What is Whole-School Wellbeing?
A whole school approach recognises that all aspects of the school community can impact positively upon students' health, safety and wellbeing. This includes all those who care and are affected by the decisions the school makes: Students; Teachers; Senior leadership team; Support staff; Board of Trustees or Board of Governors; Parents and families of students and staff; The wider local community that serves the school and is served by it.
Benefits of implementing Whole-School Wellbeing
- A meta-analysis of 213 school-based programmes involving over 270,000 students from kindergarten to high school showed that students developing social and emotional skills and adopting healthy behaviours reported improved academic performance in overall grades and standardised maths and reading scores.¹
- Longitudinal research has shown that students with the highest levels of wellbeing recorded the best academic performance and lowest school absences one year later.²
Best Practice Advice for Effective Implementation
Life Skills Group has worked with hundreds of primary schools across Australia for over 10 years; this advice has come from years of experience in implementing whole-school approaches to wellbeing.
Define what wellbeing means for your school
Sit down with your staff and conduct a wellbeing audit. Understand your school’s unique environment and the type of wellbeing change that would best suit your needs. Agree and align on your values, goals, strengths and what success would look like for the staff, students and parents. Ensure that your school’s leadership, governance and management are aligned on the vision for whole-school wellbeing.
Invest in professional development - wellbeing skills & language for staff
Take the time and invest in professional development and learn more about wellbeing practices and what is best suited for your school and staff. Consider investing in evidence-based wellbeing teacher training programs that provide accredited professional development hours for your staff. Select some wellbeing champions and leaders that can support/train staff and develop a shared language that can be used across the school among staff and students.
Take time to experiment, learn and iterate
Identify the top projects/wellbeing initiatives you want to test, measure progress, collect feedback, learn and iterate upon for future improvements. Consider implementing evidence-based student wellbeing programs to test across certain grade levels to start with (such as grades 5-6) that can help your school with evidence based social and emotional learning. Allow for celebration of small wins, as well as acceptance and appreciation for mistakes and lessons learnt.
Gather buy-in from all stakeholders & communicate regularly
Engage with all stakeholders including school leaders, teachers, students, parents, counsellors, and the community. Regularly communicate with these stakeholders on the investments being made in new wellbeing initiatives, the progress being made, and the stories from the students, staff, and parents on the impact of the work being done.
Measure your progress
Select key metrics to track wellbeing progress; include both qualitative and quantitative metrics. Some schools we work with use regular wellbeing check-ins with students - in the morning, after recess, during lunch, and right before school ends. Some send feedback surveys to students and staff every two weeks to collect qualitative feedback. For quantitative metrics, schools track the impact on staff and student absences, student stand downs/suspensions and awards, and the number of disturbances in classrooms and across the school. Consider implementing professional programs and software that tracks wellbeing over time automatically with integrated reporting.
Want to learn more?
Join us for our upcoming webinar 28 October, 2020 at 8 PM AEST on best practices on implementing whole-school wellbeing with real world examples from School Leaders in NSW & VIC.
Get help with your wellbeing strategy by booking a meeting with one of our wellbeing advisors.
¹ Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development , 82 (1), 405–432
² Suldo, S. M., Thalji, A., & Ferron, J. (2011). Longitudinal academic outcomes predicted by early adolescents’ subjective well-being, psychopathology, and mental health status yielded from a dual factor model. Journal of Positive Psychology , 6 , 17–30.