ColegauCymru is calling for a number of different actions to help make mental and physical health core priorities in the further education sector. A ‘whole college approach’ will ensure everyone has access to high quality support and that best practice can be shared properly. We want to build an emotionally and physically resilient college community where everyone is encouraged to be physically active and where long-term funding supports this. We’re also asking the next Welsh Government to make sure that funding for mental health covers the whole of the education sector, including work-based learning. And lastly, we want to keep the good parts of online learning and working wherever we can, in the best interests of learners and staff.
The next Welsh Government should:
- Support the sector through the consolidation of the existing Mental Health Wellbeing budget within the FE funding allocation, to consistently apply a ‘whole college approach’ to mental health and apply existing best practice.
- Improve the quality and provision of physical activity in support of active wellbeing, to enhance the emotional and physical resilience of the college community through consistent long-term funding.
- Ensure that all mental health policy and strategy is coherent across all educational settings including work-based learning and takes full account of the Further Education sector. This should include extension of the schools-based counselling service into FE settings for the equivalent age group to which it applies in school settings.
- Support ongoing flexibility in delivery and learning – for example, elements of home-learning and home-working – for learners and staff in any future policy development.
Entitlement to wellbeing for learners and staff
We highlight the need for learners and staff at further education institutions (FEIs) in Wales to receive high quality wellbeing and mental health provision.
In our third episode of the series, Rachel Bowen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at ColegauCymru holds a discussion around the entitlement to wellbeing for learners and staff. Joining to discuss this further is ColegauCymru Vice Chair and Principal and Chief Executive of Bridgend College, Simon Pirotte along with Principal and Chief Executive of The College Merthyr Tydfil, Lisa Thomas.