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Practical Advice on Implementing and Measuring Whole-School Wellbeing

By Nikki Bonus

Published 15 October 2020 11.16 AM

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.



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Nikki Bonus

CEO / Founder Life Skills Group

Nikki Bonus is a change agent on a global frontier aiming to enhance the vital skills of our future leaders. She realized focusing on our future generations teaching social, emotional, and physical learning skills was a real opportunity to make an impact. She is an accomplished presenter and trainer with more than 20 years of experience in the development and delivery of mindfulness, leadership, and wellbeing programs. Nikki comes with raw authenticity and believes that we have a social responsibility to our young people to equip them with the skills to navigate the 21st century. She epitomizes resilience having been out of home by the age of 16. The tragedies of mental health contributed to her brother taking his life at a young age. Her intrinsic motivation is the belief that no matter where you were born, no matter what family you were born into, anything is possible. Her aim is to work in collaboration with governments, school communities to see social-emotional learning as valued as academic performance.Thus, Life Skills Group was founded, out of the heart of a social entrepreneur with a mission to reach all children regardless of socio-economic background. For more than a decade, Nikki’s team of 80 teachers has worked across 600 schools, reaching 500,000 primary school children, to build a continuing evidence base of what works for school communities. In 2018, Nikki founded Life Skills Go: an engaging, interactive, blended learning platform that delivers 100’s of age-based SEL lessons and produces measurable results for teachers to monitor and respond to individual student wellbeing needs.

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