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Mental health and school's funding on the agenda as Prime Minister visits OSB

Published on 27/06/17

We welcomed a very important visitor today at Orchard School Bristol, Prime Minister Theresa May – and we had the opportunity to talk to her about mental health and school's funding. 

Her visit coincided with the launch of the new Youth Mental Health First Aid Training course, which was being held at Orchard today.

We are one of the first schools in the country to host the government-funded, one-day programme, which aims to train teachers in mental health first aid and improve mental health support in schools.

There was a real buzz in school with some students and staff having the opportunity to speak with the PM.

It was great to be able to discuss mental health with Mrs May and the issues and challenges our young people are facing. We also discussed school's funding and the impact that it is having at Orchard School Bristol. 

Headteacher, Dr Holman, said: "At Orchard School Bristol, we never attempt to blur the lines around party politics. For our students, we set out the facts and encourage them to think for themselves. However yesterday was an important day for two reasons.

"First, it brought attention to what is a crucial development in schools across the city and further afield tackling mental health issues. This is an area of concern for all head teachers and we are keen to be proactive in understanding the many issues - including social media - which can have an adverse effect on our students.

"Secondly, it is no secret that all schools are having to look closely at budgets.

"So far from the visit being a publicity stunt, it was a very real opportunity to make clear to the Prime Minister that schools funding is leading to cuts and job losses.

"I would always rather take the opportunity to put our case rather than to turn away politicians of any party who might influence what happens in education in the future."

An Orchard School Bristol student, who spoke directly with Mrs May, said: "It was a good opportunity to tell the Prime Minister about the difficulties young people face when accessing CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) – long waiting lists is just one of the problems.   

"We told her how we'd like to see things improved, including improving waiting list times, and she told us that the Government is currently working on it.

"I definitely think having teachers trained [in mental health first aid] is for the greater good."  

Theresa May with Dr Holman, and students Mya Herbert and Katie Davies


The PM's signature in our signing in book