Just over one quarter (26 per cent) of primary seven boys are completely happy coming to school, compared with 44 per cent of girls, according to a survey carried out by Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster.
The Kids’ Life and Times Survey found that boys in Northern Ireland were less happy than girls with writing, reading, spelling, working by themselves and coming to school. The survey also found that just over half of primary seven children think pupils in their school have been bullied.
3,440 P7 children across Northern Ireland took part in the Kids’ Life and Times Survey. This is the first time all P7 children have been given the chance to express their opinions on the issues affecting them, such as happiness in school, bullying, health and wellbeing, and the Transfer Test.
The survey was carried out by ARK, a joint research initiative by the two universities, and the findings will be launched at Queen’s University today (Friday 10th October).
The key findings from the survey are that:
- 84 per cent of girls compared with 76 per cent of boys said they had been ‘mostly happy’ at their primary school.
- 44 per cent of girls and 26 per cent of boys were completely happy coming to school.
- 51 per cent of children think that children in their school get bullied. 5 per cent think that pupils in their school get bullied a lot and a further 46 per cent that pupils get bullied a little.
- 22 per cent of children said they have been physically bullied at school either a lot (4 per cent) or a little (18 per cent) while 39 per cent have been bullied a lot or a little in other ways.
- 10 per cent of children have experienced bullying by text message or on the Internet
- 44 per cent of children wanted to keep the Transfer Test and 35 per cent wanted to get rid of it.
19 per cent of children felt under a lot of pressure when they were doing the Transfer Test, 23 per cent felt no pressure at all and 55 per cent felt somewhere in between the two. 43 per cent of children said the main source or pressure was from themselves.
Dr Katrina Lloyd from Queen’s University said: "The public and the media often debate topical and controversial issues like bullying in our schools and the future of the Transfer Test. But we rarely ask the children themselves what they think about these things. The Kids’ Life and Times Survey gives children the opportunity to express their views on the issues that affect them.
“The survey findings provide a valuable insight into children’s experiences of school life. The discrepancy between the number of girls and boys who are completely happy coming to school, and the fact that almost a quarter of P7 children said they had been physically bullied at school, raises issues that must be addressed by those who make the decisions and policies that affect our children’s school experiences."
Professor Gillian Robinson from the University of Ulster said: "The years spent at primary school are crucial to a child’s development - not only in terms of what they learn but also their general wellbeing. It is important that those involved in educating our children understand the extent to which they do or do not enjoy being at school and the pressures they are under. I am sure this survey will help inform education policy makers in making decisions that affect thousands of school children across Northern Ireland.
“As with all ARK surveys, the results of the Kids’ Life and Times Survey will be made widely available, and a copy will be sent to every primary school in Northern Ireland."
The Kids’ Life and Times Survey was funded by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. Full survey findings are available at http://www.ark.ac.uk/klt.
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