Introduction

In April 2012, the Prime Minister launched the Youth Mental Health Project 1, with initiatives across a number of education, social and health agencies. The project aims to improve outcomes for young people aged 12 to 19 years with, or at risk of developing, mild to moderate mental health issues. These outcomes include improved:

  • mental health
  • resilience
  • access to youth-friendly health care services.

Wellbeing is vital for student success.

Student wellbeing is strongly linked to learning. A student's level of wellbeing at school is indicated by their satisfaction with life at school, their engagement with learning and their social- emotional behaviour. It is enhanced when evidence-informed practices are adopted by schools in partnership with families and community. Optimal student wellbeing is a sustainable state, characterised by predominantly positive feelings and attitude, positive relationships at school, resilience, self-optimism and a high level of satisfaction with learning experiences.2

Why focus on student wellbeing?

The ethical responsibility of teachers, leaders and trustees is to consider, promote, balance and respond to all aspects of the student, including their physical, social, emotional, academic and spiritual needs. These considerations require deliberate expression and action across all curriculum areas, pastoral care, strategic priorities and teaching practices. To maximise the role that schools have in promoting and responding to student wellbeing, these systems, people and initiatives require a high level of school-wide coordination and cohesion.

Support for a focus on students' wellbeing exists in professional frameworks including The Code of Ethics for Registered Teachers, Registered Teacher Criteria, the National Administration Guidelines, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Vulnerable Children Act. Student wellbeing is not only an ethical and moral obligation for teachers, leaders and trustees but also a legal responsibility.

Structure of this resource

Wellbeing for success: a resource for schools has been developed to help schools evaluate and improve student wellbeing. It highlights the importance of schools promoting the wellbeing of all students as well as the need for systems, people and initiatives to respond to wellbeing concerns for students who need additional support.

Effective practices for wellbeing explains the conceptual framework of domains and indicators from the School Evaluation Indicators, highlighting five vital aspects ERO has found that promote and respond to student wellbeing.

Improving wellbeing in our school helps school leaders, trustees and teachers to think about how they promote the wellbeing of all students in their school community and the way in which they respond to emerging wellbeing concerns. This section includes a focus on how well schools promote wellbeing as an integral part of the school's internal evaluation processes. It supports leaders, trustees and teachers to use internal evaluation processes to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of their responses to particular wellbeing-related events, issues and concerns.

Useful wellbeing resources includes information about resources schools might find useful in promoting and responding to wellbeing. It includes information about wellbeing in relation to the health and physical education learning area (from The New Zealand Curriculum) and hauora and Te Whare Tapa Wha.3 It also shares a 'circle of care' model adapted from Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth.4 Possible sources of wellbeing related data that could be used to inquire into and evaluate aspects of wellbeing are described along with a list of online resources for schools.