Children in England are unhappier with their school life than those in almost every country featured in a major new international survey by The Children’s Society…reports Asian Lite News
With more than half a million 10 and 12-year-olds having been physically bullied each month, causing huge damage to their happiness, and with many more feeling left out, children in England schools are unhappy.
The Good Childhood Report 2015, which closely examined how happy 10 and 12-year-old children are in 15 diverse countries, found that children in England are unhappier with their school experience than those in 11 other countries including Ethiopia and Algeria — only faring better than children in Germany, South Korea and Estonia.
The report, which marks a decade of work on children’s well-being in collaboration with the University of York, found that more than a third (38%) of 10 and 12 year olds in England had been physically bullied in the last month, and half (50%) had felt excluded.
The research showed the profound impact bullying can have on children’s lives, with children in England who were bullied frequently being six times more likely to have low well-being than children who have not been bullied.
On average, two children in each classroom are dissatisfied with aspects of their school life, with their main concerns being their relationship with their teachers, the things they learn and the other children.
The study also showed that children became unhappier as they hit their teens, around the age of 13 or 14. Children in year six were much more likely to say they liked going to school compared to those in year eight (61% vs 43%).
In a bid to clamp down on the negative impact of bullying and other major issues affecting children in schools, The Children’s Society is urging the Government make it a legal requirement for schools in England to provide counselling to pupils to bring it in line with Wales and Northern Ireland. It is also calling on schools to help children’s well-being by reducing bullying and promoting physical exercise.
As well as being unhappy with their school life, the study showed that children in England were particularly dissatisfied with their appearance and body confidence – with girls being most affected.
Girls in England ranked bottom in terms of happiness with their body confidence, appearance and self-confidence compared to girls in every other country surveyed, with the exception of South Korea. Girls in Colombia topped the league table as being happiest with their bodies.
Overall, children in England are unhappier with their lives than those in 13 other countries including Israel and South Africa – only faring better than those in South Korea.
The research shows that how children feel about their own happiness is related to their mental health, with those scoring low on both areas being less likely to flourish.
Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society says: “It is deeply worrying that children in this country are so unhappy at school compared to other countries and it is truly shocking that thousands of children are being physically and emotionally bullied, damaging their happiness. School should be a safe haven, not a battleground.