Student wellbeing is a topic that deserves attention in schools, as it affects the learning, the mental health and the future of the students. In this blog post, we will explore why student wellbeing is important, and how schools can promote and support it.
Everyone seems to be talking about wellbeing, but what exactly do we mean?
In the case of students, wellbeing is the state of being healthy, happy and fulfilled in school. It is influenced by many factors, such as the quality of teaching and learning, the relationships with peers and staff, the physical environment, the personal and social development opportunities, and the support available for mental health and emotional needs.
Why is student wellbeing important in schools? Well to start with, it’s linked to academic achievement. Research shows that students who have higher levels of wellbeing tend to perform better in school, both academically and socially. They are more motivated, engaged, resilient and confident learners, and they are less likely to drop out or experience behavioural problems.
More fundamentally, wellbeing is essential for student mental health and wellness. Mental health is a key aspect of wellbeing, and it affects how students think, feel and act. Mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders, are common among young people, and they can have a significant impact on their education, relationships and future prospects. Schools have a vital role in promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing, by creating a positive and inclusive culture, providing early intervention and prevention, and working with external agencies when needed.
Finally, wellbeing is beneficial for society. Students who have good wellbeing are more likely to grow up into healthy, happy and productive adults, who can contribute positively to their communities and the wider society. They are also more likely to develop the skills and values that are essential for global citizenship, such as empathy, respect, tolerance and social responsibility.
So, how can schools promote and support wellbeing? Here are some tips:
- Adopt a whole school approach to wellbeing. This means that wellbeing is embedded in every aspect of the school life, from the curriculum and the assessment, to the policies and the practices, to the ethos and the environment. A whole school approach involves the collaboration and participation of all stakeholders, including students, staff, parents, governors and external partners.
- Appoint a senior mental health lead. This is someone who has the strategic oversight and the coordination of the school’s approach to mental health and wellbeing. They can help to develop and implement a wellbeing action plan, provide training and guidance for staff, monitor and evaluate the impact of the interventions, and liaise with local mental health services.
- Teach strategies such as mindfulness and maybe even yoga. These are practices that can help students to relax, focus, cope with stress and enhance their self-awareness and emotional regulation. Mindfulness and yoga can be taught as part of the curriculum, as extracurricular activities, or as wellbeing sessions for staff and students.
- Use wellbeing trackers and surveys. These are tools that can help to measure and monitor the wellbeing of students and staff, and to identify their strengths and areas for improvement. Wellbeing trackers and surveys can be used regularly, or at specific times, such as during transitions, exams or after a critical incident.
- Organise tea and talk sessions. These are informal and friendly gatherings, where students and staff can share their thoughts and feelings, offer and receive support, and build positive relationships. Tea and talk sessions can be held in the classroom, in the staffroom, or in a designated wellbeing space, and they can be facilitated by teachers, counsellors, peer mentors or external speakers.
Student wellbeing is important for schools, because it affects the learning, the mental health and the future of the students. By prioritising this aspect of the students’ development, schools can create a resilient and thriving learning community, where everyone can flourish and achieve their potential.
Why not download our Free eBook – The Wellbeing Challenge for strategies and ideas to support wellbeing at your school.