New figures released recently show that there is a big increase in schools buying in mental health support for pupils. The survey, published by school leaders’ union NAHT and children’s mental health charity Place2Be, reveals that the number of schools commissioning professional help for children’s mental health issues has increased significantly, almost doubled, since 2016.

In 2016, 36% of schools in England provided school-based support for students’ emotional and mental wellbeing. By 2019, this had almost doubled to 66 per cent.

The latest survey was completed by 653 school leaders at the end of 2019, and the results can be compared to similar joint surveys in 2016 and 2017.

The latest findings show an improved understanding and recognition of children’s mental health in schools but access to external NHS help has not improved and more schools are now buying in their own support.


In Cornwall, 80% of pupils supported by the Community and Hospital Education Service (CHES) now have mental health needs, where the majority of clients when the service was set up had conditions such as cancer, or broken bones.

CHES is now part of the Wave Trust and is recognised as the most successful trust in the country for providing high quality education for pupils who have been excluded from school or who are not in school for medical reasons. CHES services in Cornwall were formally inspected by Ofsted last year, with the provision retaining its “Outstanding” judgement for the second time.

As well as its medical provision, Wave has six academies in Cornwall and three based in Devon, and is also commissioned to provide education services for children and young people staying at Sowenna, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s new child and adolescent mental health unit in Bodmin.

You can find more about the national picture, and further details of Cornwall’s story, in Cornish Stuff.