This year’s edition of The Good Childhood Report has just been published (August, 2019). In the report it provides an overview of:
- The latest statistics and trends in children’s self-reported subjective well-being, including variations by gender.
- An exploratory analysis of potential childcentred measures of disadvantage and their relationship with well-being.
- A new analysis of the associations between two aspects of household income (income poverty and financial strain) and different measures of children’s well-being.
- Children’s thoughts about their futures, including their priorities and worries, and how they relate to well-being.
The analysis of the data illustrates that the latest trends (comparing 2009-10 with 2016-17) in subjective well-being for children aged 10 to 15 show decreases in children’s happiness with life as a whole and with friends.
However there has been no significant change in their happiness with other areas (family, appearance and school work).
Experiences of income poverty or financial strain was found to be associated with lower life satisfaction and higher depressive symptoms at age 14.
Finally, analysis is presented of children’s current views of their own future and broader issues, which are likely to be intrinsically related to their well-being.
Children were most worried about having enough money – around 1 in 9 children said that they were very worried about this. The issues that children worried most about in relation to wider society were crime and the environment – around 2 in 5 were very or quite worried about these topics.
Across the chapters of this report, school emerges as an important theme for further focus. Not only are scores for the school domain of the Good Childhood Index consistently low, but more recent figures from Understanding Society suggest there may have been a dip in satisfaction with school in the most recent wave of the survey. The analysis on poverty and well-being also highlights connections between income poverty and financial strain, and children’s feelings about school at age 14. Taking these findings at face value suggests that a key way of improving children’s subjective experience may be to improve their experience at school.
The report provides insightful recommendations in the following areas to address and improve childhood wellbeing.
- Family Finances
- Children’s Services
- Supporting Children to be Confident About the Future
- Re-prioritising Early Intervention
- Proposal for a Comprehensive National Measurement of Children’s Well-being
This report highlights how we as a society and thus the environment we create for our children is not providing the appropriate and effective growing conditions for children. We and not encouraging our children to thrive and flourish. More needs to be done to ensure that we cultivate and develop environments both at home, school and in the wider community that supports children and nurtures well-being.
Physical education has a huge role to play in helping children to explore who they are and their connectedness with the world around them. Physical education can develop a strong sense of embodied self and this can help to nurture motivation, confidence among other characteristics.
The physical education must take stock of these findings and respond with a clear plan of how the subject can challenge and reverse some of these worrying trends along with the wider school community.
To view the full report click here.