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PE is being squeezed out of the curriculum due to academic over-testing of children, say teachers

Lord Gus O’Donnell, chair of Pro Bono Economics, says “The rising level of inactivity among schoolchildren represents a ticking timebomb, threatening both their physical and mental health: unless something is done now, we will continue fostering a troubled generation.  We need to stop endless academic testing of children that only measures one classroom’s performance against another.  Wellbeing should be defined as a measurable target and schools made accountable for achieving it. The focus should be upon producing children who are healthier, happier and better able to make a positive economic and social contribution.”

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Gold medal Paralympian, parliamentarian and Chair of ukactive, says: “Currently inactivity costs the nation £20 billion a year, and every year that we put off fixing this problem it gets bigger and bigger.   What we urgently need is a joined-up government-led strategy that provides creative solutions to engage children in becoming more physically active.  We’ve already hit the bottom of the league tables on health and wellbeing – surely it’s worth raising the bar.”      

British schoolchildren are the least fit they have ever been.   Half (51%) of 11-year-old boys and just over a third (38%) of girls in England and Wales do less than two hours of vigorous physical activity a week.1 One in five (20%) 11-year-olds are obese.2

With society’s future health and wellbeing in mind, two thirds of teachers (63%) agree that children at state schools should be doing four hours of PE a week, in line with independent/private schools, new research by charity Pro Bono Economics has found.3

Unfortunately, the heavy emphasis on testing for numeracy, literacy and science, has left schools struggling to deliver even the curriculum’s modest recommendation of two hours of PE a week.  This is an ironic development in the face of evidence suggesting that a fit and active lifestyle contributes towards better performance in ‘core’ subjects.

Poor facilities and a lack of specialist teachers – the result of persistent funding constraints – have also contributed to PE’s decline, according to teachers surveyed.  As a consequence, more than half (55%) of teachers say they would prefer not to teach PE.   One said: “PE is a forgotten subject.  It is seen as an intrusion in the school day, which has become so focused on meeting ridiculous targets for numeracy and literacy.” Another commented: “Flat netballs and no pump.  We have no field and a small hall and playground. We also have little money for equipment. Teaching PE without these things is like teaching English with no books, or maths without any visual or concrete resources.”

The government has invested £320 million annually in its PE and sport provision for primary schools. In Autumn 2018, after research found that almost 20% of secondary students hated PE lessons, Sport England launched a £13.5m drive to train 17,000 teachers in delivering PE and sport in schools.

Despite these initiatives, only half (50%) of teachers in primary schools and four in ten (43%) in secondary schools say there is adequate provision for PE to support children’s health and wellbeing.  The main barriers teachers cite when it comes to satisfactory PE lessons are:

Schools’ excessive focus on pupil testing and on raising attainment in numeracy and literacy, which leaves little time for anything else, particularly in primary schools.
“PE is massively underrated due to heads being concerned about academic progress.”
In our school, many students aspire to be professional athletes, but the system doesn’t promote PE as being equivalent in value as maths or English. As someone who’s experienced depression during periods of low activity, I can’t emphasise enough how important PE is to learners.”

PE gets dropped in favour of additional lessons and tutoring.
Pupils in some schools are taken out of PE to do catch-up for other subjects, in both secondary and primary schools.”

Lack of school space, meagre facilities and poor-quality equipment render schools physically unable to deliver two hours of PE each week.
Battle for space and facilities, especially in the winter, will be a challenge for a lot of schools.  The hall is used for lunch, tests and assembly.

Non-existent teacher training
“It is only recently that primary schools have been adequately funded, but schools cannot afford the time to remove any teachers from their day-to-day duties so that training can be given. 

Many teachers lack the confidence to teach PE and sport.
“In the three years at university I only had three days of PE training.”  

Children are inhibited by body-image issues and can be put off by competitive sports.
“Outdated facilities and poor body image around changing have a huge impact on pupils’ willingness to try PE. Competitive sport is important but there should be other physical activities offered to less-sporty children, eg fitness classes, dance-style classes, yoga, Pilates, golf, table tennis, walking groups etc.”

Of the 460 primary and 380 secondary teachers questioned, most (81%) would support increasing PE lessons from two to four hours a week, but conditional upon:

i) not having to teach it (55%)
ii) an improvement in the quality of PE lessons, with additional resource for teacher training (23%)
iii) a more inclusive approach to PE, with a move away from competitive sports to engage more children (42%)

Lord Gus O’Donnell, Chair of Pro Bono Economics, the volunteering charity for professional economists, said:

“As a nation we are failing our children.  Not only do they do badly academically when compared to other developed countries, they are also at the bottom when it comes their fitness, physical and mental health, and happiness.4,5     

We need to wake up to the fact that rising levels of inactivity among schoolchildren represent a ticking timebomb for both their physical and mental health: unless something is done now, we will continue fostering a troubled generation. 

