Most parents value pupil wellbeing above exam results

Most parents also agree that cuts to PE lessons, sport and breaktimes are likely to harm pupil wellbeing, study shows

wellbeing more important than exams

Parents say wellbeing in school is more important than academic results, according to a new YouGov poll.

The research, for the Youth Sport Trust, reveals parents' appetite for schools to focus on young people's physical, mental, social and emotional wellbeing.

The poll of more than 2,000 adults also found the majority of parents with children aged 18 or under see a strong link between positive wellbeing and schools prioritising PE, school sport and physical activity.

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Youth Sport Trust chief executive Ali Oliver said: "In recent years, schools have faced increasing pressure to be accountable for exam results, and this has sometimes come at the expense of nurturing young people to be happy, healthy and well equipped to find their place in the world.

"What parents want most of all is for their children to be happy and healthy. We know academic results are a core priority for education, but these findings are a powerful reminder of the value parents today place on wider educational outcomes such as wellbeing."

Of the parents surveyed for today's research:

  • 62 per cent agreed that the wellbeing of pupils is more important than their academic attainment.
  • 54 per cent agreed that pupils' wellbeing is likely to be better in schools that prioritise sport, physical education and physical activity.
  • 79 per cent agreed that cuts to physical education, sport and breaktimes in schools were likely to have a negative impact on pupils' wellbeing.

The research has been released today to coincide with the Youth Sport Trust's 2020 annual conference in which hundreds of schools and school sport leaders are gathering at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry to focus on the importance of human skills and wellbeing in the digital age, and what it means to be a "well school".

The Youth Sport Trust, which works with more than 20,000 schools, is campaigning to reverse cuts to physical education.

It has highlighted statistics from the government's annual school workforce census which shows that between 2010 and 2017, 51,600 hours of physical education were lost from timetables in English state-funded secondary schools.

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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