Improving wellbeing in your school

This section will help you to:

  • think about how you promote the wellbeing of all students in your school community and the way in which you respond to emerging wellbeing concerns
  • include a focus on how well you promote wellbeing as part of your school's internal evaluation processes
  • use your internal evaluation processes to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of your responses to particular wellbeing-related events, issues and concerns.

Each school's priorities for wellbeing will be different. Schools promote wellbeing through their vision, values and strategic priorities, and through the deliberate design of their curriculum. At the same time schools are also responding to emerging wellbeing issues and concerns. Their evaluation and inquiry activities focus on the impact of specific strategies or initiatives being implemented for students needing additional support or in some cases access to specialist support.

ERO's report Wellbeing for Young People's Success at Secondary School (February 2015) describes the ways in which schools addressed student wellbeing, modifying the Intervention Triangle 1 as a 'promoting and responding triangle' (Figure 1) that describes the provision of support for all students and for particular groups of students.

ERO's report Wellbeing for Children's Success at Primary School (February 2015) points out that schools that promoted wellbeing in their culture, curriculum and approaches were more able to respond to a traumatic event than schools that hadn't promoted wellbeing.

This image shows the promoting and responding triangle which has three boxes. The first box is an inverted triangle which is split into three the top box is promoting wellbeing -all students all times, the second is Responding to issues - some students some times and the third is responding to a crisis - a few students. The next set of boxes are coloured blue. The first is School values curriculum includes learning areas, co-curricular activities and leadership opportunities. The second is Having systems to notice and responnd to issues - examples include assessment overload and bullying. The third is Having systems to notice and respond to individual high risk issues - An example includes self harm. The third set of boxes are orange coloured. The first is All adults provide guidlines for students to make good choices - classroom teachers, form teachers/deans co-curricular teachers. The second is All adults provide support for students that has been developed through the care system - Classroom teachers, form teachers/deans co-curricular teachers and the third box is Highly skilled adults who often need to work with outside agencies to provide support for students - Guidance counsellor - school health practitioners.

Schools' internal evaluation and inquiry processes need to focus on the effectiveness of what they are doing to promote wellbeing for all students. Schools cannot simply rely on their positive culture and respectful relationships to promote wellbeing but need to provide opportunities for students to make decisions about their wellbeing and to be active in leading their learning.

This resource provides guidance for schools about how to include a focus on student wellbeing in their ongoing evaluation and inquiry processes. Such processes enable schools to systematically identify, prioritise, learn from and modify strategies to improve student wellbeing. It uses the framework of learner-focused evaluation processes and reasoning from the joint Ministry of Education and ERO publication Effective School Evaluation: How to do and use internal evaluation for improvement.2

Evaluation and inquiry processes can be driven by questions such as:

> Is what we are doing to promote and respond to student wellbeing working?

> Is it good enough?

> How do we know?

> Can we do better?