Here we will upload recent and relevant information about wellbeing research, policies and practice in education. Also, the last few relevant posts on the site are accessible by clicking on the link symbol (🔗) on the images at the bottom of this page.
We also want to share your stories – what has worked for you in helping young people and their teachers flourish? Register or login on the site to add your comments.
Wellbeing conferences 2018 – please note we only tell you about WELLBEING conferences not those that say wellbeing but are actually about mental illness!
2 February 2018: Bristol, UK: Wellbeing in Schools
Do you want to be an advocate of reducing the amount of sanction oriented behaviour practices in schools through a whole-school and universal, evidence-based model? And do you want to increase the focus on practical, evidence-based interventions to improve children and young people’s psychological wellbeing? If the answers to these are yes (I am sure they are!), then maybe our up-coming Wellbeing in Schools conference, in Feb 2018, is for you! Please click on the link below to see info. The link to the flyer is in the bottom right hand corner of the webpage, and this includes how to book. Duncan Gillard tradingwithschools.org/Event/53889
May-June 2018: Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney: Positive Schools Mental Health and Wellbeing conferences all around Australia
26-27 June 2018: Engaging Education – Let’s make it happen! Exploring Science and Practice Based Opportunities: The IPPA Positive Education Division ECPP2018 Pre-conference: Budapest, Hungary
27-30 June 2018: 9th European Conference on Positive Psychology, Budapest, Hungary
2 July 2018: Buckfast Abbey, Devon, UK: At the heart of learning: approaches that work in supporting mental health and wellbeing in education. For further information or bookings, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Whole school wellbeing
The draft Australian National Statement of Principles for Child Safe Organisations has been published, making the links between children’s rights and wellbeing explicit. The consultation draft for these principles can be downloaded from the Australian Human Rights Commission website.
This project is a key action in the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020. This Framework is a long term collaboration and commitment between the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments and the non-government sector and key researchers that focuses on keeping Australia’s children and young people safe and well. The Third Action Plan prioritises efforts on prevention and early intervention activities and strengthening abilities of organisations, families and communities to care for their children and young people. Implementation of the Third Action Plan is also informed by the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
A child rights approach recognises, respects and protects the rights of children in the development and implementation of laws, policies, practices and other decisions affecting them. These rights are set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child which Australia ratified in 1990.
An approach that recognises, respects and protects children’s rights requires a move away from child protection approaches that perceive children as subjects in need of assistance rather than as individuals with rights.
A child rights approach supports the strengths and resources of the child and surrounding social systems such as family, school, community, institutions and religious and cultural systems.
The UK government have published a Green Paper on the future of children’s mental health services in the UK: Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision
The consultation on the Green Paper will close on 2nd March 2018. Everyone involved in wellbeing in education in the UK needs to make a case for whole school promotion of wellbeing and all that this means. Although there are some sound recommendations in the paper and at last a reference to educational psychologists there appears to be an over emphasis on picking up the pieces. The consultation questions are here.
What Makes a Great School? Deconstructing the school-quality rankings that parents rely on — and finding a way to measure what matters: an excellent new (Oct 2017) article from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, all about measuring what we value, not valuing what we measure!
Test scores don’t tell us a tremendous amount about what students are learning in school. … Even if scores did reflect what students were learning in school, they’d still fail to address the full range of what schools actually do. … (M)y research team has found that high standardized test score growth can be correlated with low levels of student engagement. Standardized tests, in short, tell us very little about what we actually value in schools.
Measuring wellbeing in primary schools – this guide is from the Evidence-Based Practice Unit in the UK
The Ideal School Exhibition: This paper from the RSA explores the experiences of schools in the UK that are bucking the trend and re-visiting the purpose, principles and power of education. It is a long read, but worth it!
This paper is about a group of schools that are bucking a growing and concerning trend: that of schools narrowing their focus, and hollowing out their teaching, in their desperation to meet the constantly shifting demands of the government’s accountability system.
This trend is understandable. The risks associated with leadership have become so high, with governors and trustees fearing for their schools and headteachers fearing for their jobs, that the task of clearing the latest threshold or hitting the next target has come to dominate almost everything many schools do; proof, if it were needed, that in high-stakes, low-trust systems, only those things that get measured tend to get done (with too few questions asked about how they get done).
But there are some school leaders who simply refuse to play this bureaucratic education-by-numbers game; leaders whose decisions are shaped, not by the government’s agenda, but by their own sense of mission – by the higher purpose to which they have dedicated themselves and their schools.
Just before the last UK election (May 2017), the House of Commons Education and Health Committees published a report on Children and Young People’s Mental Health – the Role of Schools, which leads off with this encouraging statement
We support a whole school approach that embeds the promotion of well-being throughout the culture of the school and curriculum as well as in staff training and continuing professional development.
We can but hope that the new House follows up this report with action. There have been a number of other reports on this subject over the last few years that are worth referring to in the same context: there are links to them here.
London’s City University have published a report on their Teacher Wellbeing Research – though this is geared more to measuring teacher stress rather than what to do about it: for the latter, you can start with Sue Roffey’s article for Education Canada: Creative Caring for Teachers: How a whole-school well-being approach can support everyone’s mental health – then follow up with the links from our Teacher Wellbeing page …
OFSTED inspection myths – this guide might improve the wellbeing of teachers preparing for an inspection!
KidsMatter (Australia)’s latest Families newsletter has a great article on the importance of belonging at school and how to go about this, covering:
- What do we mean when we talk about belonging and inclusion?
- Why are belonging and inclusion important at school?
- How can parents work with teachers to help foster a sense of belonging in their child at school?
Social emotional learning
The problem with the concept of ‘grit’: read this article from Aeon: Teaching ‘grit’ is bad for children, and bad for democracy
There is a time and place for grit. However, praising grit as such makes no sense because it can often lead to stupid or mean behaviour. Duckworth’s book [Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance] is filled with gritty people doing things that they, perhaps, shouldn’t.
Social and Emotional Skills are NOT “soft skills” … watch this excellent short video from Edutopia!