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New report shows English children among unhappiest in the world

The Good Childhood report, released this week by The Children’s Society, has found that English children are among the unhappiest in the world with their school life. More than a third of 10-12 year olds have been bullied in the last month and half have felt excluded by their peer group. Against satisfaction with life as a whole, children in England rank 14 out of 15 countries, and have particularly low body confidence and self esteem with girls in England bottom of the international ranking.

Liz Bayram, PACEY’s Chief Executive, said of the findings; “We know that the foundations of emotional resilience and positive self image starts pre-school. A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health which tracked children from pre-school through to adulthood found that social-emotional skills in young children are a strong indicator for wellbeing in later life.

At PACEY we have welcomed Nicky Morgan’s call for emotional wellbeing of school children to be made a priority for the Department, but the focus needs to start much younger. We know that childcare professionals have a vital role to play in supporting children to understand and manage the wide range of emotions that they experience, and to encourage emotional resilience. When education policy in this country is increasingly focused on academic progress, and when children as young as 4 starting school this year will be tested on literacy and numeracy skills, we are looking for the Government to do much more to demonstrate that the happiness of our children really is at the heart of policy making.”

This winter, PACEY is set to shine a light on the subject of early years mental health, to ensure our members are fully equipped to give the children in their care the very best emotional start in life. Our November conference, being held in York on Saturday 7 November, will focus on the many areas of emotional well-being in the early years; from positive relationships to the importance of physical health and nutrition. There will be a range of highly interactive sessions including on mindfulness techniques and using dance, music and books to discuss emotions and feelings with children.

Our next publication, due to hit the shelves in autumn, will delve deeper into the topic of emotional well-being, featuring the very latest findings and advice from experts across the field of mental health.

PACEY is also the early years partner on the Body Confidence Campaign to help highlight the important role that childcare professionals plan in supportive body confidence in children.

Read more about The Good Childhood report. PACEY members already have access to a range of relevant resources, including the children’s emotional needs factsheet and a free training course, supporting children’s emotional wellbeing.