Putting a dedicated role into schools with responsibility for wellbeing can make a positive difference to the emotional and physical wellbeing of students and staff, suggests new research from Nuffield Health. The findings from the report ‘Improving wellbeing in schools’, conclude that the role should not be added to the existing staff’s responsibilities, if it is to have an impact on students and staff.
The report follows on from the Government’s budget announcing an additional £2 billion investment to fund specialist mental health teams in schools and concerns about the growing levels of obesity in children.
‘Improving wellbeing in schools’ shares the findings and methodology from a pilot that installed a Head of Wellbeing within a secondary school for two years, which completed last year. An initial needs assessment at the school - Wood Green School, Witney, Oxfordshire – had highlighted mental health issues and stress management as priorities for the school. A survey of the staff and students had showed lower than national average levels of wellbeing.
The Head of Wellbeing worked closely with students and staff to assess emotional and physical wellbeing priorities and develop a targeted, responsive programme of initiatives and activities for the whole school.
As a result of the pilot, wellbeing is now one of Wood Green School’s six values and timetabled within the school curriculum. Head teacher, Mr Shadbolt, made a crucial decision to invest budget in maintaining a wellbeing role as a part-time post after the completion of the project.
Mr Shadbolt, Head Teacher at Wood Green Secondary School said: “I don’t believe there’s a single child in this school who hasn’t thought about the importance of what they eat, what exercise they do, what they do with their screen time, the importance of good mental health and how they achieve that. I think if that’s not part of what education is for, then we’re failing. Having someone whose specific role it is to coordinate, deliver and drive the wellbeing programme, rather than trying to combine this with a member of staff’s other teaching commitments, is critical to its success.”
Please click here to find out more about the project and to read the report.
Nuffield Health - November 2018
[Posted 6th December 2018]