“Of course, we need stronger evidence on what we are getting right, but there is no shortage of evidence on what we are getting wrong.  We need to stop endless academic testing of children that only measures one classroom’s performance against another.  Wellbeing should be defined as a measurable target and schools should be made accountable for achieving it. The focus should be upon producing children who are healthier, happier and better able to make a positive economic and social contribution.”

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Gold medal Paralympian, parliamentarian and Chair of ukactive:

“Currently inactivity costs the nation £20 billion a year, and every year that we put off fixing this problem it gets bigger and bigger.   As a priority we need to improve the provision of physical activity in schools, but we also need to give all children, especially those from low-income families, the opportunity to access and enjoy physical activity outside of the school curriculum.  What we urgently need is a joined-up government-led strategy that provides creative solutions to engage children in becoming more physically active.  We’ve already hit the bottom of the league tables on health and wellbeing – surely it’s worth raising the bar.”      

Research by Pro Bono Economics shows that increased physical activity not only benefits children’s health, but improves school attendance and academic attainment.6

A Pro Bono Economics study, in conjunction with Loughborough University, on behalf of Greenhouse Sports, a London-based charity that uses sport to help young people living in disadvantaged areas of the city to realise their full potential, showed that pupils’ academic success and life chances can be improved through intensive sports coaching and mentoring.

Greenhouse Sports partners with state secondary schools with the aim of enhancing the quality of sports provision, creating opportunities for pupils to participate and excel in a range of activities that are both fun and challenging. Through this model young people develop not just physically, but also socially, emotionally and behaviourally. This is where sports in schools can play a highly valuable role in supporting the wider wellbeing of pupils at every level.

The Pro Bono Economics report, based on a study part-funded by NHS England and conducted by Loughborough University, examined data from over 700 participating pupils at four inner-city London schools. The children involved often had histories of poor attendance and academic attainment; some were on the cusp of being excluded. The findings of the report show that on average:

  • 36% of Greenhouse Sports pupils exercised for more than 60 minutes a day, a figure twice the London average of 16%.
  • Engagement with Greenhouse Sports also accounted for an average annual attendance increase of eight more days of school.
  • Greenhouse Sports participants outperformed their peers by up to a third of a grade in English and 40% of a grade in Maths. 

Greenhouse Sports’ Chief Executive, John Herriman said:

At Greenhouse Sports we believe in – and have evidence to prove – the real benefits of physical activity for young people. We know that high-quality, structured sports coaching and mentoring offers huge benefits. This survey highlights that children are not getting enough structured physical exercise and that more opportunities need to be created for young people to experience the full benefits of sports and physical activity, not just for their physical development, but for their social, emotional and behavioural development too. The evidence tells us that sports education, when delivered well, can support young people’s wider wellbeing, so it can only be a positive move to make more time for sports in schools through extra-curricular activity and increased provision of PE lessons.  If we really care about our kids, then we have to fix this problem now, before it’s too late.”  

– Ends – 

For further information, please contact:

SENSO Communications

Penny Lukats, 07775992350, penny@sensocommunications.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Pro Bono Economics:

Pro Bono Economics helps charities and social enterprises understand and improve the impact and value of their work, matching professional economists who want to use their skills to volunteer with charities. Set up in 2009, Pro Bono Economics has helped over 400 charities large and small, covering a wide range of issues including mental health, education, employment and complex needs.

Pro Bono Economics is supported by high-profile economists, including Andy Haldane (Bank of England), Sir Dave Ramsden (Bank of England), and Clare Lombardelli (HM Treasury) as Trustees, and Diane Coyle (University of Cambridge), Kate Barker, Lord Jim O’Neill, Robert Peston, Martin Wolf and Lord Adair Turner as patrons. Lord Gus O’Donnell has been Chair of the Board of Trustees since September 2016.

probonoeconomics.com

References

  1. Health Behaviour in school-aged children: Growing up unequal 2013-2014 Study
  2. NHS Digital
  3. YouGov, TeacherTrack survey, 840 teachers in the UK. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22/02/2019 – 07/03/2019.
  4. https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/research/international-comparisons-of-health-and-wellbeing-in-adolescence-and-early-adulthood
  5. http://www.oecd.org/pisa/PISA2015-students-well-being-United-Kingdom.pdf
  6. Pro Bono Economics scoping study of Greenhouse Sports, December 2017, https://www.probonoeconomics.com/news/new-report-greenhouse-sports

 

 

99% of GP’s fear that young patients will come to harm while on the waiting list for mental health services

  • 90% of GPs say that mental health services for children & young people are inadequate
  • 99% fear that these young people may come to harm while waiting to access treatment
  • 88% of GPs say it’s impossible or very difficult to access treatment for anxiety
  • To help young people manage anxiety, stem4 launches Clear Fear, a mobile phone app based on evidence-based treatment approach
  • GPs say:
  • Suicide amongst young patients appears to be on the increase. We need to have better resources to support them and their parents.”
  • “There is a complete disintegration of service provision. Patients often come to see their GP as no other services are available. I feel I should refer to CAMHS, but often do this being aware that the response they will get will be minimal, inadequate, or even rejected.” 
  • “As a GP I have personal experience of the harm coming to 11-18 year-olds due to grossly inadequate mental health services. It is a disgrace and politicians are to blame. They come out with fine words but never follow with action or funding to provide care for these vulnerable patients.
  • “CAMHS have not expanded their remit to see kids with mental health problems, although they still have the nerve to say “providing care 0-19”. Won’t see pre-school children or those over 16.”  

