University of Buckingham vice-chancellor Sir Anthony Seldon calls for ‘well-being’ league tables

Sir Anthony Seldon, University of Buckingham vice-chancellor
Sir Anthony Seldon, University of Buckingham vice-chancellor

Sir Anthony Seldon thinks the Government should adopt league table indicators for measuring well-being in our schools.

The University of Buckingham vice-chancellor, who brought in well-being lessons as master of Wellington College, believes parents would find well-being tables more useful than those that chart exam success.

“The evidence is totally clear that well-being interventions enhance well-being and allow students and young people to cope best with problems,” he said, speaking at the Tatler Schools Live conference.

“As long as the only metric on which schools are being assessed is their exam performance, our schools will never have the incentive to take well-being as seriously as they should. It is perfectly clear to me after me as a head of schools for 20 years that parents will pay more heed to the well-being tables to the exam league tables.”

He added: “Focus on well-being and character thus improves exam results. A focus on exam results alone diminishes well-being. It doesn’t even prepare students for work because employers want young people with character strengths and personal responsibility not ‘A-star junkies’ who can’t converse.”

Sir Anthony thinks at 18 ‘the damage has been done’ which means the ‘groundwork needs to be done in schools’.

He said league table indicators will act as an incentive for schools to continue to take well-being seriously.

Sir Anthony, who turned around Wellington College and Brighton College, is co-founder of Action for Happiness and has written a book on well-being.

What do you think? Would league table indicators improve the well-being of pupils?