Wednesday, 16 March 2016

WHO study finds 15 year old girls in poorer health

"Fifteen-year-old girls in Scotland face more pressure from schoolwork and report poorer health than others around the globe, according to research."

"The major study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) compared the health of children in 42 European and North American countries."

"The research suggested Scotland had a significantly greater proportion of 15-year-old girls in poor health..."

"The WHO analysis of the health of 11-15 year olds suggested that, while 11-year-old Scottish children have healthier habits than children in many other countries, there is a marked decline by the time they reach 15."

"The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study has been carried out in 42 countries every 4 years for the last 30 years and provides a valuable indication of the wellbeing of the next generation of adults..."
"Particularly concerning is the increase in school-related stress which may be contributing to poorer mental wellbeing especially among 15-year-old girls. It is essential that we look at ways of providing support to young people to help them navigate the challenges they face during adolescence."
The Scottish government thinks income inequality is at the root of the issue and there is a need for early interventions. It does not matter what the problem is, that is the way they see things.

But there is a difference between primary and secondary school education. In the primary school, children have the same teacher and can build a rapport. They also move to the next level with their friends, as they age, and go from one teacher to the next.

All of that changes when they go to secondary school. Friends are separated - and that is not without consequence for girls of a certain age - and they have to bounce around a great number of classes and different teachers. There`s little respect for teachers who are stressed and spend a lot of their time, shouting, as they try to gain control in the classroom. But as teachers are encouraged to do group work and discussions, the talking never stops.

Because there is so much nonsense passing itself off as education, there is less and less time to do the real work; so when it comes to tests, girls, who tend to be more conscientious, feel the stress enormously as they try to catch up.

So instead of looking at poverty - which needs to be dealt with in a different way - we should start looking at what is going on in secondary schools. After all, the 15 year old girls have had more health and wellbeing across the curriculum than any of the younger kids. It`s obviously not working - but is supposed to be what Curriculum for Excellence and GIRFEC is about.

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