Wise Up to wellbeing in schools

Our major new campaign, Wise Up, calls on the Government to rebalance the education system so that the wellbeing of students is as important as academic achievement.

Back to schoolThere is a mental health crisis in our classrooms. Three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental disorder and 90% of school leaders have reported an increase in the last five years in the number of students experiencing anxiety, stress, low mood or depression.

Children & young people are facing more pressures than ever before, including exam pressure, social media & cyber-bullying and pressure over body image.

Schools play a crucial role in developing the skills young people need to cope and flourish in today’s world. They are a constant in young peoples’ lives, and are a safe, consistent place for vulnerable young people. As well as this, children with better health and wellbeing are likely to perform better academically.

But the education system is unbalanced, with an over-emphasis on exams and a lack of priority on student wellbeing. Schools are overwhelmingly judged on their academic achievement, and the pastoral care element of teaching receives little prominence in policy or inspections. They are under significant funding pressures and therefore many struggle to divert resource towards wellbeing initiatives, even when they want it to be a priority.

We are delighted to be working with the National Children’s Bureau on this campaign.

Did you know?

Our recent research, conducted through YouGov, found:

  • more than half of parents want more information available on how their child’s school provides wellbeing support for students.
  • 73% of parents would choose a school where children are happy even if previous exam results had not been good, over a school where exam results were better.
  • significantly more young people think their school cares about their exams than about their happiness.
  • 70% of teachers want the education system rebalanced to focus more on student wellbeing.
  • 82% of teachers think the focus on exams has become disproportionate to the overall wellbeing of their students.

We are calling for a change in government policy to ensure schools prioritise the wellbeing of their students alongside academic achievement.

There needs to be Government legislation, regulation and/or policy, which embeds student wellbeing as a priority area in schools.

All through school me and my friends were always being told that if we mess up in our exams, then we have messed up our futures. The pressure made me feel so stressed out all the time - I didn’t eat or sleep properly for ages and I felt so unhappy and desperate.” Jessica - YoungMinds activist

Get involved

If you are passionate about the mental health and wellbeing of young people today, and want to support our campaign, then you can get involved in the following ways:

Find out more