Children's wellbeing hit by recession

9th January 2009 at 00:00

Ever since Anthony Seldon announced plans in 2006 to give his privileged students at Wellington College lessons in how to be happy, pupils' wellbeing has been big news.

The economic recession looks likely to make it even bigger. This week, Professor Barry Carpenter, a government adviser, has predicted in a TES interview that the economic downturn means the number of pupils with mental health problems will double within a decade.

These figures - Professor Carpenter believes a fifth of five to 15-year-olds will have an emotional disorder by 2019 - are likely to enhance the standing of wellbeing lessons.

But Carol Craig, an expert in positive psychology who has been called Scotland's "happiness tsar", this week criticised the whole concept. She warned that the systematic teaching of happiness can leave pupils depressed and teachers feeling like Cruella de Vil.

Two east London academies are taking part in the first controlled experiment to establish the effectiveness of a wellbeing curriculum.

Children's wellbeing, pages 10-11.

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