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Wellbeing 'should be measured in school league tables'

14/10/2016 Joanna

A former head teacher has called for measures of pupil wellbeing to be included in school league tables.

Sir Anthony Seldon, who is currently vice chancellor at the University of Buckingham, pointed out that wellbeing is regularly measured by the Office for National Statistics.

However, he said it is not possible to make school-level comparisons at the moment with regards to this particular metric.

As a result, Sir Anthony believes more should be done to gauge pupils' views on school life and compare the resources put into pastoral care in schools.

He argued that this could improve morale among students and prevent what he describes as "avoidable suffering".

"As long as the only metric on which schools are being assessed is their exam performance, our schools will never have the incentive to take wellbeing as seriously as they should," Sir Anthony commented.

He went on to stress that exam results are not the only consideration for parents who are selecting a school.

"It is perfectly clear to me, as a head of schools for 20 years, that parents will pay more heed to the wellbeing tables than to the exam league tables," Sir Anthony said.

"They know, even if the government doesn't, that schools that prioritise wellbeing, which includes challenging and stretching students, also build character and help them to perform better than those schools which are just exam factories."

Sir Anthony added that a great deal more is known about how to teach wellbeing and character in schools than was the case a decade ago.

As a result, he believes schools must do the necessary groundwork before pupils progress to higher education.

This, he stated, is because it is clear that by the time students reach the age of 18 and arrive at university, "the damage has been done".

Sir Anthony said this means universities "are on the back foot" when it comes to dealing with student wellbeing and happiness.

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