Wellbeing in Schools

Everyone knows that wellbeing is particularly important to children and young people. It is thought to influence the way in which an individual copes with key life events such as stress, trauma and physical ill-health.

Here we share the secrets to supporting and promoting wellbeing.

Building a positive wellbeing culture can help lead to a virtuous cycle.

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Attainment/Exam Results

Children with higher levels of emotional, behavioural, social and school wellbeing, on average, have higher levels of academic achievement and are more engaged in school, both concurrently and in later years.
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Readiness to Learn and Engagement

When children look after their mental health and develop their coping skills it can help them to boost their resilience, self-esteem and confidence. It can also help them learn to settle themselves, feel calm, and engage positively with their education.
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Feeling Safe and Decision Making

Not only are those with better mental wellbeing likely to deal better with stressful events and recover more quickly from illness, but they are also less likely to engage in behaviours which may put their health at risk.
"Children's mental wellbeing is so vitally important. Happier children learn more and are much more likely to reach their potential" - @actionforhappiness
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Support in School

A whole-school approach to wellbeing

Below you will find 8 key actions that schools can take to embed a whole-school approach to promoting emotional health and wellbeing.

Leadership and Management

Support from the senior leadership team is essential to ensure that efforts to promote emotional health and wellbeing are accepted and embedded. Having a governor with knowledge and understanding of emotional health and wellbeing issues is highly desirable in championing organisation-wide practices.

Links to the Ofsted Inspection Framework

One of the four key Ofsted judgements is “the quality of leadership in, and management of the school”. Schools have to demonstrate how effectively leadership and management enable all pupils to overcome specific barriers to learning, for example through effective use of the pupil premium and sports premium, and the extent to which leaders and managers create a positive ethos in the school.

The framework also specifies that schools should demonstrate capacity for further improvement, for example by working in partnership with other schools, early years providers, external agencies and the community; as well as by engaging with parents.

Student Voice

Involving students in decisions that impact on them can benefit their emotional health and wellbeing by helping them to feel part of the school and wider community and to have some control over their lives.

At an individual level, benefits include helping students to gain belief in their own capabilities, including building their knowledge and skills to make healthy choices and developing their independence. Collectively, students benefit through having opportunities to influence decisions, to express their views and to develop strong social networks.

Links to the Ofsted Inspection Framework

Ofsted Inspectors must have regard to the views of pupils. When assessing the level of behaviour and safety in schools, inspections should look at a small sample of case studies in order to evaluate the experience of particular individuals and groups, including disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs, looked after children and those with mental health needs

Staff Development

It is important for staff to access training to increase their knowledge of emotional wellbeing and to equip them to be able to identify mental health difficulties in their students. This includes being able to refer them to relevant support either within the school or from external services.

The report of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Task force recommends that staff working with children and young people in universal settings, including schools, should receive training in children and young people’s development and behaviours but should not be expected to replace specialist services.

Links to the Ofsted Inspection Framework

The quality of teaching is a key judgement area for Ofsted. The inspection criteria refers to the importance of ensuring that all teaching staff benefit from appropriate professional development and that performance is rigorously managed

Identifying need and monitoring impact

There are a variety of tools that education settings can use as the basis for understanding and planning a response to pupils’ emotional health and wellbeing needs.

Defining pupil need on a more formal basis can help to inform commissioning decisions at school level, across clusters of schools or at a local authority level. It is equally important to be able to record and monitor the impact of any support that is put in place

Links to the Ofsted Inspection Framework

When inspecting the quality of leadership in and management of the school Ofsted inspectors should consider the effectiveness of monitoring and evaluation and the extent to which it is shared with governors. They should also consider how well the school meets the needs of all vulnerable groups of pupils

Working with parents/carers

The family plays a key role in influencing children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing.

There is strong evidence that well implemented universal and targeted interventions supporting parenting and family life that offer a combination of emotional, parenting and practical life circumstances (combining drug, alcohol and sex education, for example) have the potential to yield social as well as economic benefits.

