The Impact of Pupil Behaviour and Wellbeing on Educational Outcomes

The Department for Education have published research on the link between wellbeing, troublesome behaviour, and academic achievement.

The researchers say:

Our study demonstrates the importance of wellbeing for children and adolescents throughout their primary and secondary school education. There are critical periods, however, when specific dimensions of wellbeing are most crucial. For academic progression, better emotional wellbeing is a key factor in primary school, whereas low levels of troublesome behaviour and more school engagement emerge as significant in adolescence. Good attention skills, on other hand, are important for academic progression in both primary and secondary school. For school engagement, victimisation appears to have a greater impact in primary school, whereas better emotional and behavioural wellbeing and positive friendships are supportive in secondary school. School enjoyment plays a significant role in encouraging engagement in both primary and secondary school.

To be clear, the troublesome behaviour that the researchers look at does not include drug or alcohol use, rather they were measuring things like whether the child plays truant, lies, or steals things.

It could be that these findings suggest reasons for primary schools to engage in programmes like the Good Behaviour Game which has been shown to engage young children in school and lead to better academic and behavioural outcomes.  More broadly this research gives schools good reasons to support their systems for pastoral care and invest in Personal Social Health Education so that it is as good as it can be.