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Why don’t schools measure wellbeing?

The biggest barriers to measuring wellbeing in schools and how to overcome them
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20/1/2022
by
Gemma Moran

In a recent BounceTogether survey of Wellbeing and Mental Health Leads (more on this coming soon), 58% said that their setting did not currently measure wellbeing. With wellbeing top of the agenda for most schools, Gemma Moran, Customer Success, BounceTogether, explores why so many schools aren’t measuring such an important topic and what can be done to help overcome these barriers.  

As a customer success specialist for BounceTogether, my job involves daily conversations with prospective clients as well as established customers. These interactions usually involve two-sides to the conversation - 1) a deep passion to understand their children and teaching staff’s experience of wellbeing to support and strengthen their community; 2) the frustration and challenges they face in delivering effective measurement that doesn't cost the earth in terms of money and time!

And I can totally relate.

In my previous role as Assistant Head and Mental Health Lead, I faced the same challenges. Measuring wellbeing in any school can be daunting, especially if you’ve not done it before. Yet, if done right it can unlock so many avenues to nurturing wellbeing for your entire community and save you time and energy in the long-run.

Here, I’ve tackled some of the biggest barriers schools face and how to overcome them.

Where to start?

For first-time measurers knowing where to begin can feel overwhelming. Questions such as, which survey to use, what topic to focus on and how to ensure that the exercise is inclusive are all common questions we get asked.

If this feels familiar, you might find our downloadable guide, Your Essential Wellbeing Measurement Workbook, a handy tool for figuring out where to start.

This workbook is designed to help kickstart your wellbeing measurement strategy by prompting you to think about five key areas- starting with why you’ve decided to start measuring wellbeing at your setting. Once you have completed each section you should be clear on where to start and how to move forward in a co-ordinated, effective and sustainable way. 

Too time-consuming

By far the biggest barrier we hear to measuring wellbeing in schools is how time-consuming it can be. This goes hand-in-hand with ‘not enough resources or man-power’. Indeed, respondents to our Wellbeing Lead Survey cited administrative tasks such as ‘data-collection and report-writing’ as the second most time-consuming task on their to-do list.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Digital solutions to measuring wellbeing in schools, such as BounceTogether, are designed for efficiency and to save the precious time of teaching staff (not to mention the mountains of paper often used to deliver surveys in schools).

Our validated surveys, which have been developed by researchers and tested, cover 12 categories of wellbeing, are age-appropriate and designed to be delivered in the school environment.

You’ll also benefit from instant access to segmented data and presentation-ready reports at the touch of a button.  

Not enough budget

This leads us neatly onto the topic of budget. There’s no getting away from the huge restrictions schools face on their budgets. This has, of course, always been the case but none more so than in recent years with the impact of Covid.

But, when you think that some estimations calculate a typical secondary school spend of £60,000 per year on photocopying, allocating a fraction of that to measuring wellbeing doesn’t seem too unreasonable.  

Add to that the knowledge that, in the long-run, you will preserve your budget through more effective and focussed interventions, as well as saving the time of your teaching staff, it really is a no-brainer.

Take a look at our pricing packages to see what you can get for your money.  

Not sure what to do with the results?

So, you’ve run a paper survey across all year groups, the results have been collected and the administrative team has helped you to input that data into a giant spreadsheet. What next?

We hear so often about the excruciating process of having to crunch the numbers and interpret data which then needs to be turned into something digestible for your SLT or Governors. This method can so often lead to mis-interpretation of the data and, in some cases, complete abandonment of the exercise.

That’s why BounceTogether’s instant reporting is a complete game-changer. Results are collated in a presentation-ready format at the touch of a button with the ability to segment key audiences such as year groups, individuals, SEN or EAL children. Download our sample report to see for yourself.

“What we did not expect was how accessible the data would be once it was collated. The individual pupils, as well as the whole class profile, is clearly visible on the platform making measuring wellbeing easy and achievable…It really was an eye opener!” Soofia Amin, Assistant Head Kensington Primary School

If you're still struggling to get started with measuring wellbeing at your school, give our friendly team a call to see how we can help you.

Want more on how to measure wellbeing effectively in schools? Take a look at our Measurements Do's and Don'ts for our best-practice guide.

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