Links to the Ofsted Inspection Framework

The Ofsted inspection criteria expects schools to be engaging parents in supporting pupils’ achievement, behaviour and safety and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

Targetted Support

Some children and young people are at greater risk of experiencing poorer mental health. For example those who are in care, young carers, those who have had previous access to CAMHS, those living with parents/carers with a mental illness and those living in households experiencing domestic violence.

Delays in identifying and meeting emotional wellbeing and mental health needs can have far reaching effects on all aspects of children and young people’s lives, including their chances of reaching their potential and leading happy and healthy lives as adults

Links to the Ofsted Inspection Framework

Ofsted inspectors will be interested in how monitoring ensures that individual children or groups of children with identified needs are targeted, and appropriate interventions are secured so that children receive the support they need, including through effective partnerships with external agencies and other providers.x

Ethos and Environment

The physical, social and emotional environment in which staff and students spend ahigh proportion of every week day has been shown to affect their physical, emotionaland mental health and wellbeing as well as impacting on attainment.

Relationships between staff and students, and between students, are critical inpromoting student wellbeing and in helping to engender a sense of belonging to and liking of school or college.

Links to the Ofsted Inspection Framework

When judging behaviour and safety Ofsted looks for evidence of a positive ethos that fosters improvements in the school as well as the promotion of safe practices and a culture of safety

Curriculum, teaching and learning

Pupils and students are more likely to engage in lessons that focus on emotional wellbeing if they are of practical application and relevant to them. There are a range of ways of getting insights into pupil need ranging from validated assessment tools to feedback from existing fora such as school councils or local area youth councils. Assessment of learning is important and both teachers and pupils will want to know that what has been taught has been learnt, and that learning is progressing.

Links to the Ofsted Inspection Framework

The quality of teaching in the school is a key Ofsted judgement area. The inspection criteria states that the role of teaching is to promote learning and the acquisition of knowledge by pupils and to raise achievement, but also to promote the pupils’ spiritual,moral, social and cultural development.

Download the FREE Toolkit

Building on the 8 principals above, the Schools' Wellbeing Partnership have produced a toolkit sharing practical ways that you can support your mental wellbeing within your whole school community.
Get the Toolkit


The 5-ways of wellbeing is a concept from the New Economics Foundation, which list 5 simple things that we can all do to improve our emotional health and wellbeing.
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BounceTogether believe that by purposefully and strategically measuring wellbeing, you can create a virtuous cycle that improves outcomes for pupils/students.

What do other organisations say?

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Department for Education
"Schools should collect routine outcome data to assess the impact of counselling on the child or young person and the effectiveness of the service as a whole"
"Assessing and responding to learners' emotional health and wellbeing needs, and their impact on the capacity to learn, relates to all key judgement areas"
"Mental health needs can change over time, so taking a regular ‘temperature check’ or snapshot of everyone in school is crucial"
Public Health England
"In order to quantify, compare and map any change within a population’s mental wellbeing we must first be able to measure it. An individual’s own perspective of their mental wellbeing is crucial. This raises particular issues when looking at the mental wellbeing of children and young people"

How can BounceTogether help you?

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By simply benchmarking and creating a 'temperature check', we help you understand your starting point and the unique issues that are facing your pupils and staff
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Easily assess and prove the impact of interventions
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Support staff in relation to their own health and wellbeing
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Save hours of staff time, enabling you to focus on the interventions, not data collection
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Work in partnership with parents and carers to promote emotional health and wellbeing

Validated Measures

Bounce comes equipped with validated
measures/questionnaires that have been designed and researched by academics around the world. Choose one to use in your school and start collecting the results immediately.

If you already use a survey in school that isn't listed then you can add that too.
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You can view the results as soon as surveys are completed and the answers can be seen at school and class level, as well by key demographics.

If you want to perform your own analysis then you can do that too but you will probably find our template reports sufficient!
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Want to know more? Book a free online demo.

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This video, presented by Adrian Bethune from Teachappy, shares information about how you can measure wellbeing in your school!

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If you would like to see how BounceTogether can help you measure wellbeing in your school, we suggest you arrange an online demo with one of the team.
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