Whole School and College Approach to Wellbeing

Guidance for schools on adopting a whole school approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing

   educational setting

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Why is adopting a Whole School Approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing important?

It can be tempting for schools, colleges (education settings) under pressure to see work to promote wellbeing and address mental health problems as a luxury or optional extra. This however runs contrary to the strong evidence on the links between wellbeing, learning and school improvement, evidence which has been brought together by Public Health England's briefing guidance

Some of the evidence from this briefing confirms:  

  1. Pupils with better health and wellbeing are likely to achieve better academically.
  2. Effective social and emotional competencies are associated with greater health and wellbeing, and better achievement.
  3. The culture, ethos and environment of a school influences the health and wellbeing of pupils and their readiness to learn. 

Schools, colleges and educational settings can be confident that a focus on wellbeing and mental health not only enables them to provide healthy and happy school environments for pupils and staff and prepare the citizens of tomorrow with sound character and values, but also directly supports their more immediate mission: the promotion of effective learning. 

"In an authentic ‘whole school approach’ wellbeing and mental health are ‘everyone’s business’, with genuine involvement of all staff, pupils, governors, parents and the community, and outside agencies” (Professor Katherine Weare)

For more details read Professor Weare's guidance titled 'What works in promoting social and emotional well-being and responding to mental health problems in schools?'.

Taking a coordinated and evidence-informed approach to mental health and wellbeing in schools and colleges leads to improved pupil and student emotional health and wellbeing which can help readiness to learn. (see: Promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools and colleges)

The whole school or college approach, published by Public Health England (PHE), defines the focus themes that go with good mental health and wellbeing practice.

These themes are summarised in the following document which has been put together by the Psychology & Therapeutic Service, titled 'Help to introduce or develop a whole school or college approach to promoting good mental health and wellbeing' This document includes links to support and resources which are available to help you develop or introduce a whole school or college approach.

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The Sandwell Wellbeing Charter Mark

If you would rather be supported through the process of auditing, reflecting upon and action planning around mental health and well-being in your setting, you may be interested in learning more about an approach known as the Sandwell Wellbeing Charter Mark

Some of our schools in Suffolk have already completed this process.  If you are interested in reading one of our case studies, please see All Saints Case study.

This is a growing area of interest, and one that we’re hoping to develop further in Suffolk. For more information watch this video: 

For further support, please also see our section Psychology and Therapeutic Services

To see all our latest mental health news go to our homepage