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Schools in England and Wales will be required to promote children’s well-being under an amendment to the Education and Inspections Bill .
The change will place a statutory obligation on school governing bodies to help improve pupils’ physical, mental, emotional and social well-being, as well as their educational attainment. Schools will also be required to play their part in protecting children from harm and neglect, and steering them towards positive activities and away from antisocial behaviour.
There is growing concern regarding the youth of today, particularly with regard to their behaviour and health risks (Sharland 2006).
Reports regarding antisocial behaviour and engagement in illegal risky activities appear to be reported by the media and seized upon up by the public with alarming regularity (Sharland 2006).
Aside to the legality of risk taking behaviours, the potential health impacts for our future citizens are constantly highlighted in terms of engaging in unprotected sexual activity, smoking and binge drinking.
Parents would seem to be absolving their responsibilities in terms of control and providing clear boundaries (Guardian 2006).
Wellings et al (2001) suggests, the most vulnerable young people would seem more likely to engage in risky lifestyles, are then we failing as a society?
Unicef report records that out of 21 countries, the United Kingdom is at the bottom of the league table for child well-being.
Specifically, children in the UK had the highest incidence of risk-taking behaviour: more have had sexual intercourse by the age of 15 than in any other country, more have been drunk two or more times aged between 11,13 and 15 than in any other country, and they are the third highest users of cannabis
Child Poverty in Perspective: An Overview of Child Well-Being in Rich Countries, Innocenti Report Card 7, Unicef
Embracing positive sexual health through youth participation
Young people do not take risks, they ‘experiment and explore’.
The risks to young people's health can never be reduced to zero, we can provide advice, guidance and support to help lower risks and promote positive sexual health
Joint action is needed from governments, civil society, international agencies, parents and young people, in order to protect young people and help them protect themselves.
Health and risk behaviours are influenced at three inter-dependent levels
Levers; APA Children’s Plans Priority meetings Local Area agreements Inspection Frameworks Commissioning Frameworks National and regional tiers Operating Framework Joint Needs Assessment You’re Welcome
Determining identity within an adult world may prove to be troublesome for young people, particularly given the contrasting and conflicting expectations and media images of young people.
Images of children and young people can sway from being portrayed victims to villains, on one hand drug taking, drinking, violence, yet on the other hand neglected, abused and let down by society (Franklin 2002).
During these challenging times young people would undoubtedly benefit from stability, security and consistency, unfortunately some young people may grow up families or in the care system with no clear guidelines as to what is appropriate behaviour.
It could argued that young people are not taking risks but experimenting in preparation for adulthood, whilst acknowledging for other vulnerable groups risk taking not so much a choice but an escape from their insecurities
Perhaps there needs to be a more balanced focus on the pleasures as well as the dangers of risk-taking and links to alternative ways of enhancing self-identity such as sport, volunteering and work experiences.. ……………