How can schools care for the whole child and avoid becoming ‘exam factories’?

At the London Festival of Education, two participants, working in alternative education, were concerned about the over emphasis by policy makers on academic achievement in schools.  They asked how Ofsted might measure more holistically the contributions school makes to children’s lives to temper the focus on exam results.

Professor Chris Bonell conducts research into the effects of health programmes in schools on students’ sense of well-being as well as their academic achievements.  He argues strongly for the contribution these programmes make to children’s lives and discusses some of the evidence for his convictions.  He is pessimistic about the direction that policy is taking regarding health and well being initiatives in schools, however he suggests ways in which the effects of these programmes could be measured by Ofsted or others.  This podcast introduces a lively lecture he recently gave about his work.


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