Education insights: Links between social media and mental health, educational attainment issues and language lessons in primary schools

With many Londoners taking to the polls this week to cast their votes for mayor, a constituency London Assembly member and a London-wide Assembly member, we can’t help but wonder how much of an impact policies on education have made on their decisions. This week’s headlines focused on links (or lack thereof) between the internet and mental health, and calls for subject areas like languages and swimming to be prioritised by educators and parents alike.

Parents urged to prioritise swimming lessons

Olympian Duncan Goodhew has called for parents to put swimming lessons "front and centre of their priorities" as the country comes out of lockdown. It comes after the sport's governing body said the lack of lessons during the Covid pandemic meant 240,000 children had missed out on learning how to swim 25m - the length of most pools. Swim England said more than five million swimming sessions were lost during the pandemic. Through our continued work with Sport England to develop the online PE lesson platform Studio You, we have seen first-hand how important it is for young people to maintain al level of physical exercise – and what better way than swimming?

How primary schools can be 'outstanding' at languages

Ofsted has revealed its views on the strengths and weaknesses of languages teaching in primary schools. Its findings form the latest in a series of subject-themed reports produced following special inspections, which took place before the Covid-19 pandemic. A new blog outlining the findings has been written by Michael Wardle, the inspectorate’s subject lead for languages, and summarised by Tes. If your brand or organisation is in a position to support in the catch-up in the subjects listed, speak to us today to see how we can help you build an education programme and resources with real impact.

Teens, tech and mental health: Oxford study finds no link

According to the Oxford Internet Institute, there is only ‘little association’ between mental health and technology use among young people in the UK. When comparing TV viewing, social-media and device use with feelings of depression, suicidal tendencies and behavioural problems, it found a small drop in association from 1991 to 2019, along with a small rise in that between emotional issues and social-media use. We can’t help but feel surprised by these findings, given the breadth of social media platforms available to young people, as well as the pressures that come with them, but we’re pleased none-the-less that they are not having the negative impact some might think.

Work still to be done to address educational attainment inequalities

A report published by Northern Ireland’s Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr Kieran Donnelly CB, has found that over £900 million of funding has not made any demonstrable difference in narrowing the educational attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their more affluent counterparts. The report finds that funding for children with free school meals has not helped improve the performance of pupils despite £913 million of Targeting Social Need funding having been provided since March 2005. We’re looking forward to seeing how these issues are addressed going forward, to maximise the prospects for young people and support their future success.

Are teachers paid enough?

What is a teacher’s time worth? Teachers might appear relatively well paid but long hours mean they are earning less than those in other careers. By comparing three hypothetical colleagues, Tes weighs up hourly rates with hours worked to calculate the worth of an educator’s time, and if they are currently being paid fairly. With financial education and literacy for young people becoming a priority in many schools, it is only right that institutions are leading by example when it comes to fair pay, and work-life balance.

About the author

Eloise Turner

Eloise has gained lots of marketing and comms knowledge having worked with a range of organisations in the education, women’s health and global logistics industry. With experience in content creation, copywriting and social media she brings her passion for reaching the younger audience when working on projects for Sport England, LifeSkills created with Barclays and RSPCA.

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