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Last Updated: Friday, 17 October, 2003, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
British pupils have less angst
Girls reading
Britain came out well in the study
British teenagers are less likely to feel lonely and alienated at school than those in other westernised countries.

Although not usually famed for their sunny natures, British teenagers came out on top of an international survey on angst.

A study for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says the UK's 15 year olds are the least likely to say they feel lonely or outcast at school.

Teenagers in Korea, Poland and Japan were the most likely to feel alienated.

The findings are from a massive study of questionnaires filled in by 15 year olds in 42 countries.

Children were asked questions about whether they felt lonely, awkward, or like an outsider at school.

And they had to say whether they agreed with phrases such as 'I make friends easily', 'I feel I belong' or 'other students seem to like me'.

Of the UK pupils surveyed, 17% gave answers which suggested they were isolated, compared to 41% in Korea and Poland.

Angst rating/Low sense of belonging
Korea 41%
Poland 41%
Japan 38%
USA 25%
Germany 23%
New Zealand 21%
Ireland 19%
Sweden 18%
UK 17%
That suggests one in six UK children feel isolated, which might be seen as bad, just not as bad as in other westernised countries.

Happier Swedes

Japan was also near the top of the angst scale, with 38% saying they had a low sense of belonging. In Belgium, the figure was 32%.

Happier teenagers include those in Ireland (19% said they did not feel they belonged), Hungary (19%) and Sweden (18%).

The OECD survey covers the 27 countries which are members of the organisation and 15 others which are not.

Britain came out the best among the 27 member countries and was second only to Brazil in the whole group.

The National Union of Teachers says the greater sense of belonging experienced by British students might be due to anti-bullying campaigns and the belief in the idea of schools as a centre of a community.

Are our students really this bright?
08 Dec 01  |  Mike Baker
How pupils are doing internationally
04 Dec 01  |  Education
Busy parents add to teenage angst
18 Apr 02  |  Education

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