Section Four: Questions for Schools to ask about their own school-wide processes and individual student wellbeing

The following self-review questions provide examples for schools to use as they inquire into the question, ‘to what extent do we promote and respond to student   wellbeing’?

A culture of wellbeing: values and practices

Of the parts that directly improve student wellbeing as a whole, one of the features is building a culture of wellbeing. While a systematic approach to building a culture of wellbeing may be a challenging exercise, it is vital to the achievement of the desired outcomes for student wellbeing.

Inquiry into the alignment between the expressed values that support wellbeing and the extent to which these values are reflected across all school operations is a good place to start. Consider the values in terms of wellbeing and the extent to which they are reflected in:

~   the development of school goals and strategic  planning?

~   the school-wide systems, for example, guidance and counselling, pastoral care, transitions and pathways?

~   the policies, procedures and the development of new initiatives for student wellbeing?

~   newsletters, assemblies, websites, classroom blogs, social media, etc?

~   the physical environment, for example, signage and classroom expectations and contracts?

The next line of inquiry could investigate the extent to which the expressed values for student wellbeing are evident in action. The following questions could be used to find out if the indicators of good practice are evident:

~    To what extent do parents, wha-nau and visitors to the school observe and experience a sense of values that support wellbeing? Are these values visible in interactions between students and staff?

~   To what extent are staff provided with a clear mandate to improve student wellbeing?  Are staff given the resources to support this work?

~   To what extent do students see themselves as active contributors to the culture for wellbeing, values and actions?

~    Do we provide enough diverse, student friendly spaces around the school property?

The findings from these questions and the extent to which they improve student wellbeing will be tempered by the effectiveness of leadership, partnerships, and the range of inquiry and improvement processes across the school.

Questions to identify the effectiveness of these areas in building a culture of student wellbeing include:

~   In what ways do students lead activities that directly improve their wellbeing across the arts, sports, culture and academics?

~   What opportunities do teachers and leaders provide for students to become involved in student council, peer mentoring and other leadership activities?

~   In what ways do students contribute to strategic planning, and identifying the school’s priorities and responses to student wellbeing? How inclusive are these opportunities?

~   What measures do we have in place to ensure leadership roles are available to all students?

~   What evidence do we have of teacher collaboration that enhances student wellbeing?

~   To what extent does evidence inform teaching practices for student wellbeing?

~   How does the school community view the school culture and values? Do they see  the culture and values contributing to student wellbeing?

~   To what extent does consultation with the community inform curriculum priorities, including those for the Health and Physical Education Curriculum?

Ako: learning, teaching and curriculum

Schools can use these questions to gain a deeper understanding of how Ako: learning, teaching and curriculum assists in improving student wellbeing.

~ To what extent are students’ strengths, prior knowledge, interests and aspirations valued and reflected in curriculum planning and delivery?

~  How well do curriculum priorities inform pastoral care  priorities?

~  How is student success celebrated across the school?

~ What day-to-day opportunities do we provide for diverse students to use their strengths, interests and prior knowledge?

~ Do we systematically and purposefully teach the skills needed for students to develop social-awareness, relationship skills, self-confidence, self-management and responsible decision-making?

~ To what extent are the principles of the Health and Physical Education Curriculum (hauora, attitudes and values, socio-ecological perspective and health promotion) known, understood and integrated into all curriculum areas?

~ How well are the achievement objectives set out in the Health and Physical Education Curriculum integrated across the implementation of the  curriculum?

As with building a culture for student wellbeing, leadership, partnerships, and the range of inquiry and improvement processes across the school play a vital role in the effectiveness of Ako. Here are questions to identify the effectiveness of learning, teaching and curriculum:

~    How well aligned are the school’s wellbeing priorities to the school’s curriculum?

~    How do students feel about their teachers? Are relationships strong, trusting and fair?

~    To what extent do students lead their own  learning?

~    To what extent are partnerships with parents, whānau and the community valued by leaders and teachers?

~    How do partnerships with students, teachers, parents and whānau inform curriculum priorities?

~    In what ways can parents and caregivers communicate with their child/ren’s teacher/s?

~    What inquiry and improvement processes are in place to understand how effective curriculum delivery is for student wellbeing?

~    What structures are in place for teachers to inquire and discuss teaching practices that work to promote and respond to student wellbeing?

Systems, people and initiatives

The systems, people and initiatives that support school-wide processes for wellbeing and individual student wellbeing may highlight the need for immediate action. Prompts for inquiry and improvement follow:

~   Do all students feel safe at  school?

~   Do all students have more than one adult they can turn to for guidance and support?

~   How clear and robust are the policies for student wellbeing, including anti-bullying and action to prevent and respond to suicide?

~   Do policies for student wellbeing align with practice for student  wellbeing?

~   To what extent do we provide the training and resources for teachers to:

~  build positive rapport with all students

~  implement restorative practices

~  identify vulnerable students

~  contribute to strategies to improve student wellbeing

~  work safely and ethically with information that risks student  safety?

~  To what extent do teachers work collaboratively to develop Individual Education Plans to support student wellbeing and learning?

~  What processes and procedures are in place for traumatic events?

The actions of leaders, the strength of partnerships, and the range of inquiry and improvement processes that support systems, people and initiatives can be investigated using the following questions:

~   To  what extent are wellbeing initiatives based on areas identified for  action?

~   Are resources allocated based on wellbeing priorities?

~ To what extent do teachers work collaboratively and inclusively to promote student wellbeing, for example, individual education planning teams, pastoral care  teams.

~ To what extent are student, parent, community and external agency perspectives included in inquiry and improvement processes?