90% of GP’s believe that mental health services for young people aged 11-18 are inadequate and that they have deteriorated over the last two years, new research has found1.  This is up from a figure of 77% in 2016.2

Many GP’s (78%) now say they are worried that not enough of their young patients can access treatment for mental health.

Increasing numbers of young people are experiencing mental health difficulties; there are long waiting times for treatment; referral pathways are limited, and the consequence of strict eligibility criteria is that most children and young people are turned away by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Virtually all doctors (99%) fear that that these young people may come to harm while waiting for specialist mental health treatment.

The survey of 1,000 GP’s for stem4, the charity which works to prevent mental ill health in teenagers, found that 9 out of 10 GP’s (90%) are seeing more young patients with mental health problems than two years ago, while two-thirds (64%) say they find it hard to give these young patients the time they need.  Over the last two years:

  • 9 out of 10 (86%) had seen a rise in the number of patients aged 11-18 suffering with anxiety
  • 8 in 10 (81%) had seen an increase in young patients with depression
  • 7 in 10 (68%) were seeing more young patients self-harming.
  • Doctors had also witnessed an increase over the last two years in such mental health conditions as conduct disorders (54%), addiction (38%), and eating disorders (38%)

90% of GPs describe mental health services for children and young people as either extremely inadequate (37%) or very inadequate (53%).   82% said that services for the treatment of anxiety were the most inadequate; this was followed by depression (80%), self-harm (79%), conduct disorders (75%); eating disorders (69%), and addiction (67%).

When it came to help for anxiety problems, 88% of doctors said it was either impossible or very difficult for their patients to access treatment.

Emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression are among the most prevalent psychiatric disorders experienced in childhood and adolescence. Anxiety disorder rates increase with age and are more common in girls than boys. According to recent figures from NHS Digital’s survey ‘Mental health of children and young people in England 2017’, 7.2% of children aged 5 to 19 have an anxiety disorder; amongst 17 to 19-year-olds the percentage rises to 13.1% (one in eight), i.e. 20.3% of girls and 6.3% of boys.3

Since referral pathways are limited, two-thirds of doctors (68%) say they have no choice but to refer patients suffering with an anxiety disorder to CAMHS, even though they know most will be rejected.  One third (32%) now only refer patients with the most severe anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or anxiety with another mental health condition.  Even though emotional disorders are more than twice as prevalent amongst children living in lowest-income households compared to children living in highest-income households (9,0% vs 4.1%), four in ten doctors (38%) tell parents to pay for their child’s treatment if they can afford to do so.

Other alternative actions taken by GP’s when dealing with young people’s mental health:

  • 31% recommend patients contact a local charity;
  • 31% provide patients with literature on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help self-manage their condition;
  • 30% refer patients to local NHS-commissioned talking therapy services. However, most doctors reported that these services had been closed down;
  • 29% recommend they use one of the digital apps that have been approved by the NHS;
  • 13% refer patients for counselling through their GP practice;
  • 10% refer back to schools.

 

Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, founder of stem 4, and creator of ‘Clear Fear’, a new smartphone app designed to help young people manage their anxiety, said:

“Back in 2016, when stem4 last surveyed GP’s, we found that young people’s mental health services were at crisis point. Today’s figures indicate that the crisis continues unabated, and even though this Government has promised more funding, nothing much has changed, except that we now know that more children and young people have a mental health condition: one in nine between the ages of 5 and 16 today, compared to the one in ten revealed by previous research. New figures from NHS Digital (2018) now show especially worrying levels of emotional disorders (anxiety and depression) amongst young women aged 16 to 19. These now affect 22.4% of this group.”

“Head teachers are planning whole-school approaches to tackle the mental health crisis in our schools, and the government will pilot school-based mental health teams in 20% of schools across England over the next five years, but mental health resource remains elusive and progress slow.   And where we once had access to highly trained therapists in the community, able to deliver evidence-based treatments such as CBT, in many local areas these services have been cut, denying access to expert treatment.  These mental health services are particularly needed for those children and young people who present with more than one diagnosis, such as, for example, mixed anxiety and depression, or an anxiety disorder that underlies a disorder associated with substance misuse.  The results of this survey suggest that GPs faced with limited referral pathways are being forced to refer to CAMHS, knowing that their patients are unlikely to meet the treatment criteria. Alternatively, they look to other community sources, or manage within their practice using self-help.  If all else fails, they simply refer young patients back to their school to ask for help.”

stem4’s own operational evidence supports these new findings.  Over the last 18 months, 120,000 young people in the UK have sought to overcome their urge to self-harm by accessing stem4’s mobile phone app, Calm Harm. 77% of them have been unable to, or have not sought treatment. A significant number of users are female and between the age range of 16-19.”

