Schools Week mental health investigation longlisted for top journalism award

Eight-page special on the CAMHS crisis is in the running for the Paul Foot award for investigative and campaigning journalism

Eight-page special on the CAMHS crisis is in the running for the Paul Foot award for investigative and campaigning journalism

A Schools Week investigation into the crisis in children and young people’s mental health services has been longlisted for the prestigious Paul Foot journalism award.

The eight-page special report was written by senior reporter Samantha Booth and commissioning editor Jess Staufenberg, and was published in February.

Schools Week

It revealed the devastating toll of failing support systems on families and schools, and documented testimony from scores of families and school leaders, alongside data from Freedom of Information requests to hundreds of councils, multi-academy trusts and the NHS.

The award was established in 2004, in memory of investigative journalist Paul Foot.

Schools Week

It honours the UK’s “most brilliant, talented and determined journalists working in the fields of investigative and campaigning journalism today”.

The longlist was announced today by Private Eye magazine, which administers the award. The shortlist will be announced next Wednesday.

John Dickens, editor of Schools Week, said: “Jess and Sam showed dogged determination to uncover and tell the stories of families being failed by our collapsing mental health services.

“At Schools Week we are passionate and committed to agenda-setting investigations, and I could not be more proud their phenomenal work has made the longlist of one of journalism’s most sought-after and competitive awards.”

Children turned away for support

Schools Week’s investigation revealed how suicidal children are being turned away for mental health support, with schools instead told to “keep them safe”.

It reported that thousands of children are stuck on waiting lists for expert help, with schools digging into their own pockets to fund support.

The investigation also found that therapists once provided to schools free now cost hundreds of pounds a visit, and explored accusations from schools that parents are “fabricating illnesses” as collapsing support drives rifts.

We also revealed how parents are using life insurance and raiding savings to fund legal fights for support, with one parent claiming the stress contributed to her stroke.

Meanwhile, it found that increases in the number of pupils with additional needs has left special schools “bursting at the seams”, with youngsters left in unequipped mainstream schools.

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