School may ban homework to combat depression in pupils
Homework could be abolished by one of Britain's most prestigious independent schools to tackle an "epidemic" of teenage depression and anxiety.
Cheltenham Ladies' College is considering getting rid of the "Victorian" practice of prep, The Times reported.
Teachers are being trained to spot mental illness and from September pupils will attend weekly meditation classes and be given twice as long to walk between lessons.
Eve Jardine-Young, principal of the 162-year-old boarding and day school in Gloucestershire, said that over the next five years will review whether to stop giving pupils homework.
She warned that the average age at which depression was first diagnosed had almost halved from 29 in the 1960s to 15-and-a-half early this century.
"We will have to look at how we are doing things. Will we even be doing prep?" she said. "What we've been reflecting on a lot in the last few years are the big national trends and international trends in the worsening states of adolescent mental health.
"We've created this epidemic of anxiety for ourselves as a society, and if our obligation as educators is to try to the best of our ability to set young people up as best we can for whatever the future may hold, then to ignore this whole area or to trivialise it is really irresponsible."
Cheltenham Ladies' is looking into university-style "flip learning", where pupils read up on material before classes, as an alternative to homework in two or three subjects.
Ms Jardine-Young also said that smartphones, tablets and laptops are making it difficult to keep stress from the outside world coming into the college.
Two pupils have been taken out of the school for using abusive social media accounts under false names over the past two years, she told The Times.