Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Brits are fatties – no getting away from it

  • Almost two out of three British adults are overweight.
  • We are the fattest country in western Europe.
  • Our obesity rates have doubled in the past 20 years.
  • We are the 6th heaviest developed country behind Mexico, the US, New Zealand, Finland, and Australia (some surprises there for me)

We also have high rates of teenage drunkedness (even though teenagers now drink less that previous generations), high cancer rates (and above average cancer deaths) and a shortage of doctors and nurses (18% lower than average for doctors and 12% lower for nurses), according to the OECD.

Our health overall is average for all the OECD countries but our obesity levels stand out. At least our child obesity rates have become stable at 24% unlike the rest of Europe where it is increasing. But that still means 1 in 4 children are very fat!

The worry is that it’s now becoming normal in Britain to be overweight. With Public Health officials being sensitive to medical staff actually telling parents their kids are fat.

The Obesity Health Alliance of doctors and charities said the results were shocking and the solution lies in stopping children becoming obese.

The National Obesity Forum chairman said “One could weep over the figures, the results of successive governments who have done nothing for 30 years”

Public Health England said “our plans to tackle obesity are among the most ambitious. We’re working to make food healthier and delivering campaigns encouraging people to choose healthier food and lead healthier lives. Change will not happen overnight

Perhaps if we called a spade and spade and named and shamed parents of obese kids we might get somewhere instead of pussyfooting around so as not to upset anybody. Letting your kids become obese is child abuse surely?

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More evidence UK kids are not very happy

ulearn2bu

119460-117532Eight-year-old children in the UK are less happy than those in Romania, Poland, Turkey and Algeria.

That’s according to a survey by the University of York which produced a report “Children’s Words

England came 13th out of 16 countries surveyed ahead of Nepal, South Korea and Ethiopia. Britain came in the bottom half of the ranking on many issues with body image and school life the main areas for concern. (For which you can probably blame social media, selfies and self-obsession)

The three most positive aspects were family, health, and safety but we didn’t rate higher than eighth on any of the issues which included friendship, personal well-being, and possessions.

The co-author of the survey report, Professor Jonathan Bradshaw, thought it was due to “the balance between the high levels of attainment and the social environment in schools. …with our push to raise our children’s…

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English kids are not as clever as they’ve been told

ulearn2bu

Forget all the A* stuff. When it comes to global comparisons our kids are not doing very well at all.

They are the most illiterate in the developed world, according to a survey by the OECD.

It warned that many young people are graduating with only a basic grasp of English and Maths and are unlikely to be able to get a job in which they can afford to pay off their student loans.

English teenagers aged 16-19 were rated the worst of 23 developed nations in literacy and 22nd in numeracy. In contrast pensioners or those close to retirement age were among the highest ranked of their age group.

Most illiterate nations

  1. England
  2. Spain
  3. US
  4. Italy
  5. school_children_holding_learn_blocks_1600_wht_12276France
  6. Ireland
  7. Canada
  8. Austria
  9. Northern Ireland
  10. Germany
  11. Norway
  12. Sweden
  13. Denmark
  14. Slovak Republic
  15. Czech Republic
  16. Belgium
  17. Australia
  18. Poland
  19. Estonia
  20. Finland
  21. The Netherlands
  22. Japan
  23. Korea

The number of low-skilled people in England is three times…

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UK still only average when it comes to literacy

stick_figure_walking_up_books_1600_wht_3441Despite the expansion in university places and the increase in graduates and post-graduates we still are pretty poor when it comes to literacy. Only 25% of graduates in England and Northern Ireland performed well at higher levels of reading and writing.

So much for the high number of students getting A* at A-level and the increasing number of graduates getting 1sts. But we know that’s down to grade inflation and universities lowering grade boundaries so more students get top classifications and the university can attract more bums on seats.

The latest results come for the OECD’s annual comparison of school and university outcomes.

Britain has passed a milestone with more people going on to university-level education than not going beyond school qualifications for the first time. So that’s more students in debt as they seek elusive graduate-level jobs.

Other graduate-led economies have seen a rise in higher-level adult literacy but this didn’t happen in the UK. Despite 41% of adults having a tertiary level qualification in 2012 compared to only 26% in 2000. And the proportion was higher still among people aged 25-34.

The OECD doesn’t say why but it says class sizes in English schools are among the largest in the developed world with an average of 18.8 children with a ratio of 14,2 pupils per teacher. The OECD average is 17.8 children so I’m not clear why having slightly above average numbers puts us in the largest class size category.

So which countries did better and worse than us?

37% Japan & Finland

36% Netherlands

34% Sweden

32% Australia

28% Norway

26% Belgium

25% UK

24% USA & Czech Republic

23% Poland

22% Canada

21% Austria

20% Germany

19% France & Denmark

 


Declining British Educational Standards! (so tell us something new)

Who famously said Education, education, education?

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

Pisa tests: UK stagnates as Shanghai tops league table

Maths scores

The UK is falling behind global rivals in international tests taken by 15-year-olds, failing to make the top 20 in maths, reading and science.

England’s Education Secretary Michael Gove said since the 1990s, test performances had been “at best stagnant, at worst declining”.

Shanghai in China is the top education system in the OECD’s Pisa tests.

Within the UK, Scotland outperformed England at maths and reading, but Wales is below average in all subjects.

Mr Gove told MPs that his reforms, such as changing the curriculum, school autonomy and directing financial support towards poorer pupils, were designed to prevent schools in England from “falling further behind”.

He highlighted the rapid improvements that had been made in countries such as Poland, Germany and Vietnam.

Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt called on Mr Gove to take some responsibility for the lack of progress…

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Britain lags behind Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary in damning worldwide education league table

We should be ashamed seeing stats like this

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

  • UK ranked 30 out of 142 countries despite having some of the best schools
  • Lithuania is 28th for education while being in bottom third of economies
  • Hungary is eight places higher than UK in spite of an economy ranked 83rd.

Education in the UK lags behind much poorer countries including Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary, according to a major international report.

The knowledge and skills of British adults is ranked 30th out of 142  countries – despite our economy being the 28th best.

Schools in Lithuania were rated two places higher than here, even though it languishes in the bottom third of economies in 94th place. Hungarian schools come eight places higher than the UK. Its economy is ranked in 83rd position.

 
 
Worldwide: British adults' knowledge and skills are ranked 30th out of 142 countries, in a damning new league tableWorldwide: British adults’ knowledge and skills are ranked 30th out of 142 countries, in a damning new league table
education.jpg

New Zealand came top in education, followed by…

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Teachers’ Pay in England

woman_at_chalk_board_1600_wht_7852Teachers will be striking today in opposition to the introduction of, amongst other things, performance-related pay (PRP).

I’m not a particular fan of PRP as it’s hard to measure some aspects of work when it goes beyond just mechanical tasks.

But sometimes I think that the NUT and the NASUWT object to any changes on principle and a recent survey about teacher dissatisfaction  carried out by the NASUWT may not be totally unbiased.

So it’s interesting to see the pay research just published by the OECD which shows that teachers in England do quite well compared with the 34 OECD countries plus the BRICs.

Starting salaries of £19,668 are above the international average of £18,736. And they then increase more rapidly than other countries over the next decade to £28,746 compared to £23,053 elsewhere.

After that however they plateau and the other countries almost catch up after 15 years with an average of £24,763 in primary schools and £27,055 in secondary schools. The international average at the top is £29,611 and £32,544 for primary and secondary schools respectively.

So if schools want to compete internationally for the best teachers or pay their staff the best rates in the developed world then perhaps PRP is one way to do that (and at the same time weed out incompetent teachers)