Our Wise Up campaign calls on the Government to rebalance the education system to make the wellbeing of students as important as academic achievement.
There is a mental health crisis in our classrooms. 3 children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental disorder and 90% of school leaders have reported an increase in the last 5 years in the number of students experiencing anxiety, stress, low mood or depression.
Children and young people are facing more pressures than ever before, including exam pressure, social media and cyberbullying and pressure over body image.
Schools play a crucial role in developing the skills young people need to cope and flourish in today’s world. They are a constant in young peoples’ lives, and are a safe, consistent place for vulnerable young people.
As well as this, children with better health and wellbeing are likely to perform better academically.
But the education system is unbalanced, with an over-emphasis on exams and a lack of priority on student wellbeing.
Schools are overwhelmingly judged on their academic achievement, and the pastoral care element of teaching receives little prominence in policy or inspections. They are under significant funding pressures and therefore many struggle to divert resource towards wellbeing initiatives, even when they want it to be a priority.
We are delighted to be working with the National Children’s Bureau on this campaign.
Did you know?
Our research, conducted through YouGov, found:
- more than half of parents want more information available on how their child’s school provides wellbeing support for students.
- 73% of parents would choose a school where children are happy even if previous exam results had not been good, over a school where exam results were better.
- significantly more young people think their school cares about their exams than about their happiness.
- 70% of teachers want the education system rebalanced to focus more on student wellbeing.
- 82% of teachers think the focus on exams has become disproportionate to the overall wellbeing of their students.
We are calling for a change in government policy to ensure that schools have the resources and recognition they need to prioritise wellbeing and mental health.
The Wise Up campaign so far
Since launching our campaign in March 2017, we have:
- Delivered an open letter with 10,000 signatures to the Prime Minister.
- Launched our Wise Up report in parliament, where more than 40 MPs and Lords turned up to show their support.
- Got our Wise Up recommendations written into the Government’s Select Committee Inquiry Report, which was investigating mental health and education.
- Influenced the government's Green Paper on children's mental health, which includes proposals on increasing mental health support in schools.
What’s next for the campaign?
While we welcome some of the government's recent proposals to improve mental health support in schools, we believe that more needs to be done.
We're continuing to campaign for a fundamental rebalancing of the education system. We want schools to be able to prioritise wellbeing, through improved resources and better recognition in the Ofsted inspection framework.
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