Put wellbeing above academic progress, say most parents

Two-thirds of parents believe their child's wellbeing is now more important than academic attainment, poll shows

Schools reopening: Most parents think pupil wellbeing should be prioritised over academic progress, a poll shows

More than three-quarters of parents say their children’s wellbeing needs to be “measured and tracked”, and 64 per cent believe it is now more important than academic achievement, according to a YouGov poll.

The poll, commissioned by children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust ahead of schools reopening to all pupils, also reveals that two-thirds of parents believe lockdown and changes to schooling have worsened their children’s wellbeing.

And 81 per cent say cuts to PE, sport and breaktime would have a detrimental effect on their children’s wellbeing.


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Youth Sport Trust chief executive Ali Oliver said there was a need for “a real focus” on nurturing pupils’ enjoyment of playing sport and physical activity in the coming weeks and months.

Wellbeing 'the most important issue at school'

She said: “The message from parents is clear: wellbeing continues to be the most important issue at school and must now be prioritised.”

The poll of more than 1,100 parents, carried out at the end of February, found:

  • 76 per cent of parents agree that “we need to measure young people’s wellbeing if we are going to improve it”.
  • 67 per cent would like to see more information about what schools are doing to support the mental wellbeing of pupils.
  • 67 per cent of parents with children aged 4-10  and  70 per cent of those with children aged 11-16 say that the pandemic, lockdown and changes to schooling have worsened their children’s wellbeing.
  • Parents recognise the importance of PE and school sport in helping to support children’s wellbeing, and 81 per cent believe that cuts to PE, sport and break time in schools are likely to have a negative impact.
  • 64 per cent believe wellbeing is now more important than academic achievement.

David Gregson, chair of the Gregson Family Foundation, which supported the research, said: “This latest joint research with the Youth Sport Trust highlights parents’ continued concerns for the wellbeing of their children, something that must be prioritised in recovery plans.”

The Youth Sport Trust has formed an alliance with Sport England 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.

The Department for Education has been contacted for comment.

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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