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Identifying and supporting students with eating disorders in schools

Written By: Victoria Cook
1 min read


Focus groups conducted in 29 UK schools found that school staff lack the knowledge, understanding and confidence to support students with eating disorders (Knightsmith et al., 2013). Following some of the key issues highlighted by school staff in this study, the aim of this article is to signpost to specialist charities and organisations offering further support in these areas.

Different types of eating disorders and warning signs

The UK’s eating disorder charity Beat estimates that around 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder and that around 25 per cent of those with an eating disorder are male (Beat, n.d.). There are several different types of eating disorder that are caused by a mixture of biological, psychological and social factors.


Practical ideas for supporting students recovering from an eating disorder



The limit to the scope of teachers’ roles and responsibilities needs to be recognised. Teachers cannot be expected to take on the role of specialist mental health professionals. However, schools can put some strategies in place to support students and direct them to specialist charities and organisations for further support. 

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