Summary of report content
Healthwatch Sutton set up a Project Steering Group to develop a Primary School project. Membership included head teachers, SENCO leads, local authority commissioners and representatives of voluntary/community sector organisations that have an interest in this area.
A survey was developed to investigate the wellbeing of students in years 5 and 6. A total of 909 students from ten schools completed the survey between October 2019 and March 2020.
- A majority reported feeling either happy or very happy over the previous four weeks. Boys felt slightly happier than girls, and no difference existed between year 5 and year 6 pupils.
- Most commented that friends made them happy (56%), whereas students worried most about school and homework (37%).
- Girls and year 5 students were the least happy about taking school tests.
- Boys were more relaxed than girls about attending secondary school.
- A majority attended at least one club (83%), either in or outside school. Club membership was not associated with a higher mood.
- Boys reported exercising for significantly longer than girls. There was a very weak correlation between the amount of daily exercise and mood of the previous four weeks.
- Most pupils had access to an internet-enabled device (96%), and a majority had some form of supervision when online (77%).
- Roughly two-fifths had at least one social media account (78%), and more had been spoken to about online safety (88%). Almost all said they knew how to stay safe online (99%).
- Students said they felt significantly more listened to by adults at home than at school.
The Covid-19 pandemic has immensely affected primary school education. In light of this, it is likely that the mental health of pupils will have been impacted. Key stakeholders feel that while this does reflect on the potential accuracy of the current report findings in the new circumstances, it does provide the opportunity to carry out a pre and post Covid-19 comparison as the existing data creates a strong baseline comparator.
As such, Healthwatch Sutton’s recommendation is to investigate the potential to repeat this survey, possibly with additional questions that reflect the pandemic’s impact, in order to publish a comparative report of pupils’ mental health prior to and following the Covid-19 pandemic.