Wentworth and Dearne MP, John Healey, arranged for two Wath schools to be visited by a senior member from the Department for Education to look at the work they do to help pupils with mental health problems and complex needs.

Wath Central Primary and Wath Academy spoke with the Deputy Director of Life Skills Division, Matthew Hopkinson, to air their views about the way the education system deals with mental health issues and special educational needs.

The visit comes after John took local head teachers to Westminster to meet with the Schools Minister to press for greater government support to help schools deal with the mounting mental health concerns they have to handle on a daily basis.

John Healey MP said: “I’m pleased that our local head teachers were able to show the Department for Education the work they are doing and pass on their thoughts directly to those who make key decisions.

“It’s vital that those making government policy can see and hear for themselves exactly what schools are dealing with on a day-to-day basis.

“Both schools can now continue to work closely with the department on any policy and engagement matters going forward.”

It follows a survey of schools by John across the constituency in which all secondary schools and a majority of primary schools said there had been a rise in anxiety reported mental health problems for both students and staff since his original survey in 2018.

Jude Gray, head teacher at Wath Central Primary, said: “Schools, both locally and across the country, are feeling the added pressure on all services and systems due to a rise in mental health and complex needs.

“The opportunity to meet with the Deputy Director and put across our views as well as showing him the innovative work we’ve been doing in school was very welcome.

“It was important for us to pass on the real-life issues that we face so they can understand the pressures schools are having to deal with.”