Dr Nihara Krause and stem4 say more needs to be done on a number of different levels to support children and young people with mental ill health:

  • As a consequence of long delays in access to specialist resource, children and young people conditions worsen and are presenting with complex mental health needs. More specialist CAMHS services with high intensity specialists are urgently needed;
  • Children and young people who have been on a waiting list for help require some sort of intermediate support which can help monitor and motivate change before they access treatment.
  • Children and young people who are in the early stages of an anxiety disorder require increased access to specialist early intervention services. GPs and teachers are at the forefront of addressing this crisis and they need much more support. Dr Nihara Krause hopes that the Clear Fear app will provide children and young people with tools that can help them manage their anxiety at an early stage
  • In addition, much can be done to prevent the development of an anxiety disorder through provision of easy-to-access support in dealing with a range of anxiety symptoms. This will help alleviate distress at an earlier stage and prevent the escalation of these symptoms into a disorder

stem4 launches Clear Fear, a mobile phone app based on an evidence-based treatment approach

In the absence of effective, early face-to-face treatments for anxiety disorders and to provide help for those children and young people on waiting lists, Dr Nihara Krause’s charity stem4, has created Clear Fear, a phone app conceived for the 10.5% of young people aged 11 to 19 who need to learn to manage their anxiety.    Clear Fear is targeted at the digitally-minded young people of today, and unlike the 1000s of other health apps currently available for download, Clear Fear is based on a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) framework with design input from young people.   CBT has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety disorders (Boettcher et al, 2013), and internet-based CBT is no less effective than face-to-face treatments in reducing anxiety and its associated symptoms (Olthius et al, 2015).   CBT is recommended by NICE as the first-line treatment for anxiety disorders.

About Clear Fear

Clear Fear provides young people with a range of ways to manage anxiety. Designed by  a clinician with ideas from young people, Clear Fear uses a cognitive behavioural framework to help users change anxious thoughts and emotions, alter anxious behaviours and calm fear responses. It also has helpful descriptions of the different ways in which anxiety becomes manifest, resources and a ‘grit box’ to boost resilience. It is recommended for young people aged 11-19 years but can be used by a younger group with the support of a parent or carer.

Clear Fear complements but does not substitute for the assessment and on-going support of a mental health professional.

Anxiety is an emotion we all feel. In many instances, it is a helpful alerting signal. Clear Fear helps users learn to separate helpful anxiety from anxiety that might be getting them down.   Users should not expect to be completely free of anxiety, because we all need a bit of anxiety!  Instead, users should aim to improve how they manage their anxiety.

Clear Fear helps in a number of different ways. It can:

  • Help you deal with your emotions through helping you to express yourself, to stay calm with the aid of breathing and mindfulness exercises, or to laugh and smile!
  • Help you to manage your worries. This can be achieved with ‘worry warriors’, which serve to change your thoughts, by putting worries away in a ‘worry box’, so that you can focus on other more productive thoughts, or by learning to solve worries one step at a time.
  • Help you to learn how to react to worries. When we are worried, we often either avoid doing things or we overdo things. The Clear Fear app helps you to make goals for change and even rewards you for success.
  • Help you manage the physical responses to anxiety. This section helps you to set exercise goals, reminds you to eat a balanced diet, helps you make time to relax, and provides some helpful tips on sleeping well, also encouraging you to set some sleep goals.

 

In addition, Clear Fear:

  • Helps you boost your resilience with some helpful tips from the ‘grit box’.
  • Gives helpful information on the different ways in which anxiety can show
  • Shows you how to create a personal ‘safety net’ – things you can think and things you can do, such as keep safe with a handy list of people you can call and emergency numbers.
  • Has an emergency section, explaining how to deal with a panic attack, and an information section with a range of resources and self-monitoring techniques to help you keep track of triggers and change.

Clear Fear has in part been funded by a Tech for Good grant from Comic Relief and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and by generous donations from individuals and an anonymous trust.

In 2016, Dr Krause, created Calm Harm a mobile phone app to help young people stem the urge to self-harm.   Calm Harm received NHS approval in June 2017, and since then has recorded over 900,000 downloads. After using the app, 93% of users reported that the urge to self-harm had declined.     Calm Harm has won several awards and has been featured in the London Design Museum.  The highest number of users of the app are female with 41% between the ages of 15-19. Given this is the age when emotional disorders such as anxiety rise in girls, it is hoped that Clear Fear will provide much- needed help and support. This is further confirmed by user feedback on Calm Harm where many have written in to say they are using Calm Harm to help them manage anxiety. If this is the case, then Clear Fear will help target their symptoms even more specifically. For more information, please visit www.stem4.org.uk.

