Ecorys UK evaluates mental health provision for schools

14 December 2015

Consulting and research firm Ecorys has been selected to evaluate a new £3 million Government mental health scheme for hundreds of schools in England. The evaluation, which runs for a year, aims at assessing the effectiveness of having single points of contact and joint training workshops between schools and specialist CAMHS.

Mental Health Services and Schools Link Pilots
Early December, the UK Education Secretary Nicky Morgan launched a new mental health scheme for schools in England. Jointly funded by the Department for Education and NHS England, the project, dubbed the ‘Mental Health Services and Schools Link Pilots’, will test the efficacy of a single points of contact in 255 schools in 22 pilot areas. These points of contact will be responsible for developing closer relationships with a counterpart in local NHS CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and are expected to provide children and young people with better access to local, specialist mental health provision. The pilot sites will also participate in a programme of joint training workshops.

“This is an opportunity for Clinical Commissioning Groups and schools to work together more closely, trial a new way of thinking and a new model. Our aim is to significantly improve the care and experience we can offer to children and young people with mental health problems,” explains Jackie Cornish, National Clinical Director for Children and Young People at NHS England.

Ecorys UK evaluates mental health provision for schools

To understand the impact of the joint-working project, the Department for Education and NHS England have hired Ecorys UK. The consulting firm will review the effectiveness of the single points of contact, as well as the joint training workshops, to assess whether the cooperation leads to timelier and better quality referrals. “We are delighted to have been appointed to evaluate this important pilot programme. The links between schools and specialist Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services are widely recognised as having a role to play in supporting earlier intervention where mental health issues arise, but less is known about what effective joint working looks like,” comments Laurie Day, Lead for the independent evaluation at Ecorys UK. “The evaluation aims to provide new evidence to inform policy and practice development, and we are looking forward to working with the participating schools and CCGs over the coming year.”

Evaluating strength
Ecorys was earlier this year also hired to review A Better Start initiative, set up by Big Lottery Fund to improve the life chances of thousands of babies in the UK, and the assessment of wellness and health charity GoodGym, set up to combine exercising with doing something good for the local UK community.