Schools want to prioritise student wellbeing but national standards 'has come first'

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1 NEWS

Teachers say schools are unable to make student wellbeing and tackling bullying a priority because they're too busy meeting national standards in reading, writing and maths.

A wellbeing survey also showed some teens spend up to six hours a day at the weekend online.
Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand has been rated the second worst among comparable countries for teenage bullying in an international survey of the wellbeing of over half a million 15-year-olds. 

The 2015 study found 26.1 per cent reported they experience bullying a few times a month.

That puts New Zealand second worst in the OECD for teen bullying. 

Teachers say a more holistic approach to education is the answer.

"I know many of our schools want to make wellbeing a priority in their areas and they haven't been able to because national standards has come first. So let's start looking at how we can make that different," said Lynda Stuart, NZEI president.

The survey also found teen online use peaks at the weekends, with 28.2 per cent of Kiwi kids spending six or more hours online.

That's above the OECD average, but behind other countries like the UK and Spain.

But Netsafe executive director Martin Cocker says it's not the time spent online that matters, it's what the teens up to.

"If they're using technology really constructively then being online is not a problem at all. If they're online just consuming content or harassing people or something like that then we can be concerned about what they're doing," he said.

Christchurch teen Blair Stevenson, who has been bullied, says he thinks his school just doesn't have the capacity to deal with cyber bullying "or things on the internet". 

The internet watchdog agrees that it's parents, not teachers, that should monitor and pull the plug on internet overuse. 

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