Author: Antoinette Morris
Posted: 13 Feb 2023
Estimated time to read: 4 mins
Student wellbeing has seen a lot more attention in recent years following the addition of wellbeing to the Ofsted framework. Keep reading to learn about 5 of the ways you should be promoting student wellbeing in your school.
What is student wellbeing?
Student wellbeing refers to your students feeling happy, healthy and relaxed, both within themselves but particularly in your school environment. Student wellbeing prioritises all aspects of a student’s health, whether they be physical, mental, or emotional.
Why is student wellbeing important for schools?
It’s no secret that mental health conditions are on the rise among young children, with more than 1 in 10 children aged 5-10 now having an identifiable mental health condition. While there are certainly some important distinctions to draw between mental health and wellbeing, it’s clear that higher levels of student wellbeing can contribute to better mental health.
Better mental health means happier students, but it also makes them more productive. Poor mental health is a real barrier to academic process, distracting, all consuming and overwhelming as it often is.
Schools hold a great level of power to influence the wellbeing of their students, why not use that power to improve school life, make students happier and even improve student outcomes in the process? Making wellbeing a priority for your school really is a no brainer.
Does managing wellbeing have to be expensive?
Cost can be one of the toughest barriers to overcome when student wellbeing is concerned. School’s budgets are already stretched thin, with soaring energy bills, lack of appropriate government funding and cost of living crisis salary increases affecting the ability to allocate money to wellbeing.
The good news is that making wellbeing a priority in your school doesn’t have to be expensive, or even cost anything at all! The following 5 suggestions range from low cost to completely free, meaning an empty piggy bank doesn’t mean you have to sit back and do nothing about wellbeing in your school.
1 - Teach mindfulness techniques
Mindfulness is all about taking time out of your day to relax and reconnect with yourself, helping you stay calm and grounded in difficult situations. Introducing mindfulness into the school day can be as easy as leading a quick group breathing exercise during assembly. If that goes well, why not try drop in sessions during lunch? Or help set students up for a relaxing day by giving form tutors some resources to use during registration?
One of the main benefits of using mindfulness at your school is that it’s generally either cheap or completely free, with free resources and techniques available on google at the click of a button. Try this guide to getting started with mindfulness for some great beginner tips and tricks.
2 - Make wellbeing fun
Wellbeing doesn’t have to be boring, and really shouldn’t be if you’re trying to get through to your students! Plan a lunchtime arts and crafts session, take them outside to play team games or start a small school gardening project.
The key to choosing an activity is to keep it light and fun, something that students want to do rather than feeling forced to do. Don’t be afraid to ask your students for suggestions, they know what they’ll enjoy better than anyone!
Try and vary which types of activities you put on if you can. Not all students will be interested in every activity, so keeping a varied programme is key to keeping the full cohort engaged.
3 - Focus on extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities are a great way to improve your students’ wellbeing. Joining a club or society helps children improve their social skills, keeps them active and engaged as well as helping build their self confidence.
As a senior leader, there are a few different ways you can help encourage your students to take part in more extracurricular activities. The first, and perhaps most obvious, is making sure the school runs a wide variety of them. Offering a balance of sport, music and creative activities ensures that most of your students will be able to find something that interests them.
It’s important to remember that finances can also be a big barrier to your students attending after school activities. Try to offer a free option wherever possible, or consider a bursary scheme for interested students that can’t offer a club fee.
4 - Invest in staff training
When it comes to wellbeing, your staff really are on the front lines. Professionally training your staff in student wellbeing may be the most expensive option in this list, but can be really valuable for everyone in your community. Senior leaders gain the peace of mind that staff are equipped to tackle wellbeing concerns, staff feel more confident addressing issues when they arise and students benefit from staff that can handle their concerns correctly.
5 - A free Student Wellbeing Audit from Satchel Pulse
Creating a healthy and supportive environment for your students starts with understanding their wellbeing. Satchel Pulse’s free Student Wellbeing Audit is a quick and easy way to get a benchmark for student sentiment, helping you understand areas to focus on so you can start making real change at your school.
Created by experts in psychology, research, evaluation and SEND, you can be completely confident that the results of your audit are both useful and statistically valid. A student wellbeing survey with the power of a paid tool, Wellbeing Tracker, completely free of charge.