The Mail is reporting that a former health minister has warned that school pupils should have an hour a week of life skills to prevent them costing taxpayers millions in mental health care…
Influential surgeon Lord Darzi, who served under Labour from 2007 to 2009, made the call in a report which blasts ‘exam factory’ schools and warns of a youth mental health crisis.
His proposals would see classes incorporated into the curriculum about emotions, caring for others, sexual relationships, diet, parenting, mental health, drugs, social media and ‘positive life goals’.
Many of the topics are already covered by Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE), but the subject’s contents are not fully laid down by law.
Lord Darzi’s report called for a structured approach to emotional education and said teachers should be discouraged from ‘improvising’ based on their own experiences.
The report, co-written with economist and former government adviser Lord Layard, is due to be presented on Tuesday to the World Innovation Summit for Health in Doha, Qatar.
It has called on the government, councils, schools, volunteer groups and the NHS to work together and said children’s mental health can affect society years down the line.
One of the focuses must be emotional well-being, it insisted – echoing ‘happiness classes’ which were introduced at Berkshire’s £34,000-a-year Wellington College in 2006 and are said to have been a runaway success.
‘Increasingly in many countries, schools are becoming exam factories,’ the report said. ‘To improve child wellbeing, this must be reversed…’
One-off programmes offering 20 hours of ‘life skills’ classes were not enough to make a difference, the report said.
‘If children are to develop good life skills, they need more than one or two 20-hour programs,’ the report added.
‘They need a whole curriculum of life skills, at least once a week throughout the school life.
‘This curriculum should be evidence-based and depend as little as possible on inspired improvisation by the teacher.’…
It’s not clear from this newspaper report exactly what is being proposed here, but what do you think of the suggestion of a compulsory hour of life skills all the way through school?
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