If we were asked to compare the lifestyles of British children with say those from Romania we could get quite a surprise. Despite all the press reports on our relative economies a survey revealed the average eight year old in the UK is considerably less likely to be happy than those in Romania.
One of those awful truths hidden in the statistics. Regrettably the research conducted by the University of York makes grim reading. We are languishing towards the bottom of the analysis conducted in 16 countries. Lying in 13th position we are ahead of children in South Korea Nepal and Ethiopia, but way down on the happiest children who are in Romania, Poland, Turkey and Algeria.
The survey investigated a host of aspects in children’s lives. These included friendship, body image, school life, possessions and personal wellbeing. The best position for British children scored was fourth for family, health and safety.
Professor Bradshaw who co-edited the survey for the University of York said “I think there are some problems in our schools and it is to do with the balance between high levels of attainment and the social environment in schools. I think it is something to do with our push to raise our children’s attainment levels.”
If this survey is coupled with the OPEC educational league tables, where England is slipping down to the bottom in numeracy and literacy of the 26 countries reviewed, there is a huge dilemma. Pressure being applied to improve standards in out schools could well exacerbate the situation revealed by the University of York.
No easy solution. The Tiger Mum’s approach to hothouse children may work for their educational attainment in Far East but not for their wellbeing. Maybe this is no great surprise. There must be a solution to the work life balance of school children, although as the problem is still rife in adult life this is very much work in progress.