Good Childhood Report findings on low pupil wellbeing highlight the need for high-quality PSHE

Today’s Good Childhood Report reveals that England’s pupils are some of the unhappiest in the world and face alarming levels of physical and emotional bullying. Children in England, and especially girls, are also particularly likely to feel negative about their appearance and their self-confidence.

Bullying continues to take a toll on pupils’ mental health, with bullied children six times as likely to experience low wellbeing. The report shows that 38% of 10 and 12 year olds in England have been physically bullied and 50% have felt excluded in the last month.

These findings show the urgent need for Government to take action to improve pupil wellbeing by making PSHE education statutory on the school curriculum, and for schools to invest time and staff training to ensure effective teaching. PSHE education is the subject through which pupils learn about issues like bullying, body image and managing their mental health and wellbeing – yet according to Ofsted PSHE provision is sub-standard in 40% of schools.

The Education Select Committee strongly recommended making PSHE statutory to improve provision nationally, and we call on Government to take action and respond positively to ensure pupils get the education they need to keep themselves physically and emotionally safe and well.  

The Children’s Society, which has published the Good Childhood Report, is joined by a range of leading organisations including Barnardo’s, NSPCC, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists in backing our campaign for statutory PSHE education.

To help teachers, we have published guidance materials for teaching about mental health and body image. However a statutory entitlement to PSHE education is the only way to ensure no child or young person misses out on this vital preventative learning taught by appropriately trained teachers with adequate time and support.


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