Mental Health

Parents take legal action over pupils labelled as truants | Education

Families with children who are labelled “school refusers” are planning to take legal action against the government to challenge rules on truancy that allow them to be fined and prosecuted. A group of parents, working with lawyers, wants a judicial review of the school attendance regulations that label their children as “truants”. The families say the severe anxiety that their children suffer from should be treated as a mental health issue, not an attendance one. In many cases, the pupils…

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How anxiety scrambles your brain and makes it hard to learn | Education

Olivia admits she’s always been a worrier – but when she started university, her anxiety steadily began to build. One day she was simply too frightened to leave the house. For two weeks she was stuck indoors, before she was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder and began to get the help she needed. With support from her GP and university wellbeing service, and courses of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), she was able to stick with her university course and to…

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Secret Teacher: Class, I wish I’d told you the truth about my mental health | Teacher Network

Last year, I quit teaching. I had completed my NQT induction, and despite the years of self-doubt and tears I’d finally come to recognise that I was a competent teacher, and had started to believe my positive feedback. I had also come to realise, however, that teaching was an unhealthy career choice for me. I am a perfectionist – or now, I hope, a recovering perfectionist – who is prone to anxiety. Unfortunately, I could not reconcile these aspects of…

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GCSE results day 2019: increase in top grades – live | Education

Amy Walker has been speaking to delighted pupils at a voluntary aided King David High School in Liverpool – a Jewish school that admits children from 11 to 18 of all faiths. Ben Franks, 16, is among those now in the queue to register for the school’s sixth form after receiving GCSE grades including an 8 (equivalent to an A*), two 7s (A) and three 6s (B). Revising “got really weird at one point,” he said. “I basically developed a…

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Out of control: is too much work the real cause of burnout? | Life and style

Carolyn King reached a crossroads moment in her life, ironically, while negotiating a roundabout on the way to work. She hated her job, but had always been able to push through the Sunday night dread to turn up on time. Yet on this particular Monday morning, almost two years ago, King couldn’t exit the roundabout. “It was like I was possessed, my body was telling me not to go to work,” she says. “Instead, I turned around and drove to…

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Secret Teacher: I hated teaching – until I realised my school was the problem | Teacher Network

Not so long ago, I was ready to quit teaching. Now, I’ve got my sights on leadership. The difference is my headteacher. Under my previous head, I got the point where I couldn’t go on. I was signed off work with anxiety and stress. At school, we’d been under intense pressure to get more children to expected levels to show the school was improving – and were always on edge thanks to drop-in observations. As a member of the school…

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Teach us how to look after our mental health, say university students | Education

Students want universities to teach them how to look after their mental health and wellbeing as anxiety and stress levels surge on UK campuses, according to a survey. Ninety-six per cent of the 1,500 students polled by emotional fitness app Fika think universities should offer “emotional education” on the curriculum to improve their resilience against mental health problems. This would replicate the Department for Education’s plans to roll out wellbeing modules in schools from September 2020. The modules could help…

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Joy of learning has been lost to tests | Letter | Education

Re the long read (Learning the hard way, Journal, 27 September), as a counsellor working in higher education, I agree that there are many ways that university life unnecessarily exacerbates stress for students. However, I don’t think it is university practices that are the cause of the current situation with student mental health. I think we need to look at what has gone on before students arrive at university, and the damage that has been done to their wellbeing by…

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I returned to uni for freshers’ week 20 years after leaving. Here’s what has changed | Education

In the autumn of 1997, I was a fresher at the University of Glasgow. Months after the Labour landslide, weeks after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, I was an 18-year-old British-Indian made up of equal parts teenage kicks, terror and Topshop – and on my way to Scotland for the first time, to live and study in a city I had never even visited. I was a 90s Londoner in every sense: geographically ignorant, cocky, earnestly carrying a…

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‘We’re confused, angry and anxious over Brexit … and so are the children we teach’ | Education

Ed Finch, teacher, Larkrise primary school, OxfordThere’s another general election coming and I am sick to my stomach at the thought of how I’ll discuss that in class or in assembly. How can I present, in a balanced and non-judgmental way, the appalling invective that has been normalised these last few weeks? How can I suggest to pupils that adults who posture, threaten, lie and break the law are worthy of our respect? We are required to teach “British values”…

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Six ways to stay healthy when you’re stressed | Life and style

Human beings are not built to endure prolonged periods of stress. If you want to see an extreme example of what it can do to a person, observe prime ministers as they enter and exit Downing Street. Before, fresh-faced, they simper for the cameras. Afterwards, they are gaunt, grey and lined. It is like watching an accelerated version of ageing, and a reminder of how stress corrodes the human body. We live in stressful times, though. More people are scratching…

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Workers feel more stress and anxiety than ever before. We need to talk about this | Elliot Perlman | Books

In towns and cities across Australia, one gets the sense that many people are just barely hanging on. You see it on their faces, hear it in their voices, and sometimes even fear the consequences of it via spontaneous outbursts of public incivility over things that, decades ago, one would not have expected to cause any disturbance of the peace. You see it on the street in the menacing – or at least defensive – looks people give one another,…

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‘My hand shook so much I spilled my tea’: a guide for the introverted fresher | Education

The start of each university year brings fresh images of young students draped over each other in an alcoholic haze, relishing their first taste of freedom. There’s partying until the early hours and the shared pain of hangovers in the morning. But what happens to those who don’t drink, or find it hard to meet and socialise with strangers? Although they don’t lose their phones or ruin their new trainers with paint bombs, there is no disguising the fact that…

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Teaching workload: requires improvement | Letters | Education

Your editorial (19 September) begins to unpick some of the reasons why retention and, in some areas, recruitment are such a problem in this beleaguered and overwhelmed profession. Successive attempts to address this problem have failed to grasp the true causes which are, depressingly, characterised by the report of the leaked government document advocating swapping “workload-inducing practices for evidence-based approaches”. This, like all the other initiatives, is an attempt to shift the responsibility for this matter on to schools, thereby…

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The Guardian view on teacher workloads: big lessons to learn | Editorial | Opinion

The new secretary of state for education, Gavin Williamson, knows a lot about the heavy workloads piled on teachers. His wife used to teach in a primary school. Then she left the profession to become a teaching assistant partly because, he said this month, “there was always a big challenge in terms of workload, and this is one of the things we need to address”. Indeed. More than personal experience, hard figures back up the cabinet minister’s worry. A new…

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