Make no mistake – wellbeing is political. The way we value each other matters. Great schools teach children about the values of kindness, empathy and our shared humanity.  Education has the potential to improve mental health, address racism, misogyny and other prejudices but it takes political will. Populist political leaders are more interested in power and personal gain so rarely have values that further the common good.  It is not in their interests for young people to learn compassion, ethics, citizenship and critical thinking.

This month three populist political leaders have faced the consequences of their actions which must give us at least some hope for the future.  Donald Trump is facing numerous charges in a court of law in the US, the Privileges Committee in the UK found Boris Johnson to have repeatedly lied to government and Silvio Berlusconi died – perhaps facing a higher justice!  At least he couldn’t take his ill-gotten gains with him!

Great schools build good societies not just privilege and wellbeing for some.

This newsletter has information about conferences, publications, training and podcasts. Click through to the links of interest.

Re-thinking Education

A new zeitgeist is beginning to take hold across the world  – watch the webinar, read the discussion paper, check out UNESCO’s Blue Dot, come to the conference.

Webinar: Reinventing Schools to Support Learning and Wellbeing
Talking about Australia but applies everywhere:

Discussion paper: Reinventing Australian Schools for the better wellbeing, health and learning of every child (also discussing principles that apply everywhere):

UNESCO Blue Dot: Rethinking Learning- about alternative pedagogies:

UK: Re-thinking Education Conference: Saturday 23rd September 2023, London – book now!

See our April newsletter for other upcoming conferences in the UK and Australia.


These are a challenge for everyone – change is never easy. In this Beat the Transition Blues podcast, Elizabeth Gillies and Louise Wiles discuss how to positively frame the transition experience and learn to settle well in a new environment. This is the first of a series of podcasts aimed at supporting students and their families through these important changes. Check them all out at Successful Student Transitions:  A Time to Thrive

Circle Solutions training

Introduction to Circle Solutions: East Finchley, London, Fri 6 Oct 2023, 9.30 – 4.00 

Social and Emotional learning needs to take place with a safe, solution-focused, strengths-based approach.  Circle Solutions provides the framework to do this.  It is also fun and makes all the difference to individual wellbeing and school culture.  The next CS Intro in London is on Friday October 6th – auspiced by Patoss, open to all, and relevant to both primary and secondary educators. Click here for more information and to book. Check out Circle Solutions trainers on the website for opportunities in others countries,


ASPIRE to Wellbeing and Learning for All: The principles underpinning positive education 
(Agency, Safety, Positivity, Inclusion, Respect, Equity)These two books – one for early years and primary and one for secondary – are boosted by some wonderful vignettes that show these principles in practice around the world. If you have something that would be valuable to contribute please contact me as soon as you can.  All being well, they will be published by Routledge early next year.

In the meantime, check out this paper:  ASPIRE to a Better Future: The impact of the Pandemic on Young People and Options for Schools Post Covid-19. It refers to some inspirational work around the world, especially in engaging student voice.

Other links :  Books, articles and blogs that may be of interest

The Education Policy Alliance in the UK has published a document “How Do You Solve a Problem like Ofsted?” Comments on this are open until the end of July. Go to this link

The latest edition of the International Journal of Emotional Education

Compassionate Leadership:  An antidote to tyranny,  published by the BPS

Mattering, Wellness and Fairness: Psychosocial Goods for the Common Good. An article by Professor Isaac Prilleltensky in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. A recently published book by Canadian Jennifer Lawson on teacher wellbeing.

Shared cross-cultural principles underlie human pro-social behaviour at the smallest scale – Article in Nature.   We help each other in the same ways across the world

The many ways in which smacking is harmful to children and alternative ways to help children learn positive pro-social behaviours:

Please note that we publish submitted articles on the Growing Great Schools website that are relevant to school and children’s wellbeing, but do not contain ads or commercial links.