Clear Fear and Calm Harm are available for free on Apple and Google Play.  Following an independent evaluation of Calm Harm as part of the National Information Board app endorsement process, the app has been available for download on NHS Choices since July 2017.  Follow Calm Harm and Clear Fear on Twitter and Instagram @calmharmapp, @clearfearapp and Facebook.com/calmharm or Facebook.com/clearfear

  • Ends –

Notes to editors

Contact

For queries or interview / case study requests/regional breakdown across the UK, contact:

Senso Communications

Penny Lukats – 07775 992350 penny@sensocommunications.com

References 

  1. Survey of 1,000 regionally representative GP’s across the UK carried out by MedeConnect Healthcare Insight between 14th and 28th November 2016. Last accessed 18.12 18
  2. Survey of 300 GP’s across the UK, A Time Bomb Waiting to Explode, May 2016 https://stem4.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/A-Time-Bomb-Waiting-to-Explode.pdf. Last accessed 18.12.18
  3. NHS Digital’s survey ‘Mental health of children and young people in England 2017’, MHCYP 2017: Emotional disorders – Tables. Last accessed 18 12 18

A sample of the 622 comments received from the doctors surveyed:

  • “There is just a complete disintegration of service provision, and patients often come to see their GP as no other services available. I feel I should refer to CAMHS but often do this being aware that the response they will get will be minimal, inadequate – or even rejected.”
  • “Under-resourced – CAMHS are overwhelmed”
  • “There are no other services locally except CAMHSs, which is very poor and no IAPT services like in adults, which is needed for children with competition for services.”
  • “Almost impossible to get people seen locally by CAMHS unless in the very severe end of the spectrum of illness.”
  • “Extremely frustrating, there is a lack of options for most mental health issues affecting young people. Suffering for the patient and family is increased and in some cases deterioration to more severe problems is inevitable.”
  • Referrals get bounced all over the place and then rejected. This all takes months, and in the meantime, the patients’ condition worsens.  The provision is very limited.”
  • “CAMHS are not interested unless the patient is suicidal. It seems there is a massive gap in support for this age group. They also discharge patients as soon as they are 18. It’s really sad as GPs are sometimes under qualified to deal with often very complex issues in this age group and feel helpless when a CAMHS referral is turned down. It is an age group we struggle to prescribe in without experience. Often these patients will be under safeguarding or have social issues too. It would be good if there was a one stop shop for them.”
  • “I don’t think the services had planned for this explosion in anxiety disorders and are not equipped to handle the workload and the flashback is to us making us GP’s more frustrated and the NHS look inadequate. I am embarrassed when I have to ask them to go privately but if they love their children, that’s the fastest way to get 1. a diagnosis and 2. treatment. We need telephone/skype triage by a qualified consultant conversant in the different manifestations of the condition in children (a lot of people assume it presents in same way as adults but doesn’t) that can be done within 2 weeks max to identify the patient’s needs and signpost them. sounds like a waste of resources? not really as if you get it right in the beginning then the pressure is spread through ALL the services.  The Government needs to VERY QUICKLY commission charities like MIND and SAMARITANS to be able to take on 11-18-year olds.  They are being discriminated in service provision in the 21st century and no one thinks that is wrong and should be corrected IMMEDIATELY.  A parent told me that she feels more secure getting treatment as an adult in the NHS than her child and its true.  They are being streamlined”
  • “Social media has huge negative impact so feel big companies should do more to help.”
  • “CAMHS do their best to dodge any referral that isn’t “PROPER MENTAL ILLNESS”. They have not expanded their remit to see kids with mental health problems although they still have the nerve to say “providing care 0-19”. Won’t see pre-school children or those over 16.
  • “School send parents to GP and CAMHS decline the referral advising GP to refer to school.”
  • “Services in my area (North) such as waiting time and resources are appalling.”
  • “Need shorter waiting times for access to talking therapies.”
  • “The delay is awful only the very severely affected are seen and then too little too late. Patients are usually left to suffer, self-harm, or just get worse because they go to local ED and get lots of tests and maybe admitted and just wound up by a health system that cant view the person as a whole, they self harm and there’s no time to deal with it in ED, and they get patched up and sent home, may get a referral, but CAMHs will find a reason why they are not bad enough to be seen, and the cycle continues.  It’s an unfolding heart- breaking tragedy.”
  • “Those aged 15-17 seem to have the least options available – too old for paediatric, too young for adult services.”
  • “Locally we have a single point of access to CAMHS. Vast majority of young people signposted to voluntary sector.”
  • “I feel very uncomfortable as I have limited resources to deal with this cohort of patients who are very vulnerable.”
  • “Under resourced and over stretched. Especially difficult accessing for 17yr olds -feeling they are waiting so can pass onto adult services.”
  • “There is no provision of counselling or CBT for children in the same way there is for adults, the only option is to refer to CAMHS – when the referral is either rejected or the patient would wait 6 months or more to be seen.”
  • “Support for children with mental health is becoming appalling due to lack of funding and people available to help. Referrals are constantly being rejected with little or no other places to refer children to. Patients, parents and GPs are stuck between a rock and a hard place!”
  • “Suicide amongst young patient’s appears to be on the increase. We need to have better resources to support them and parent’s/guardians.”
  • “I am very concerned about the mental health of todays younger children and adolescents. The provisions for their services are very poor and difficult to refer / obtain advice, with very lengthy waiting times (> 18 months in some cases).  This is not acceptable.”
  • “As a GP I have personal experience of the harm coming to 11-18-year olds due to grossly inadequate MH services. It is a disgrace and politicians are to blame. They come out with fine words but never follow with action or funding to provide care for these vulnerable patients.”
  • “Needs more funding we can’t drive all this awareness about mental health then when people consult tell them there is nothing unless they are about to harm themselves significantly or someone else!”
  • “I feel somewhat cynical about the current Government’s attempts to tackle mental health problems in young people. In my professional experience, I have found their promises on funding services properly to be empty or simply inadequate.”

