Section Three: Improvement and Responsiveness to Student Wellbeing

This section describes inquiry and improvement processes to improve and respond to student wellbeing.

Inquiry and improvement processes are fundamental to schools improving student wellbeing. These processes enable trustees, leaders and teachers to systematically identify, prioritise, learn from and modify strategies to improve student wellbeing.

Inquiry and improvement processes are often driven by an overarching evaluative question. The question here is, ‘to what extent do schools promote and respond to student wellbeing?’

School leaders need to tailor their inquiries based on their context and wellbeing priorities. There is no one process for inquiry, rather, a range of ways that schools can proceed to investigate and reflect on student wellbeing.

The evaluation indicators for student wellbeing sit within the school context and provide the features of what good practice looks  like.

The following descriptions provide prompts for schools to consider as they investigate the aspects of the Wellbeing Indicator Framework.

Guides and goals for improving student wellbeing

To begin to answer how well a school promotes and responds to student wellbeing, school communities must work together to develop a vision for student wellbeing. The foundations for this work are provided in Section One with a definition of student wellbeing, the desired outcomes for student wellbeing, and the principles for wellbeing.

Building a picture of student wellbeing

An understanding of the extent to which student wellbeing is promoted and responded  to can be found by drawing on a range of people and data across the school community. Schools already collect data that can deepen knowledge of student wellbeing and the processes supporting it. Data sources may include, but are not limited  to:

  • Teacher observations in the classroom, the playground and assemblies
  • Wellbeing@School and Me and My School survey results including student, teacher, parent, whānau and community voices.
  • Student profiles or portfolios
  • Interviews and meetings with parents and whānau
  • Student Management Systems, such as musac
  • Achievement data – National Standards, NCEA
  • Traumatic incidence/risk data
  • Attendance and retention data
  • Reports to the board
  • School documentation including charter, policies and procedures
  • Identification of needs through an analysis of Individual Education Plans
  • Interviews and conversations with professional social and health providers
  • HEEADSSS8  Assessment data
  • Minutes from syndicate, team or department meetings, multi-disciplinary meetings, including Resource Teacher:  Learning and Behaviour,  guidance, pastoral, behavioural, etc.
  • Referral rates to RTLB, pastoral care, Child, Youth and Family, and Child and Adolescent Mental Health  Services.

Identifying and responding to areas of wellbeing for  improvement

A breadth and depth of knowledge about the processes that support student wellbeing is important for identifying areas for improvement, and prioritising where efforts to improve wellbeing are most needed.

A useful tool for identifying and prioritising school-wide and individual needs is a school adaptation of the Intervention Triangle (CASEL., 2008; Chafouleas, et al., 2007) pictured here.

The broad base represents the prevention aspect suitable for all students. The middle represents more specific interventions for the smaller number of students with moderate needs.

The top of the triangle represents intensive professional interventions for students who are most at risk.

Each school’s needs and priorities will be different and may focus on the processes that support wellbeing or a particular challenge facing students at any given time. The Intervention Triangle can also be used as a tool to ensure implementation of programmes and initiatives match the identified needs of individuals and school-wide challenges.

Figure 4: Intervention Triangle

Triangle demonstrating percentages of prevention universal, selective, intensive

8     Home, Education/Employment, Eating, Activities, Drugs and Alcohol, Sexuality, Suicide and Depression, Safety. Available at