Minds Ahead

Why we exist

Nearly a quarter of a million children in England’s schools have an identified mental health need. There are many more who are not formally identified.

It is the second most common special need in our schools. Where children have more than one need mental health is likely to be the second need.


Too many are missing out on their education

Those with mental health needs are the children most likely to miss school. These children have the highest ‘unauthorised absence’ rate, meaning they could be at risk of harm. Nearly 20% have at least one school exclusion, likely to be for disruptive behaviour or verbal and physical violence. Often children with mental health needs are excluded with no alternative education in place.


The poor are worst off

Over a third of children with a mental health need are from poor families, those who are often least informed about the ways in which the children can be helped.


Primary school

Only 24% of children with mental health needs leave primary school with the required reading, writing and maths skills. This is less than half as many as all children. Boys struggle the most with writing, whereas girls struggle with maths.


Secondary School

Throughout secondary school the gap widens. Children with mental health problems make much slower progress than they are expected to. This applies especially to boys. By the end of secondary school, the percentage of children with mental health difficulties obtaining good exam results is less than half that of the average child. Again, boys do much worse than girls.

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