Wellbeing is a concept that covers a range of diverse outcomes. In schools, it’s about young people playing an active role in their own learning and in developing healthy lifestyles.

Our education system maintains a focus on wellbeing from the time a child starts early childhood education until the time they leave secondary school, through the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki and The New Zealand Curriculum for schools.

But in our complex and changing society, children and young people face an increasing number of issues that can seriously affect their wellbeing.

Recognising the challenges that a growing number of young people face, Prime Minister John Key launched the Youth Mental Health Project in April 2012. 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. This report about wellbeing in primary schools is part of ERO’s contribution to the project. It complements ERO’s report on wellbeing in secondary schools and supports our development of indicators for student wellbeing. These indicators describe the values, curriculum and systems that help students experience a high level of wellbeing.

For most children, the older they get the more exposure they have to issues that can affect their wellbeing. This report identifies that Years 7 and 8 were particularly important years in terms of wellbeing, due to the greater risks faced as children get older and the cumulative effect of how well their wellbeing needs had been met in previous years.

Parents and whānau can work with schools to improve the wellbeing of our children and young people to help them become confident lifelong learners. This report gives you an insight into what’s important and what works well in school to support wellbeing.

Iona Holsted

Chief Review Officer

Education Review Office