About stem4

stem4 is a Wimbledon-based, award-winning charity that supports teenage mental health through mental health promotion. It provides evidence-based mental health education, builds resilience, enhances motivation to change and signposts the way to early intervention. stem4 focuses on commonly occurring mental health issues in teenagers, including eating disorders, anxiety, depression, self-harm and addiction. The charity works with students, parents and teachers in secondary schools, and with health professionals such as GPs and school nurses through its conference programme and through digitally-delivered workshops suitable for PHSE in schools. stem4 is also included in the Royal College of GP toolkit.

“Give us goal posts, not gold medals”

Britons would forego Team GB Olympic gold
in favour of better access to sport for all

sport-659573_1280

  • Only 7% of Britons have been inspired by the Olympics to take up a sport, according to a new survey this week. Most say it’s too expensive, facilities are poor or non-existent, or they don’t have the time or confidence.
  • Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson says: “Unless we look more creatively about how we engage everyone in physical activity, we may win medals but we will be bottom of the league table on health and wellbeing.”
  • Author and journalist Simon Kuper, says: “Instead of obsessing about who is the next England football manager, let’s spend that energy creating places for people to play sport near their homes.”

UK Sport recently announced record funding of up to £345m to take us on “the journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and beyond”, but a new survey has found that most Britons would forego medal wins at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in favour of better access to sports facilities in the UK, enabling many to participate in sport – not just the elite few.

Rather than prioritising Olympic gold, the public would like to see government sports funding channelled into: more community sports centres and making entrance fees more affordable (18%); the reinstatement of school and public playing fields (14%) lost in the mass sell-off since the 80s; support for local grassroots sports and fitness initiatives (14%), and improved physical exercise in schools (13%).

By contrast, only 4% of the population backed UK Sport’s funding strategy for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which puts the emphasis on “more medals and medallists to inspire the nation”. This aspiration is judged less valuable than initiatives – such as ‘This Girl Can’ – which target people who don’t do enough exercise (9%) and sporting activities which engage the disadvantaged (5%).  A further 12% of people said priority for sports funding in the UK should not lie in any specific area, while 10% had no view on the subject.

All these findings emerge from a survey commissioned by charity Pro Bono Economics, which on 27th February at the Royal Institution hosts its annual lecture, given by author and journalist Simon Kuper. He will ask: “Has Britain got sport upside down?”

Olympic feats might inspire, but lack of sports facilities and high costs continue to impede nationwide take-up of Olympic sports

After the British athletes’ performance at Rio in 2016, achieving a record haul of 130 medals in the main games, the UK is now considered an Olympic superpower; yet only 7% of the 2,000 respondents to the YouGov survey had been inspired by the Olympics to take up a particular sport.  The five sports most favoured by those who did were cycling (27%), swimming (27%), athletics (19%), tennis (10%), and football (9%).

It is not, however, a lack of interest in sport that stops others from participating, but expense (17%), a lack of local facilities (12%), or local facilities that are of poor quality (6%).    Almost one in five (18%) respondents blamed their busy lifestyle, and just over one in ten (12%) said they lacked the confidence to participate in sport.  Nearly one third of people said they had no interest in the Olympics.

By contrast, in a separate survey of leading experts from sport, economics, health and the media, no respondents blamed the poor take-up of sports on any failure of Olympic athletes to inspire the nation.  They said it resulted from: our busy lifestyles young people prioritising academic achievement over exercise (27%); a lack of affordable local sports facilities (19%); poor diet and lifestyle (19%) and a deep-rooted culture of disinterest in sport and exercise UK (18%).

Simon Kuper, co-author of Soccernomics and Financial Times columnist, who is giving the Pro Bono Economics lecture, commented:

“These findings support my theory that Britain really has got sport upside down. Why spend billions on an Olympics when few kids in the country have the facilities to play judo, fencing or equestrianism anywhere near their homes? In many neighbourhoods it’s hard even to find a decent football field. The sell-off of school playing fields in the Thatcher/Major years did terrible damage to British sport.”

