Children in “happy at school” shock

Every year the National Agency for Education (Skolverket) assesses school pupils' attitude towards school. In the past, studies have focused on older pupils. This year more attention has been paid to pupils in years 4-6.

The key findings, released on Thursday by the agency, reveal that 60% of 10-12 year olds “can’t work in peace and quiet at school”.

On the whole, the agency’s findings were positive. Most children are happy with their teachers, think the classes are good and that they’re treated fairly and correctly. Of course, how much weight should be placed on a child’s evaluation of whether a teacher is good or not is open to question.

Elsewhere the study showed that less academic classes like Sport, Arts and Crafts are most popular, with 84% of pupils in the study happy with these subjects.

When it comes to what determines whether a subject is good or not from a child’s point of view, the report showed that pupils say that a lot of it depends on the teacher. A good teacher is one who can be described as “Nice” but not “too nice”. If they’re too nice, apparently, it gets too noisy and chaotic in the classroom.

Unsurprisingly, the National Agency for Education’s study also revealed that younger pupils are often more positive about school than older pupils, with the percentage of happy pupils declining from 77% to 71% from years 4 to 6.

Thursday’s early reports in the Swedish press focused on the bad news. Svenska Dagbladet talked to Per Thullberg, head of the National Agency for Education. Thulleberg told the paper, “Teachers must work harder to give pupils more autonomy in what they do as well as working more closely with parents.”

The report claimed that students are unhappier with school the less influence they have over what they do.

Dagens Nyheter, on the other hand, chose to focus on how more than 1 in 6 pupils feel stressed at school one or more times a week. This, the paper noted, has much to do with the “lack of time” pupils have, whether that means not having time to eat lunch properly or not being able to follow the pace of classes.

The paper noted as well that “the lack of peace and quiet in the classroom is also a cause of stress”.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, <a href="

publicerat/press/press2004/press041209.shtml”>National Agency for Education Press Release