Cardiff Youth Council (CYC) and the Children and Young People’s Advisory Board (CYPAB) have met to look at the Cardiff Student’s School Health Research Network (SHRN) Student Health and Wellbeing Survey 2017/18 and give feedback from the perspective of children and young people (C&YP).
They were asked to look at the results from across the city, not from any particular school or area, and feedback what their views and thoughts are regarding the data.
The following is their direct response to what they identified as some of the more concerning issues.
Current teacher training and school policies are not adequate enough [for schools] to provide the appropriate health and wellbeing support, and well rounded education, that is necessary during the crucial years of development [for students] in secondary school.
There is a pattern throughout the survey that shows figures for Year 10 and Year 11 are more negative than earlier years. We [CYC] believe it is the performance heavy expectations of KS4 education that increase the pressures on both students and staff, negatively affecting both parties. These expectations filter down from Welsh Government and Estyn to school heads, teachers and students, depriving students of the essential attention and support they need. ‘KS4 simply doesn’t allow the time for a wellbeing education.’
Without a proper wellbeing strategy, not only do people suffer, but the [exam] results, for which the Welsh Government and in turn Estyn, schools and teachers are so concerned about, decline.
An option could be to balance this with securing a wellbeing approach in KS3. This could help to equip students with the healthy coping mechanisms and skills they’ll need, and give staff the structure and culture in which to support students and colleagues.
This raises the question of what we [CYC] consider to be an all-encompassing wellbeing education that is critical for education reform. It must be accessible, relevant, embedded in the culture of the school and be beneficial for all pupils and staff.
Some of the measures that could be implemented include:
– Training for staff that properly equips them to build better relationships with students and deal with mental health and wellbeing in both secondary and primary school.
– Help pupils to develop their self-identity and critical thinking as well as understanding others’ e.g. Interests, personal learning, confidence, cultures etc.
– Better education around health; physical, mental and sexual – this should be for ALL PUPILS AND STAFF and not just the YP who have been identified as having problems as many YP stay silent and suffer alone. We all need to be taught about the different types of mental health & wellbeing issues, why they occur and given tools to cope better with them. This will not only help us [young people] identify problems we may be having but will help us identify when our friends may be suffering and help us to help them too
– How to deal with pressure, healthy habits and coping mechanisms – resilience building
– Building life and/or employability skills e.g. Group skills.
CYC currently have Mental Health & Wellbeing as one of their priority groups and are also involved in a Mental Health & Wellbeing task group that has been set up by the Children & Young People’s Scrutiny Committee. The reports for both of these will be written and published over the next few months so please keep a look out.