Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Why the 'Sober and Responsible' Shall Inherit the Earth

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Why the 'Sober and Responsible' Shall Inherit the Earth

Article excerpt

Teens are increasingly studious and risk-averse, research finds

England's teenagers are more studious and ambitious than ever before and are taught overwhelmingly in "good" schools with effective discipline, according to a major government study.

The research into the lives and schooling of a representative sample of thousands of 13- and 14-year-olds paints a positive picture of secondary education today. It shows that pupils have more opportunities for studying in school after lessons than a decade ago and are praised, cared for and motivated by their teachers.

Teenagers are more likely to want to go to university and are less likely to drink and indulge in "risky" behaviour. Parents seem happy, too: at least 90 per cent think their child's school is good or better and are satisfied with progress, according to the findings from the second Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE).

"Thirteen-year-olds and their parents are, on the whole, positive about their school, home and personal lives," the Department for Education report (bit.ly/LSYPE2) concludes. "They appear more likely to make responsible choices than 10 years ago...this is a sober, responsible generation of young people."

But the study also reveals the pressures placed on pupils, with significant numbers seeing private tutors outside school. It finds that two-fifths of the teenagers have been bullied in the past year and that they are less likely to socialise with friends and more likely to play computer games than their counterparts a decade ago.

The survey involved interviews with 13,100 Year 9 pupils, who will be tracked for seven years.

They are significantly more positive about discipline in their schools than the cohort of Year 9s interviewed in 2004 for the first LSYPE. Just 12 per cent think discipline in their school is "not strict enough", compared with 16 per cent a decade ago.

The proportion who think their school is "too strict" has also declined, from 24 to 17 per cent, and the number who think discipline is "about right" has risen from 60 to 71 per cent.

The poorer a school's overall Ofsted rating, the more pupils are likely to be concerned by lax discipline. A quarter of teenagers in schools rated inadequate believe their school is "not strict enough", compared with just 8 per cent of those attending outstanding schools. …

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