“Instead of obsessing about who is the next England football manager, let’s spend that energy creating places for people to play sport near their homes. It would be a strategy to increase national health, happiness and sense of community, to fight crime – and maybe even to improve the England football team.”

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Gold medal Paralympian, parliamentarian and television presenter, will join Simon Kuper in a panel discussion after his lecture. She added:

“In the UK we like to think we are a nation that loves sport, but perhaps we are more of a nation who loves watching sport.  We know there is a disconnect between elite sport and participation.  Currently inactivity costs the nation £20 billion a year so this is not something we can keep putting off. Unless we look more creatively about how we engage everyone in physical activity, we may win medals but we will be bottom of the league table on health and wellbeing.”

Professor Diane Coyle, author and Professor of Economics, University of Manchester, who will chair the lecture and the subsequent discussion, commented:

“The 2012 Olympics in London were inspirational but there is no point in inspiring people if they can’t follow up on it. What the survey suggests is an unmet public appetite for better access to affordable facilities, serving a wider range of sports than just football. The benefits of greater participation in health and well-being could be significant.”

The findings quoted come from a YouGov survey of 2,000 people, carried out in preparation for Pro Bono Economics’ annual lecture. The event will bring together renowned experts from sports, health, economics, and the media at The Royal Institution of Great Britain at 7pm on Monday 27th February.  Together, they will explore challenging questions on the relationship between sport, public health and the economy in Britain today.

Professor Diane Coyle will then host a panel discussion and invite contributions from audience. Simon Kuper will be joined on the panel by:

· Baroness Tanni GreyThompson, Paralympian, parliamentarian and TV presenter

· Mark Gregory, EY’s Chief Economist for the UK & Ireland; his work has quantified the economic and social impact of sport institutions, including the Rugby World Cup 2015 and English Premier League.

· Will Watt, founder of Jump; providing expertise in policy evaluation, impact analysis and behaviour change in sport and volunteering.

Pro Bono Economics, established in 2009 by Martin Brookes (Tomorrow’s People) and Andy Haldane (Bank of England), is a charity that matches professional economists, working as volunteers or on a voluntary basis, with charities and social enterprises that want to understand and improve their impact and value. This event is generously supported by Nomura (www.nomura.com) and Weil (www.weil.com). There are a limited number of free tickets still available. To register online: www.probonoeconomics.com/news/has-britain-got-sport-upside-down.

Has Britain got sport upside down? Pro Bono Economics annual lecture

Royal Institution, Monday 27th February 2017, registration at 7pm,

Professor Diane Coyle hosts an evening with Simon Kuper, Financial Times columnist and author, at the Royal Institution; Mayfair

crowdandscreen
Panellists include
Baroness Tanni GreyThompson, Paralympian, Crossbench Peer and Mark Gregory, EY’s Chief Economist for the UK & Ireland

Every gold medal won at the Rio Olympics cost the UK an estimated £5.5 million. However, the average UK citizen in 2017 will do less than 30 minutes of exercise each week.

Every fortnight, the government sells off a school playing field to a corporate household name. Meanwhile, childhood obesity and mental illness in teenagers continue to rise with a growing burden on the public purse.

There are a limited number of free tickets for this event. Suggested donation to Pro Bono Economics is minimum £10.

Register via Eventbrite

Simon Kuper, author of “Soccernomics” and Financial Times columnist, will look at why investment in British sport has become so polarised. Drawing on Simon’s extensive knowledge of the UK sports industry, the evening is set to ask some challenging questions on the link between sport, public health and the economy in 2017.

  • Can we justify spending an estimated £5.5 million on each gold medal won at the Rio Olympics when few kids in the UK have facilities for activities such as judo, fencing or equestrianism anywhere near their homes?
  • The sell-off of school playing fields in the Thatcher/Major years did terrible damage to British sport. Instead of obsessing over who will be the next England football manager, let’s spend that energy creating places for people to play sport near their homes. Such a strategy would increase national health, happiness and sense of community, fight crime – and maybe even improve the England football team.

Examining Simon Kuper’s themes further, Professor Diane Coyle (University of Manchester) will host a panel discussion and invite contributions from the audience.

Simon Kuper will be joined on the panel by:

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Gold medal Paralympian, parliamentarian and television presenter.

Mark Gregory, EY’s Chief Economist for the UK & Ireland; his work has quantified the economic and social impact of sport institutions, including the Rugby World Cup 2015 and English Premier League.

Will Watt, founder of Jump: expertise in policy evaluation, impact analysis and behaviour change in sport and volunteering.

The event will be followed by a drinks and canapés reception.

