How happiness is the key to helping pupils learn more
MAKING children happy by listening to their ideas and needs could be a key to improving their education, according to a new report.
A scrutiny inquiry into attainment and well-being in schools has highlighted examples of best practice at primary and secondary schools which could help boost pupils’ achievements.
The panel looked at how schools, the council and partners meet the emotional needs of children and how that is vital to improving both the well-being and the attainment of children and young people.
Councillor Fiona Gordon, convener of the panel, said: “As a group of councillors we wanted to find out about how the well-being of children and young people in our schools was being attended to, in a climate of the constant race to improve standards as measured by examination results.
“We have been pleased to see some excellent, innovative and sector-leading practice and we hope that this report helps to achieve more consistency across schools for all our children.”
The panel found Swansea schools were performing well in their Estyn inspections, when compared with other schools in Wales. In Swansea 100 per cent of the schools inspected were judged as good or excellent for well-being as compared to 94 per cent of schools across Wales. They recognised, though, that this was only one measure of how children felt about their time in school, and that well-being is a complex concept, difficult to define.
Councillors found schools must consistently recognise the importance of well-being matters not only for the benefit of pupils in wider society but in order for them to be able to learn effectively in school.
Consulting, involving and including children and young people in decision making is essential. Children and young people must be able to give their views and those views must be listened to and respected, the panel said.
The report of the scrutiny inquiry panel ‘Learning Lessons’ provides a number of recommendations about how schools, the council and partners can continue to improve well-being in schools.
The report will be presented to Swansea Council’s cabinet on Tuesday.
Will Evans, cabinet member for learning and skills said: “I am a grateful to the panel for all the hard work which went in to the report and to the schools which have participated. I will be responding to the report in due course.”
Mitch Theaker, member for opportunities for children and young people, added: “I am delighted that the report recognises the need for children to be aware of and given the opportunity to exercise their rights. This is timely given this council’s landmark adoption of the United Nationals Convention on Rights of the Child.”