Before all our lives were turned upside-down by the coronavirus pandemic, there was much concern over how GCSE examinations were affecting young people’s mental health. For some young people, the stress and anxiety induced by these examinations can be severe. This could then become a vicious circle, whereby anxiety about the exams can lead young people to achieve lower grades on them.
With skill shortages widely reported, you may be wondering what’s been happening to the learning of job skills among young people during Covid. It is already obvious that, following Brexit, we in Britain cannot rely as much on the skills of migrants – and this doesn’t just mean for picking apples or driving lorries. Across the board it is widely accepted that we are going to need to step up the training of Britain’s young people, our future workers for decades to come, if standards of living are to be sustained while the economy adjusts to post-Brexit realities and to climate change.
But hasn’t the pandemic put a large damper on hopes of an upturn in our skills? How could Britain’s youth get on with their education when so many schools were closed, and how could they train for careers when they (more…)
Much has been written over the last couple of years about how the Covid-19 pandemic – through a combination of lockdowns, home schooling and self-isolation – has affected the mental wellbeing of young people.
Yet, even before Covid hit our shores, there was growing concern over young people’s mental health. Amongst educationalists, there was particular interest in how this might be linked to their experiences at school.
In this blog, drawing upon data from the pre-Covid era, I take a closer look into the link between schooling and mental health. Specifically, I consider how the treatment of mental health issues varies during children’s time at secondary school, teasing apart the impact of being in a more senior school year group from the effects of age.
Some basic facts
The data I use are drawn from appointments made with primary and secondary healthcare providers in (more…)
Today is World Youth Skills Day and this year it’s more important than ever.
From the start of the first lockdown in March 2020, young people’s prospects worsened significantly across many areas of their lives. Alongside challenges to wellbeing, young people were confronted with lost learning at school, colleges and universities, heightened labour market uncertainty, and a potential decline in internships and work experience placements.
While lost learning at primary and secondary level received significant attention, the impact of lost job skills learning and career preparation for young people has been largely missing from the conversation.
In a new report, which will be out on July 21, we shed light on young people’s career readiness and how it might affect their behaviour as they begin navigating an uncertain labour market. The report is part of a large-scale project to track youth employment, (more…)
chezbeate / Pixabay
As part of Mental Health Awareness week, the Government has announced £17 million to increase training and resources in schools and colleges to support children and young people’s mental health. However, without addressing the broader social circumstances that cause poor mental health, it is unlikely that such policies will resolve the growing mental health crisis.
Furthermore, to be effective, these interventions must be informed by young people’s perspectives about issues affecting their mental health and well-being.
The mental health charity States of Mind and the IOE’s Doctoral programme in Educational Psychology (DEdPsy) have been working together to elicit the voices of children and young people about how their educational experiences influence their mental health and well-being in a project called Education Futures in Action. We believe that understanding the causes of psychological distress, rather than just treating their symptoms, requires much greater attention, and must include young people’s perspectives in order (more…)
The debates are back for 2020 and this time we took a look at the teenage years, asking What if… the world really did revolve around teenagers?.
As far back as Socrates, adolescents were marked out and criticized by their elders for having bad manners, and ever since ‘the teenager’ rose to prominence in the 1950s the difficulty of adolescence has been a common trope, not to mention a source of amusement in popular culture.
That’s not the whole story, of course, and Greta Thunberg provides just one prominent, contemporary example of teens as a force for social awareness and change (we celebrated some others here).
Nevertheless, adolescence is a distinctive time that brings its own challenges. We wanted to examine what lies behind that and what could/should be done to ameliorate it.
The low turnout of young people in elections is a persistent problem in many Western democracies. In the UK, turnout among 18 to 24-year-olds in the last two general elections was almost half of that of pensioners.
Although there has been a surge in voter registrations among the under 35s for the 12 December elections, we don’t know if this will translate in actual votes.
Amidst all the debate about youth participation, few scholars look at differences among young people. In our new book we focus on social class differences in political involvement among young people. We argue that the education system only widens these disparities.(more…)
The transition to adulthood is an important and often scary time in a young person’s life. Not only does it involve the assumption of new social roles and responsibilities, such as moving out of the family home, entering the job market, completing education and starting a family, it has far-reaching consequences regarding later life outcomes. The related uncertainties are deepened during times of rapid social change.
We know that social structures, such as the education system, class divisions and economic inequality, continue to channel young people into different tracks. However, as a society, we still have too little understanding of the intricate interplay between institutional forces and individuals’ own ability to adapt, adjust and thrive. It is now clear that early interventions, important as they are, are not sufficient to overcome these embedded inequalities. We need programmes throughout childhood and early adulthood.
‘Pathways to Adulthood’, the new book I have edited in collaboration with Rainer Silbereisen (more…)
The Government’s new white paper on housing, entitled ‘fixing our broken housing market’, is not going to fix anything except the share prices of the large private development firms. As Simon Jenkins writes in The Guardian: ‘it is a stew of fake news, old clichés and pretend solutions’. It is long on consultation and very short on the radical measures needed to solve the UK’s housing crisis. It dodges all the big issues on reforming housing taxation, including the council tax, regulating rents and tenures, and on public responsibilities for housing provision. Even the very small measures it does propose come hedged with qualifications and get-out clauses.
As our research at the Llakes Centre for Learning and Life Chances shows, home ownership amongst 18-34s is only half of what it was 25 years ago, and the decline has affected all social groups. But the Government’s proposals won’t create the genuinely affordable housing to reverse this trend for young people.
The White Paper’s diagnosis of Britain’s housing crisis is simplistic in the extreme. It claims that the problem is ‘simply’ that we do not build enough homes, because of excessive planning regulation and lack of competition in the building sector. It is certainly the case that we have not been building enough homes, but the wider truth is not so (more…)
Karen Schucan Bird
The success of Team GB is inspiring everyone – both young and old. The passion for sport has become infectious. As I cycled to work this morning, Londoners were participating in sport everywhere I looked. We hope that children and young people will be equally inspired. Indeed, the chairman of the British Olympic Association, Lord Moynihan, used the success of Team GB to highlight the need for a step change in sports policy. More funding and better facilities are needed, he argued, to ensure that ‘inspiration is translated into participation’. Whilst young people’s participation may lead to future Olympians and a range of health benefits, are there any measurable benefits in terms of education and learning? A team of researchers at the IOE undertook a project to find out.
Funded by the Department of Culture Media and Sport, a systematic review was carried out to explore the impacts of young people’s participation in sport on their educational achievement. The findings from four robust studies were combined and translated into hypothetical changes in test scores.
This is what we found:
- There is some evidence that participation in organised sport improves young people’s numerical skills. Organised sport refers to sporting activities guided by a teacher or other facilitator. This means that by playing organised sport, young people could increase their numeracy scores, on average, by 8 per cent above that of their peers who did not play sport.
- There is some evidence that participation in extracurricular activities linked to organised sport for underachieving students improves their numerical skills and transferable skills (specifically independent study skills). Extracurricular activities linked to organised sport refer to educational activities that take place within a sporting context. The participation of underachieving pupils in such activities could increase numerical skills by 29 per cent and transferable skills between 12 and 16 per cent above students who did not take part.
Whilst these findings are interesting, they need to be treated with caution. The review can only tell us something about a narrow set of sports, certain aspects of educational achievement and particular subgroups of young people. Yet, the findings are promising. We hope the Olympics will inspire a generation. It may even leave a legacy for education.
For the full report, see Newman, M et al (2010) Understanding the Impact of Engagement in Culture and Sport: A Systematic Review of the Learning Impacts for Young People. London: Department for Culture Media and Sport.