Liz Maudslay is Senior Policy Manager at the Association of Colleges

Research has shown that 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24. Further education colleges, which cater for more than 685,000 young people and educate two thirds of 16-18-year-olds, are therefore likely to have a proportion of students who either have a mental health difficulty or will develop one when at college.

In response to concerns from colleges about the rising incidence of students with mental health difficulties, the Association of Colleges carried out two surveys in 2014 and 2016.

Responses from over 40% of colleges showed that:

  • 66% said numbers of students experiencing mental health difficulties had ‘significantly increased’ in the past three years
  • 75% felt there were significant numbers of students who had undeclared mental health difficulties
  • 43% had no full-time counsellor and 55% reported cut backs in this area
  • 61% said relationships with local mental health services were only ‘fair’ or ‘not very good/non existent’

While all educational organisations face the challenge of supporting increasing numbers of young people experiencing mental health difficulties, those working in further education face additional challenges.

These include:

  • Further education recruits disproportionately from disadvantaged areas and it is recognised that there is a link between mental ill health and disadvantage
  • Most colleges recruit from several different Local Authorities hence staff are dealing with a range of different health authority services.
  • All young students who have not gained the relevant grade in English or maths GCSE are obliged to retake these exams which causes additional stress to students vulnerable to mental health difficulties.

In December 2017 the Government put out a Green Paper on Children and Young People’s Mental Health.

Recommendations include:

  • To reduce CAMHS waiting times
  • To identify and train a senior lead for mental health in all schools and colleges
  • To create new mental health teams to work with cluster of schools and colleges
  • To create a new national strategic partnership focusing on the mental health needs of those aged 16-25.

AoC welcomed these recommendations and is pleased to be part of the new 16-25 group. However, we have concerns about the very long implementation timescale, the fact that the proposed clusters may not fit with college geographies and the danger of starting from scratch rather than building on the considerable work which is already being carried out in colleges.

For the past four years, AoC has run a mental health policy group.

Membership includes college staff and also representatives from NHS, Public Health England, DfE and NUS. Our aim is to focus on policy changes making sure these are inclusive of further education and are practical and deliverable.

AoC has also developed a package of resources including a college self assessment tool which supports the development of a whole college strategy on mental health.

Despite the many challenges, colleges have created innovative approaches to supporting the mental wellbeing of their students.

For example:

East Coast College has created a wellbeing programme focused on developing resilience which is incorporated into all aspects of college life. The college has also paid considerable attention to staff wellbeing with every member of staff having a personal wellbeing goal which is monitored in appraisal.

Truro and Penwith College has introduced a wellbeing and sport service to reduce social anxiety and depression which offers 60 free weekly activities incorporating specific one-to-one sessions for safeguarding and mental health referrals.

Colleges have accessed free health authority training for their specialist staff or have used the free online MindEd resource. In addition to this, Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (a mental health voluntary organisation) is currently, with AoC, developing an online staff development resource specifically focused on further education.

Certain colleges support the recovery of young people and adults with more severe mental health difficulties:

New City College - Hackney has a member of staff who works with young adults currently in mental health wards supporting them gradually on to a college course.

Hugh Baird College, working with Mersey Care local mental health trust, has received funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership to create a site attached to the college which will include a Recovery College and also specialist mental health training facilities.

These examples, along with many others across the sector, show the potential colleges have to enhance the wellbeing of their students. In many ways colleges provide an ideal place to support young people and adults in the difficulties they might be facing.

What is required is a Government response which allows this work to develop by strengthening links between education and health and by providing colleges with the resources that are needed to respond to the holistic needs of their students.

Liz Maudslay is Senior Policy Manager at the Association of Colleges

Copyright © 2018 FE News

The AoC Minds Matter – Wellbeing and Mental Health Conference takes place on Tuesday 26 June

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 4 hours 56 minutes ago

RT @_LauraVanessa: How would you encourage arts students to get into tech projects? #artistsontwitter #SkillsWorldLive
View Original Tweet

Solvendis added a new event 6 hours

Preparing for an Ofsted Inspection (Zoom Conferencing)

Many providers remain anxious about the introduction of the Education Inspection Framework and the changes which accompany its introduction....

  • Tuesday, 15 December 2020 10:00 AM
  • Zoom Conferencing

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page