DfE (Department for Education) announced that by 2025 all UK schools will have a Lead Person for Mental Health. The Mental Health Services and Schools Link Programme (CASCADE) has been looking at the best way to develop these partnerships.

Practical advice for schools on health and education working together.

School Policy

  • Develop a Mental Health and Wellbeing Policy.
  • Use the skills and expertise of your School Nurse to help inform policy and practice around medical and mental health needs in school.

Working With Other Professionals

  • Develop links with your local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Knowing their skills and expertise will help to define appropriate expectations.
  • Invite health professionals to education led reviews. Follow these up with minutes that identify actions and responsibilities.
  • Attend health led reviews. Care Programme Approach (CPA) meetings for students currently receiving treatment from CAMHS are a good place to ask questions about returning to school after an inpatient stay or to discuss risk management if a student is struggling to manage in school.
  • Use the Educational Psychology Service to help find tools and resources for gathering information on a child or young person’s needs. This Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire is useful.

School Protocols

  • Keep evidence of symptoms or behaviour that are causing concerns. Record information about time, place and duration of symptoms. This information is useful when making a referral to specialist services.
  • Record information on how a child’s difficulties are interfering with their day-to-day life and school progress. You will need this when making a referral to other services.
  • Consider if a child’s safety might be compromised by their mental health difficulties and follow your school’s safeguarding procedures.

Supporting Families

  • Find out if children and young people are facing challenges at home or away from school that might be contributing to their difficulties.
  • Help support families who are involved in treatment plans for students. (Family therapy, supporting meal plans for young people with eating disorders, CBT)


wellbeing break

Free educational resources on children’s and young people’s mental health for all adults produced by Health Education England.

Example Mental Health and  Wellbeing Policies

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
Information about CAMHS

Further Reading

  • Pettitt B, Effective Joint Working between Child and Aolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Schools. Mental Health Foundation. DFES (2003)
1. Mental Health Services and Schools Link Pilots: Evaluation report (2017) Department for Education (Laurie Day, Rachel Blades, Caitlin Spence and James Ronicle – Ecorys UK)



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HOPE (Hospital Organisation of Pedagogues in Europe)