Wellbeing is vital for student success and is strongly linked to learning. 12 New Zealand and international research shows that many school factors influence student success. Although there is no single measure for student wellbeing, the factors that contribute to it are interrelated and interdependent. For example, a student's sense of achievement and success is enhanced when they feel safe and secure at school. This in turn lifts their confidence to try new challenges, strengthening their resilience.

in April 2012, the Prime Minister launched the Youth Mental Health Project, 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.

In 2014, the Education Review Office (ERO) undertook an evaluation of the extent to which schools were promoting and responding to student wellbeing. The findings were published in the following reports:

This effective practice report provides further detail about practices in selected schools (see methodology in Appendix 1) that promote wellbeing for all students, and describes how these schools respond when concerns, issues or events require more targeted support.

This report complements an ERO resource developed for schools to help them improve student wellbeing. Wellbeing for success: a resource for schools describes the practices in schools that effectively promote and respond to student wellbeing.

Promoting and responding to student wellbeing

Developing a positive school culture is vital for achieving the desired outcomes for student wellbeing. Schools promote a culture of wellbeing by making their vision, values, goals and priorities part of their curriculum and associated learning and teaching practices. The capability to respond well to a particular event is often determined by the way in which the school's culture of wellbeing enables and supports leaders and teachers to respond.

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 3  as a 'promoting and responding triangle' (Figure 1) that describes the provision of support for all students and for particular groups of students.

Figure 1: The promoting and responding triangle

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. width=

This report focuses on the first two tiers: promoting wellbeing for all students; and responding to wellbeing issues as they arise. Having a strong culture of wellbeing provides the foundation for schools' responses to issues and crises