Children's wellbeing neglected as schools 'focus on academics'

School children are having their health and happiness neglected because they focus purely on academic achievement, experts have warned. A report published in the BMJ warned focusing solely on achievement could push pupils towards "risky" behaviour.

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Narrow academic focus leads pupils to 'risk behaviours'

Schools which focus solely on achieving academically can push pupils into "anti-school peer groups" and towards "risk behaviours", like smoking, illegal drugs and violence, according to experts

Writing for a leading medical journal, a group of academics lead by Professor Chris Bonell said:

This is associated with many students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, disengaging from school and instead investing in 'anti-school' peer groups and risk behaviours, such as smoking, taking drugs, and violence.

Furthermore, research suggests that 'teaching to the test', which commonly occurs in school systems with a narrow focus on attainment, can harm students' mental health.

– Academics led by Professor Chris Bonell

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