by Web Manager, 17 February, 2016

An international study reveals that 8 year-olds in England are less happy.

Almost 20,000 eight year-old children from 16 countries around the world were asked how they felt about their lives in a revealing study involving researchers from the University of York.

As an adult living in the UK, a ‘first-world’ country, we might believe that children here should feel that they live in a relatively safe place and expect their levels of happiness to be higher than children from other less wealthy countries. However, you may be surprised to learn that for the UK, children’s happiness for this age-group sits no higher than the middle of the 16 countries tested across the globe.

PSHE Teaching ResourcesResults showed that, for children living in the UK alone, nearly 10% did not feel safe in their own neighbourhood, 10% had a low sense of well-being and 4% did not even feel safe in their own home.

Over a third of eight-year-olds in general worried about their families having enough money to live. Worryingly, a massive 48% reported they had been hit by other children at school, the highest occurrences being in Estonia, England and Germany.

Gwyther Rees from the University of York said, “There are some quite troubling messages from England and the picture is quite similar to what we found with older age groups. Children are [generally] happy at home and with friends but less happy at school where there seems to be an issue around bullying and being left out,” pointing to issues occurring more often during school time.

At Jigsaw, we understand all these issues. In fact, it is these very issues that motivated the writing of the Jigsaw Programme. Jan Lever, creator and director of Jigsaw PSHE, as a teacher and a psychotherapist, believes there is a huge need for every child to have a well-structured and developmental programme of lessons which enables them to understand themselves and others, to nurture their self-esteem and resilience, and to grow their personal awareness and mindfulness.

In just 2 years Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, has been implemented in over 1000 schools in the UK and a growing numbed abroad. The feedback shows quite clearly that children are getting on better, resolving their own conflicts, are happier and thereby more able to learn. Teachers love the planning to be there for them and Jigsaw is currently trialling a Parent Programme, and is developing a more therapeutic programme to support children with emotional and social skills needs.

The Jigsaw PSHE Programme enables a whole-school ethos of empathy and respect to be engendered and lived out every day. Assemblies, original songs and music alongside creative learning activities, mean engagement is high.

Every child deserves the very best chance to learn in a safe and happy environment. They want that and so do their teachers and parents.

Do contact us at Jigsaw ( for more information and to see if we can work with you.

Jigsaw The Mindful Approach to PSHEFurther reading:

Original news article posted by York University

Complete report funded by the Jacobs Foundation

See an overview of Jigsaw PSHE

See related Jigsaw articles

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