ERO releases reports on student wellbeing

19 February 2015

ERO’s latest national reports show that while student wellbeing is considered very important, school leaders and teachers can do more to improve the way they promote and respond to student wellbeing.

The reports, Wellbeing for Children’s Success at Primary School and Wellbeing for Young People's Success at Secondary School, highlight good practice in schools but also expose the gaps and the need for a more cohesive approach to student wellbeing.

In the secondary school evaluation, ERO reports varying levels of support for student wellbeing with too much assessment identified as causing stress and anxiety for many students.

ERO’s Evaluation Services Manager, Stephanie Greaney says schools are struggling to look at student assessment across the curriculum and embrace cross-curricular learning and assessment opportunities.

“Some teachers are deciding on assessments without knowing what other assessments the student has for that week. Well planned, considered assessment that takes a cross-curricular approach would reduce pressure for students and teachers” Mrs Greaney says.

ERO’s evaluation of the Ministry of Education’s Achievement 2013-2017 initiative showed that this particular support was helping schools better plan and manage their assessments. The Ministry has also developed, with teachers, senior secondary guidelines that are intended to reinforce cross-curricular opportunities in a broad curriculum.

Through workshops and online, The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) promotes a focus on quality assessment rather than quantity. NZQA offers support to schools looking to review their NCEA programme.

ERO’s secondary report also found that wellbeing issues were often limited to the health and physical education curriculum, which is not compulsory after Year 10. This meant that teachers didn’t know how and if senior secondary students were getting opportunities to explore wellbeing issues if they didn’t continue to study health and physical education.

“Schools need to explore ways to address wellbeing in the wider curriculum to maintain the focus on wellbeing issues.” Mrs Greaney says

ERO published draft wellbeing indicators for schools at the end of 2013. The indicators have been well received and many schools are using them to improve their response to student wellbeing. The findings from these reports, as well as a wellbeing good practice report will inform the final version of the indicators.

Media contact Amanda Forsey 021 459 472

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Notes for editors

  1. In 2012 the Prime Minister launched the Youth Mental Health Project to improve outcomes for young people aged 12-19 years. ERO’s wellbeing evaluations and wellbeing indicators are part of this project’s education initiatives.
  2. ERO evaluated included 159 primary schools and 68 secondary schools. The evaluation was completed in Term 1, 2014. The schools were from a variety of locations and varied in size, type and decile rating.
  3. Achievement 2013-2017 is the Ministry of Education’s initiative to raise student achievement in secondary schools. The initiative involves specialist advisers who work closely with schools to provide with the necessary support.
  4. Senior teaching and learning guides have been designed to help teachers develop quality teaching and learning programmes at levels 6–8 of The New Zealand Curriculum. Each subject guide describes the ideas around which a programme might be based, how a programme might be structured, what good teaching and learning looks like, and how the subject concerned relates to the wider New Zealand curriculum and to NCEA.