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Measuring Wellbeing - the do's and don'ts

What to be mindful of and what to avoid when you're planning to measure wellbeing. School mental health and wellbeing leads will want to read this!
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30/8/2021
by
BounceTogether

Whether you’re new to the concept of measuring wellbeing or a seasoned surveyor, it’s important to remember best-practice procedures, as well as things to avoid, when collecting information from colleagues, pupils and parents or carers. Below is a handy list of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ to help Wellbeing and Mental Health Leads measure effectively.

The Do's

Make a plan. Measuring wellbeing by benchmarking, and impact evaluation should be a key driver of your overall wellbeing strategy. The data you gather will be a guide to where you should focus your energy and interventions and will keep you on track throughout the year. So it’s really important that you make a plan before you start measuring. A good place to start is to consider why you’re measuring wellbeing. Is there a specific issue that has cropped up, or are you keen to understand the general wellbeing landscape? Your answer will help you to kickstart a longer-term plan.

Use “validated” surveys. These are surveys with specific questions that have been researched and tested with an intended audience. It means the data you get is likely to be more reliable and useful. Using a provider that supplies validated surveys on a range of wellbeing areas specifically for educational settings (whilst allowing flexibility to create bespoke surveys where needed) is ideal.

Did you know?
BounceTogether has the largest repository of validated questionnaires of age-appropriate wellbeing scales across 12 categories from relationships and bullying, to attitudes to reading and perceptions of self. You can even download these as a paper-survey for FREE

Communicate. Explain to your colleagues, students and parents why you’re running a survey, and what you intend to do with and about the results. By taking your community with you on this journey you will get higher levels of engagement and increase their sense of ownership over resulting interventions and initiatives. Furthermore, sharing that you are measuring wellbeing sends a really positive message.

Think about anonymity. There are pros and cons to running a survey anonymously - you might get a more honest response, however, you won’t be able to identify groups or individuals who need extra support. Think about the intended outcome of the survey in advance to help make your decision. Whichever way you decide, it is important to maintain consistency in follow-up surveys to help you compare results accurately.

Protect your data. Your surveys will likely contain sensitive and personal information so it’s really important to ensure that this data is protected and handled correctly and ethically in line with your schools policy. If you’re unsure about how to do this, it’s worth looking into using a trusted third-party supplier who will take care of this for you.

Ensure accessibility. You want each and every member of your community to be able to contribute to measuring wellbeing. Ensuring that answering your surveys is accessible and inclusive to all is essential. As part of this, you should make sure that your questions are worded appropriately for the age range of your audience.

Did you know?
BounceTogether uses Microsoft Immersive Reader for an inclusive experience including language translation, text-to-speech, alternative fonts and magnification and more.

Action your data! The point of running a survey is to provide you with a picture of what is happening in your setting and to guide you on what to do next. If interpreting the data is a barrier for you to move forward then it’s important to use a method that doesn’t simply collect data but helps you to make sense of what that data is telling you.

Did you know?
The BounceTogether platform crunches the numbers for you and provides presentation-ready results at the click of a button.

Don't

Put it off. No matter where you think you are in your wellbeing journey as a school, it’s never too early or too late to start measuring. In doing so, you’re giving yourselves a concrete starting point to work from and a clearer direction to work towards. 

Assume you already know. Survey results might confirm what you think you already know, but by giving your community a voice you may uncover blind spots that need your attention. You’ll also be able to celebrate the things you’re doing well and use it to back-up your own professional judgement. Either way, it’s a win!

Overcomplicate it. Manually creating, administering, collating, and interpreting data from your whole school community is a huge amount of work and, ironically, can cause a lot of stress if you don’t have the right tools. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Platforms such as BounceTogether offer a digital solution that takes care of everything for you and delivers presentation-ready results at the click of a button.  

Feel a failure if wellbeing levels are lower than you expected or decrease over time. There are many factors that affect wellbeing, and not all can be controlled or be attributed to school (such as global pandemics!). However, fostering a culture of honesty and openness is a huge step towards creating a happier and healthier community. 

Pressure respondents to answer a certain way. This could be through cultural pressure in the staffroom or by leading the children in their answers. If you do, let’s face it, there’s no point in surveying in the first place! Setting the scene and introducing your survey effectively can really help obtain honest responses.

Make it a 1-off. Running a survey once and then never again is a pointless exercise. Consistently measuring wellbeing throughout the year can help you track changes over time and evidence the impact of your interventions. Ensuring that your survey method is efficient and easy will enable you to continue to survey your community without it becoming time-consuming and complicated (see ‘Don’t ... Overcomplicate it!’). 

Over-survey. Conversely, there is such a thing as ‘survey-fatigue’. Be selective, strategic, and timely to get the best quality information from your community and the highest levels of engagement. 

BounceTogether is an online mental health and wellbeing survey platform designed for schools. It provides access to over 60 validated surveys across 12 categories with presentation ready results at the touch of a button.  Our instant analysis will keep your finger on the pulse of wellbeing and monitor your progress in developing a whole-school approach to wellbeing.

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