The overarching question for this national evaluation was:

To what extent do schools promote and respond to student wellbeing?

The evaluation involved 68 secondary schools in Term 1, 2014. The type of school, roll size and location (urban or rural) are shown in Appendix 1.

ERO’s judgement 1 for each school was linked to ERO’s Wellbeing for Success: Draft Evaluation Indicators for Student Wellbeing (draft) 2013.2 The judgements were based on:

  • the commitment and enactment of processes that promoted and responded to student wellbeing
  • the inquiry processes that informed improved responses to wellbeing across the school, including processes for individual students with high wellbeing needs
  • how well the learning, teaching and curriculum focused on improving wellbeing
  • school leaders’ promotion of, and response to, student wellbeing
  • the contribution to student wellbeing of school partnerships with parents and whānau, and with community health and social service providers.

Information used to make the judgement included:

  • discussions with, and observing interactions among, students, parents and whānau, school leaders and teachers, guidance and counselling teachers, school social workers and nurses, and board members
  • analysis of the school’s strategic documents, including plans for curriculum, professional learning and development (PLD), care for students, responses to traumatic events and minutes of meetings (especially about how the school used data about student wellbeing)
  • analysis of Public Achievement Information (PAI), including NCEA data, stand-downs, suspensions and exclusion data.

Individual students’ wellbeing could not be guaranteed in any school at any one time. Traumatic incidents, bullying and mental and physical health problems of students or significant members of their family or whānau affected an individual’s level of wellbeing, regardless of how focused a school was on student wellbeing. The important factors in making a judgement about each school were whether the school was prepared for such events and how evident the focus on student wellbeing was in the actions and documents associated with school culture, curriculum and systems.