SCHOOLS will have a legal duty to consider the mental health and wellbeing of children, the Welsh Government has agreed in principle.

Torfaen MS Lynne Neagle, chairwoman of the Senedd’s Children, Young People and Education Committee, said the changes were a major step forward in Wales.

“We know that with some young people, nobody knows they are struggling until they actually end up dying by suicide,” she said. “I believe by enshrining this duty in law it will increase help-seeking behaviour and save lives.”

The new duty was agreed in principle by the minister of education Kirsty Williams at Stage Two of the Welsh Government’s new Curriculum and Assessment Wales Bill. If passed, the Bill will provide the statutory foundation for the Welsh Government’s reform of the curriculum for three to 16-year-olds.

Ms Neagle thanked Mind Cymru and Samaritans Cymru for their support working on the amendment.

“Crucially, as a result of this amendment, pupils will know that when they speak out, it will be in a school environment that is prepared to respond proactively, with empathy and get it right first time,” said Ms Williams.

“It goes beyond teaching – it is about creating an atmosphere that supports children in their academic learning and how they feel about being in the school environment.”