20 Mar Improving happiness in young people
Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green likes teachers. A lot. The children’s commissioner for England, always an outspoken defender of children’s rights, is loud and clear in his praise. “The workforce in education is our most precious resource and it needs to be nurtured,” he says.
But he is concerned at the numbers of unhappy children and schools’ ability to cope with them. Children in the UK are the least happy of 21 developed countries, a recent survey by Unicef found. Today the commissioner will be among those gathered for a conference organised by Barnardo’s, the children’s charity, to discuss the Unicef report.
According to Aynsley-Green, the reason British children are more unhappy is the constant pressure of school tests and a curriculum that does not engage low achievers or prevent children from dropping out of education or training. There is insufficient support for those with physical or emotional needs, and bullying has not been tackled effectively enough. In addition, children are disenfranchised because they are not involved in decision-making processes at school.
A lot of this unhappiness can be put down to stress.
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