Pro Bono Economics is a registered charity, which relies on philanthropic donations (charity no.1130567). Learn more at: www.probonoeconomics.com/donate-now

BBC Radio 1 in just seven months – can millennials break through by breaking current social rules of the music business

From bedroom to BBC Radio 1 in just seven months

Bud’s debut single ‘City Bird’ hits BBC Radio 1 on Friday 22nd July

bud

·         City Bird, by Bud, available to stream now exclusively at https://soundcloud.com/ budofficial

·         Available on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer etc. from Friday 22nd July

·         Help make Bud’s City Bird fly by tweeting @BBCR1 with the hashtag #citybird 

·         Watch Bud on  https://goo.gl/VWz99H

Up-and-coming Nottingham singer-songwriter Bud, as yet unsigned to a record label, will see her debut single ‘City Bird’ join the BBC Radio 1 playlist from Friday 22nd July.  She follows the likes of Jake Bugg, Izzy Bizu, Tom Odell and Jack Garratt, who all received their first Radio 1 plays by uploading their music to BBC Introducing.  Every week, Radio 1 features an up-and-coming artist from the BBC Introducing world.

Bud’s first single ‘City Bird’ was taken from her 5-track debut EP of the same name and will be available to download from Friday 22nd July. Its journey started back in November 2015 when Bud, together with local producer Origin One and her younger brother, recorded and produced the cheeky pop-reggae track in her brother’s bedroom. Following a successful £2,000 crowd-funding round on Kickstarter she was able to make her very first music video and threw her first EP launch party. (See story and review here: http://goo.gl/UyHfHG) She uploaded the track to BBC Introducing, where – to her surprise – City Bird was given airtime by BBC East Midlands DJ, Dean Jackson.  Dean then sent it on to the BBC Radio 1 London team and supported her track.

It has taken Bud and ‘City Bird’ just seven months to go from bedroom to BBC Radio 1, but the 22-year-old’s journey as a singer-songwriter has not been exactly straightforward, and a record deal has so far eluded her.  In an industry where, even to merit consideration by labels, an artist’s social media following is of paramount importance, she realistically needs a baseline of 10,000 + followers on Facebook.

If you like Bud’s track,  tweet #CityBird @BBCR1 and follow her on Twitter and Facebook @budofficial.

Bud’s Journey
Bud started writing in her bedroom when she was 14 and began performing live three years ago.   She said:

“My mum wanted me to become a lawyer or doctor, but I knew that only music could make me happy, so I got a place at Leeds College of Music. They gave me a grilling and I was told that my voice had too many ‘issues.’ I found the criticism hard to digest … It made me doubt my ability and I lost confidence as a musician. So I quit before my first year finished and signed up to study Nutritional Sciences at the University of Nottingham. I was bitterly disappointed with myself for giving up so easily, and I’ve now promised myself that I will never quit music again! Once I returned to my bedroom, I started to write music again as it was the only thing which could heal my bruises. I found the courage I lost and I stopped comparing myself to other musicians and trying to conform to other people’s ideas of what music should sound like, or just following what’s ‘in.’  I think that’s when I really found my sound.”

Bud, who says she’s been inspired by strong independent artists such as Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, Bob Marley, Paolo Nutini and Corrine Bailey Rae, added:

“I’m so chuffed to have made it to the BBC Radio 1 playlist and have my single played alongside established pop acts.  I hope the BBC Radio 1 audience will connect with my pop-reggae fusion sound and with my lyrics, which I try to make intelligent enough to tackle difficult topics. But more than that, I just want to use this incredible opportunity to deliver my message of love and positivity to those who have ever doubted themselves.  The internet might have changed the way we consume music, but for an upcoming artists like me, radio, and particularly the BBC, is still so important. ”

–   Ends –

For further information, interviews, live performances, and images, please contact Senso Communications:

Ella Sage, 07775992350, ella@sensocommunications.com

 

Help make Bud’s City Bird fly

CITY BIRD, her debut five-track EP can be streamed for free until the 22nd July on SoundCloud. After which it will become available for download via online retailers.

To show your support:

·         Tweet @BBCRadio1 and #CityBird or text in to the show.

·         Follow her on Twitter: @budofficial https://Twitter.com/ budofficial #CityBird #MakeCityBirdFly

·         Like Bud’s Facebook page: https://facebook.com/ budofficial

·         Follow her on Instagram: @budofficial https://Instagram.com/ budofficial

·         YouTube: https://goo.gl/VWz99H  – Share her official video and subscribe to her channel

·         Shazzam the single on your smartphone

·         Stream online

·         Download from iTunes

Next Gig

Thursday 28th July, Prince of Wales, 467 Brixton Road, London

City Bird – Bud ft. Origin One will be first aired on Radio 1 from Friday 22nd July and featured on the online playlist a week prior.  The track will then be played on the following BBC Radio 1 shows:
Saturday 23rd July         Alice Levine 1300-1600
Sunday 24th July           Dev 0600-1000
Monday 25th July          Clara Amfo 1000-1300
Tuesday 26th July         Greg James 1600-1900
Wednesday 27th July     Adele Roberts 0400-0630
Thursday 28th July        Scott Mills 1300-1600