Expert group objectives
Following a call for applications last year, the European Commission has created an expert group focused on developing evidence-based policies to support learning environments and well-being in school at the European and national levels. The experts come from relevant backgrounds in the European educational landscape, such as academics, researchers, teachers and teachers’ trainers, and school psychologists.
The expert group will also develop policy recommendations and guidelines for EU countries, policy makers at EU, national and regional levels, as well as local schools.
The initiative aligns with the Commission's goal of creating a European Education Area by 2025. It is closely tied to the Pathways to School Success initiative and the objectives and legacy of the 2022 European Year of Youth.
The expert group will also create connections with other initiatives of the European Education Area including:
- EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child
- European Child Guarantee
- EU Youth Strategy
- European Strategy for a Better Internet for Kids
- Digital Education Action Plan Strategy for the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities
Expert report on mental health and well-being in schools
The starting point of the Commission’s expert group is a report about students’ well-being titled “A systemic, whole-school approach to mental health and well-being in schools in the EU” and released by The Network of Experts working on the Social dimension of Education and Training (NESET). The report serves as a reaction to the urgent need for schools in Europe to place a high priority on students' mental health and wellbeing in safe and inclusive environments. It offers a framework for boosting well-being and mental health using a whole-school strategy, including implementation in the curriculum, classroom, and school ecology.
Recent findings on well-being at school
The latest PISA study from 2018 showed that:
- Pupils' sense of belonging in schools is declining and bullying is pervasive
- Around 20% of European school children experience mental health problems during their school years, with half of those issues (mainly anxiety and depression) developing before age 14
- Teachers are also concerned: in Europe, 24% of teachers report that their job has a negative impact on their mental health, and 22% of them report the same in relation to their physical health
- Varying personal and contextual factors, such as socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, and disabilities, can contribute to a higher risk of underachievement and decreased well-being in schools.
Research shows that incorporating mental health, well-being and bullying prevention programmes in schools is one of the most effective strategies to support the psychological well-being of children and young people.