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Parents want wellbeing prioritised in schools as pandemic hits

Parents want wellbeing prioritised in schools as pandemic hits

As pupils return to school, 64% of parents believe that the wellbeing of their children is more important than their academic attainment.

The research, commissioned by children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust and supported by the Gregson Family Foundation, was conducted by YouGov, It highlights parents’ desire for wellbeing to be measured and tracked, with 76% of parents agreeing that “we need to measure young people’s wellbeing if we are going to improve it,” something supported by the charity.

Two-thirds of parents say that the pandemic, lockdown and changes to schooling have worsened their children’s wellbeing. Parents also recognise the importance of physical education (PE) and school sport in helping support children’s wellbeing and 81% believe that cuts to PE, sport and break time in schools are likely to have a negative impact.

The Youth Sport Trust said that the findings highlight the need for children’s wellbeing to be central to recovery plans and that sport, PE and physical activity are a crucial part of that. The children’s charity has formed an alliance with Sport England, NGBs and other sport and physical activity providers to support schools to deliver an ‘Active Recovery’ term and summer schools, but believes a long-term strategy is needed from government to tackle young people’s physical wellbeing and happiness, underpinned by a national wellbeing measurement programme to inform and target action and monitor these key issues.

The research among UK parents of children aged 18 and under was carried out in February 2021 by YouGov. It found:

  • Pupil wellbeing is the top factor for parents when choosing a secondary school (65%) ahead of location (62%), culture and ethos of the staff (59%), facilities (57%), OFSTED rating (57%) and exam results (48%) and second only to location for primary school choice (63%). Pupil wellbeing was also the top factor for school choice in 2020.
  • 76% of parents agreed that “we need to measure young people’s wellbeing if we are going to improve it”.  Two in three parents (67%) would like to see more information about what schools are doing to support the mental wellbeing of pupils.
  • Over two-thirds of parents (67% of parents with children aged 4-10 and 70% of those with children aged 11-16) say that the pandemic, lockdown and changes to schooling have worsened their children’s wellbeing.  Only around a third of parents (35%) with children aged 4-10 and a quarter of parents aged 11-18 (25%) said that their children were satisfied with their life nowadays (rating between 8-10 out of 10).
  • Parents also recognise the importance of PE and school sport in helping support children’s wellbeing and 81% believe that cuts to PE, sport and break time in schools are likely to have a negative impact.

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