‘High-stakes achievement culture’ in schools could explain rise in teenage mental illness, says headteachers’ leader


The “high-stakes achievement culture” in schools could be one of the reasons for the increase in teenage mental illness, according to a headteachers’ leader.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said there were many causes for the worrying increase in teenage mental illness reported by many schools and that “the high-stakes achievement culture” might be one.

His comments came after it was reported that the principal of Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Eve Jardine-Young, spoke of discontinuing “prep” in her fight to tackle teenage mental illness.

“We will have to look at how we are doing things. Will we even be doing prep?” Jardine-Young said in The Times.

Mr Lightman said it was right to keep the role of homework under review and that pupil’s tasks should be appropriate for today’s curriculum. He added that schools should be mindful and avoid putting pupils under unreasonable pressure.

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