More than 70 percent of Year 8 and 9 students have experienced bullying, South Australia’s largest ever survey on student wellbeing has found.
The Advertiser reported that the Education Department study, involving 43,000 children from Years 6-9 across 500 schools, most of them public, found more than a quarter of girls aren’t getting enough sleep and about the same number are skipping breakfast most days.
While most kids said they felt supported by teachers and friends, a quarter struggled for a sense of belonging and rated their ‘school climate’ — a measure of respect, care and help among pupils and teachers — as low.
Most alarming was the large majority of children who complained of bullying at least once in a school year, while 14 per cent said they were bullied at least weekly.
Verbal bullying was the most common, while cyber-bullying increases as children get older.
The findings showed that most students were strongly confident in their own academic abilities, though confidence waned in early high school.
Almost half of students reported low classroom engagement and one in three admitted to low levels of perseverance.
Sleeplessness and skipping breakfast became bigger problems as students got older, with girls struggling more than boys — a quarter of girls had no more than two good nights of sleep a week.
The report says results from previous years, matched with NAPLAN scores, showed academic self-belief, perseverance and eating breakfast were the key wellbeing indicators to educational achievement.
Education Department Executive Director for Early Years and Child Development, Ann-Marie Hayes, said the feedback was being used to develop teaching strategies that boost engagement and lift perseverance levels.
Ms Hayes said many schools in disadvantaged areas ran breakfast programs, while other schools were communicating with parents about the importance of breakfast to learning.