Research


Life School is the result of an increasing realisation that in order to build a  future for future generations, we need to address some of the problems facing our young today. As you will see from the below articles, we are not alone in that thinking:

 

“This week the government’s Health and Social Care Information Centre published information showing that those in the 20-29 age bracket had the highest rates of referral to psychological therapy than any other age.

It doesn’t help that this is the first generation to grow up with the idea that praise creates self-esteem. So their parents spent years building them up — “‘You’re amazing”, “Wow, you’re so clever” — then they are dumped into the worst economic crisis in generations, where they can’t afford homes and where the competition for jobs is ridiculously high in a social media landscape that makes them feel never quite good enough.

At the same time, we expose them to the notion that says “If you want it badly enough, you will get it”, as seen in a dozen TV talent shows. In my 16 years as a psychologist, I’ve seen increasing numbers of young adults seek help for anxiety, stress and excessive rumination which is disrupting their lives. Research by the American Psychological Association shows that the millennials (that is, those born after 1980) are the most stressed generation. A study by the University of Essex last year concluded that 86 per cent of twentysomethings felt they were not doing enough with their lives.

The key for both twentysomethings and their parents is to understand the pressures, to keep things in perspective and to embrace the challenges — and the joy — head-on.

This generation finds it harder to break away from parents Today’s parents are so much more involved in their children’s lives than previous generations were: at school, the parents did their children’s homework, at university some were organising tutors. That’s disempowering rather than supportive, because the

child’s sense of worth and identity continues to be shaped by fulfilling their parents’ expectations; they become approval addicts.

The twenties is a time for moving from external assessment — your parents saying “Well done” or your teacher giving you an A — to taking responsibility for your own sense of worth. Young adults need to construct their own identity, rather than to look for the online clapometer in the form of “likes”, basing it on what moves them, what makes them angry, what they are reading.

This is particularly important for the growing number of twentysomethings still living at home, as it’s more difficult to construct an identity with your parents so close. A note of warning to parents here, too: if they make life too cosy for the at-home child, what’s the impetus to be independent?”

Dr Linda Papadopoulos
Quarter-life crisis: The survival guide for twentysomethings | The Times 21/09/2014 18:37

 

“Over half of British firms are concerned about the resilience and self-management skills of school leavers and a third with their attitude towards work. Just under half of all firms are worried that young people making the jump from the classroom to the meeting room do not possess enough knowledge of their chosen careers or have relevant work experience. This reflects business opinion that the careers advice system is in a perilous state, with four out of five firms saying it’s simply not up to the task. By contrast, almost all firms are more than happy with the IT skills of our young people as they enter work.

The journey we all make from school to the workplace can be very daunting so incentivising our schools, colleges and university to produce students with the grit, ambition and emotional intelligence needed to build successful careers would help. We also need to clearly set out what we want our schools to deliver and then hold them to account against it – This could include support for a more tailored curriculum between 14 and 18.”

John Cridland, Director-General of the CBI
Education System Must Better Prepare Young People for Life Outside School Gates | The Huffington Post 04/07/14

 

“Tony Little, on the other hand, is acutely aware of the politics that comes with his job. Little is headmaster of probably the most famous school in the world, but one he admits some people can only think of as a four-letter word: Eton. He agrees that there is a stigma associated with attending the school, but thinks it may be good for his students and make them more aware of how privileged they are. Even its detractors would recognise its success: 19 of Britain’s prime ministers were educated within its walls.

As I stood with a be-gowned Little in a classroom that dates from the 15th century, and on whose benches Walpole and Shelley had gouged their names, he said the history of the place must rub off on the pupils. The implicit question asked of them, he says, is, “if they’ve done it, why not you?”

He puts the success of the school down to what happens outside the classroom as much as in it; like Sir Ken Robinson, he emphasises the importance of allowing each boy to find his own passion, whether it is academic or not. It’s one of the reasons he would get rid of almost all school exams, suggesting that in chasing certificates we “over-school” and “under-educate”.

Sarah Montague
How badly do we teach our children? Discuss | The Telegraph 13/08/14