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Punk Musician Helps Children Confront Benefits of Failure

Bristol Punk Musician Helps Children Confront Benefits of Failure

Press release

24 February 2020


Punk musician and DIY theatre maker, Kid Carpet (Ed Patrick), is taking on helping children understand and embrace the benefits associated with failure. The Bristol based musician is taking up residency in three Bristol primary schools with one goal in mind, and that's to help them understand that failure is no bad thing. Epic Fail is a programme designed by Kid Carpet and endorsed by local mental health charity, Off The Record, that creatively tackles the issues of failure, highlighting both its necessity and benefits to have a positive impact on the wellbeing of young children.

Through a series of workshops, lunchtime activities and more in a series of two-week residencies funded by the Royal Academy of Engineers' Ingenious Grant, Bristol City Council and Arts Council England, Kid Carpet is working with a female engineer, Rachel Kirkwood, to explore failure at each of the schools. Fear of failure is woven into the very fabric of academic life for many students and it is important to challenge this and offer an alternative perspective. A culture of perfectionism pervades among young people which frames failure as something to be avoided at all cost.

Children as young as five are feeling the stresses and strains associated with a culture of perfection, which is being endorsed by an education system where they are subjected to an increasing number of pressures and demands. The latest survey on children's mental health shows a growing upward trend of emotional disorders within the entire childhood age spectrum. The NHS Mental Health of Children and Young People in England report for 2017, found 1 in 12 young people between the ages of 5 and 19 were more susceptible to mental health and wellbeing issues linked to failure than previous generations. 

Commenting on his Epic Fail project, Kid Carpet said. "I started this project because one of my children is failing at school. Kids are too scared to try these days due to a pressure to be perfect, a fear of failure, keeping themselves out of the limelight. Since Big Brother started, culture is about voting people out, highlighting failures over celebrating achievement. I was laughing at You've Been Framed with my kids and felt bad when I realised, I should be laughing with the failures, not at them." 

One in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19-year-olds had at least one mental disorder when assessed in 2017. The survey highlights girls are more are at risk than boys, and an environment that magnifies the desire to succeed, places increased risks on young people. Girls from 11 to 19 are between a third and a half more likely to experience emotional disorders, while younger boys between 5 and 10 have increased risks associated with anxiety and mental stress.

"We hope that by working with children to explore the virtues of failure, that taking a ‘wrong' or unorthodox approach to engineering and music making will help them to think differently. By encouraging them to have a sense of humour and silliness in their work, hopefully the wellbeing pressures on the kids will be eased. The whole of primary school is a stressful road to the SATS and the league table, at the expense of childhood joy and happiness. Let's change that." Kid Carpet concluded.

Kid Carpet and Rachel have designed a series of workshops that encourage children to embrace failure. These will be in the form of simple experiments such as designing a bridge or exploring Chindogu, a Japanese process of designing intentionally useless things. There are no rights or wrongs, just creativity and the wiliness to embrace it. The idea is to provoke creativity and accept benefits from those experiences, and to embrace failure; that failure is also a virtue.


For more information or to interview Kid Carpet, please contact Darren Laws on 01634 671167, 07958 304375 or


Kid Carpet is in residency at various Bristol based primary schools during November, January and February 2020.

Kid Carpet is the stage name of Bristol based DIY musician, Ed Patrick.

The project is funded with the aid of the Royal Academy of Engineers' Ingenious Grant, Bristol City Council and Arts Council England and supported by project partner University of the West of England.

Major surveys of the mental health of children and young people in England were carried out in 1999, 2004, and 2017. While many surveys use brief tools to screen for nonspecific psychiatric distress or dissatisfaction, this series applied rigorous, detailed and consistent methods to assess for a range of different types of disorder according to International Classification of Disease (ICD-10) diagnostic criteria. All cases were reviewed by clinically trained raters.

Comparable data is available for 5 to 15-year-olds living in England in 1999, 2004, and 2017. The 2017 survey for the first time provides findings on the prevalence of mental disorder in 2 to 4-year-olds and spans the transition into adulthood by covering 17 to 19-year olds.

The latest survey was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, commissioned by NHS Digital, and carried out by the National Centre for Social Research, the Office for National Statistics and Youthinmind.

Please note: The Predictors of Mental Disorders Topic Report has been released following the initial publication on 26 March 2019.

Key facts

        One in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19-year-olds had at least one mental disorder when assessed in 2017

       Specific mental disorders were grouped into four broad categories: emotional, behavioural, hyperactivity and other less common disorders. Emotional disorders were the most prevalent type of disorder experienced by 5 to 19-year-olds in 2017 (8.1%)

        Rates of mental disorders increased with age. 5.5% of 2 to 4-year-old children experienced a mental disorder, compared to 16.9% of 17 to 19-year-olds. Caution is needed, however, when comparing rates between age groups due to differences in data collection. For example, teacher reports were available only for 5 to 16-year-olds. Please refer to the Survey Design and Methods Report for full details.

        Data from this survey series reveals a slight increase over time in the prevalence of mental disorder in 5 to 15-year-olds (the age-group covered on all surveys in this series). Rising from 9.7% in 1999 and 10.1% in 2004, to 11.2% in 2017.

        Emotional disorders have become more common in five to 15-year-olds - going from 4.3% in 1999 and 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2017. All other types of disorder, such as behavioural, hyperactivity and other less common disorders, have remained similar in prevalence for this age group since 1999.

       Chindoguis the Japanese art of inventing silly and useless gadgets to solve everyday problems. Translated literally, 'Chindogu' means valuable or priceless tool.