Pupils are happy, says Ofsted poll

23rd February 2007 at 00:00
Britain's new reputation as home to the world's most miserable children has been countered by a survey of more than 30,000 youngsters that reveals most are happy.

More than half of the nine- to 15-year-olds said their lives were "very enjoyable" with only one in 20 unhappy, unpublished Ofsted data shows: 47 per cent said they felt very happy and safe at school with similar numbers saying they were "quite happy and safe".

The Ofsted findings were uncovered by The TES after a Unicef study last week said Britain's children were the most disaffected of 21 developed nations.

Ofsted surveyed 31,758 children during the past school year as part of joint area reviews - inspections that seek to judge how effective local authorities are in contributing to children's well-being.

Six hundred pupils in each local authority completed an online questionnaire. Of the 13 questions covering children's health, happiness, involvement in community and school events and schoolwork, the one on enjoyment of life gained most positive replies. The happiest children were in Kensington and Chelsea in London.

Boys appeared happier or more confident than girls, with boys returning more positive answers to 12 of the questions.

However, one in seven pupils said they felt the area around their school was not very safe. Of these, most wanted "more protection from bullies and gangs".

Many pupils who said they were not doing very well academically wanted their lessons to be more exciting, while others wished their classmates would behave.

Just over 35 per cent said they were very healthy, although the figure was only 29 per cent among girls. Some 6 per cent of all children were "not very healthy". Asked what would improve their health, the most popular answer was "more sport and exercise at school", closely followed by "more healthy food available".

Asked what would make their life more enjoyable, most said "having more money to buy the things I want".

Leading letter, page 24

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