Wise Up to Wellbeing in Schools

Wise Up to Wellbeing in Schools

Our major new campaign, Wise Up, calls on the new Government to rebalance the education system so that the wellbeing of students is as important as academic achievement.

Wise Up

Our major new campaign, Wise Up, calls on the new Government to rebalance the education system so that the wellbeing of students is 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 cyber-bullying 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 recent 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.

Our solution

We are calling for a change in government policy to ensure schools prioritise the wellbeing of their students alongside academic achievement.

There needs to be Government legislation, regulation and/or policy, which embeds student wellbeing as a priority area in schools.

All through school me and my friends were always being told that if we mess up in our exams, then we have messed up our futures. The pressure made me feel so stressed out all the time - I didn’t eat or sleep properly for ages and I felt so unhappy and desperate.
Jessica – YoungMinds activist

The Wise Up campaign so far

Since launching our campaign in March, we have:

  • Delivered our 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.

What’s next for the campaign?

It has been a turbulent time for politics recently - with a general election, a hung parliament, and Brexit! However, we have many exciting opportunities coming up; to get the Government to listen to us, and make the changes needed to tackle the mental health crisis in our classrooms.

Since our open letter to Theresa May, we’ve been doing a lot of work to try and influence politicians. In the coming weeks, the Government will release a Green Paper, a document which will set out the Government’s plans for children and young people’s mental health.

We’re really hoping that this Green Paper will include some of the asks of our Wise Up campaign, and have an emphasis on mental health support in schools.

But if you want to do something now, you can get involved with a #HelloYellow day. Usually this takes place every year on World Mental Health Day, 10th October. But you can do one with your school any time of the year. We've got lots of fun ideas for what you can do for #HelloYellow.

360 Schools, our new schools community, will be launching soon. Follow our social media channels for information about when the website sign-up goes live.

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