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19% of UK schoolchildren report low self-worth

Monday 30th April 2018
Almost one-fifth of schoolchildren report feelings of low self-worth, raising concerns about their mental health. Image: DGLimages via iStock
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Nearly one-fifth of schoolchildren in the UK are at risk of suffering from mental health problems as they get older, as a significant proportion are showing signs of low self-esteem from as young as primary school age.

This is one of the findings of a new report carried out by GL Assessment, which showed that 19 per cent of pupils have feelings of low self-worth and many also doubt their academic abilities, which could be having a knock-on effect on their performance.

GL Assessment questioned more than 850,000 schoolchildren aged between seven and 14 on how they felt about themselves and their experience of school.

With almost one-fifth reporting feelings of low self-worth, this suggests that action is needed to ensure more mental health support is on hand for students to prevent their poor self-esteem from affecting their education and other areas of their life, helping to improve it as early as possible.

It was also found that six per cent of seven to 14-year-olds have a poor attitude towards their learning, which the report authors believe makes them worryingly vulnerable.

The number of boys affected by these feelings was found to be more or less equivalent to the number of girls.

Speaking to the Independent, Dr Adam Boddison, chief executive of the National Association of Special Educational Needs, commented: "For children and young people in schools, the accountability agenda means there is increasing pressure on teachers and therefore on pupils to achieve more.

"This is happening at the same time as increasing complexity of special educational needs and reduced resources in schools, as well as less access to external support services such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services."

It is believed that the removal of personal, social, health and economic education from the school curriculum may also be to blame, as it means that young people are no longer necessarily being provided with a space where they feel comfortable to talk about things that might be bothering them and can learn ways to cope with it.

Written by Angela Newbury

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