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WELLBEING FOR SUCCESS: EFFECTIVE PRACTICE MARCH 2016 www.ero.govt.nz Youth Mental Health Project The Prime Minister’s Wellbeing for success: effective practice Published 2016 © Crown copyright ISBN 978-0-478-43836-9 Except for the Education Review Office and Youth Mental Health Project logos this copyright work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence. In essence, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt the work, as long as you attribute the work to the Education Review Office and abide by the other licence terms. In your attribution, use the wording ‘Education Review Office’, not the Education Review Office logo or the New Zealand Government logo. Foreword How children and young people feel at school has a major impact on how confident they are and how well they learn. There is no single measure for wellbeing, but the factors that contribute to it are interrelated and interdependent. Most children and young people enjoy school, thrive and succeed. But for some, negative experiences, behaviours or emotions during the passage from childhood to adulthood can affect their wellbeing and lead to long-term negative consequences. In 2012 the Prime Minister launched the Youth Mental Health Project, which aims to help prevent the development of mental health issues and improve young people’s access to youth mental health services. The Education Review Office (ERO) has contributed a series of evaluations and resources to this project. Wellbeing for success: effective practice gives leaders, teachers and trustees examples of what works and why. We have also published Wellbeing for success: a resource for schools, which helps schools evaluate and improve student wellbeing. Together these build on and extend our previous work and reflect and complement the wellbeing components of the School Evaluation Indicators. These publications will help leaders, teachers and trustees to better understand and respond to wellbeing challenges and to promote wellbeing for our children and young people. Looking after their wellbeing will support every student to become a confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learner. Iona Holsted Chief Review Officer Education Review Office March 2016 1 Wellbeing for success: effective practice. March 2016 Contents Introduction 4 Promoting and responding to student wellbeing 5 Schools with good wellbeing practices 6 Culture of wellbeing 6 Wellbeing in the curriculum 10 Student leadership, agency and voice 12 Systems, people and initiatives 17 Responding to specific wellbeing needs and concerns 22 Conclusion 26 Appendix 1: Methodology 27 Appendix 2: Guiding principles for student wellbeing 28 Appendix 3: Information about wellbeing programmes and initiatives 29 3 Wellbeing for success: effective practice. March 2016 Introduction Wellbeing is vital for student success and is strongly linked to learning.1,2 New Zealand and international research shows that many school factors influence student success. Although there is no single measure for student wellbeing, the factors that contribute to it are interrelated and interdependent. For example, a student’s sense of achievement and success is enhanced when they feel safe and secure at school. This in turn lifts their confidence to try new challenges, strengthening their resilience. In April 2012, the Prime Minister launched the Youth Mental Health Project, with initiatives across a number of education, social and health agencies. The project aims to improve outcomes for young people aged 12 to 19 years with, or at risk of developing, mild to moderate mental health issues. These outcomes include improved: > mental health > resilience > access to youth-friendly health care services. In 2014, the Education Review Office (ERO) undertook an evaluation of the extent to which schools were promoting and responding to student wellbeing. The findings were published in the following reports: > Wellbeing for Children’s Success at Primary School (February 2015) > Wellbeing for Young People’s Success at Secondary School (February 2015) This effective practice report provides further detail about practices in selected schools (see methodology in Appendix 1) that promote wellbeing for all students, and describes how these schools respond when concerns, issues or events require more targeted support. This report complements an ERO resource developed for schools to help them improve student wellbeing. Wellbeing for success: a resource for schools describes the practices in schools that effectively promote and respond to student wellbeing. 1 Noble, T. and Wyatt., T. (2008). Scoping Study into Approaches to Student Wellbeing. Final Report. Canberra. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. 2 Mullis, I., Martin, M., Foy, P., & Arora, A. (2012). TIMSS 2011 International Results in Mathematics. Chapter 6. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College. Education Review Office 4 Promoting and responding to student wellbeing Developing a positive school culture is vital for achieving the desired outcomes for student wellbeing. Schools promote a culture of wellbeing by making their vision, values, goals and priorities part of their curriculum and associated learning and teaching practices. The capability to respond well to a particular event is often determined by the way in which the school’s culture of wellbeing enables and supports leaders and teachers to respond. ERO’s report Wellbeing for Young People’s Success at Secondary School (February, 2015) describes the ways in which schools addressed student wellbeing, modifying the Intervention Triangle3 as a ‘promoting and responding triangle’ (Figure 1) that describes the provision of support for all students and for particular groups of students. Figure 1: The promoting and responding triangle This report focuses on the first two tiers: promoting wellbeing for all students; and responding to wellbeing issues as they arise. Having a strong culture of wellbeing provides the foundation for schools’ responses to issues and crises. 3 CASEL. (2008). Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Student Benefits: Implications for the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Core Elements. Washington DC: National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, Education Development Center. Highly skilled adults who often need to work with outside agencies to provide support for students: Guidance counsellor School health practitioners All adults provide support for students that has been developed through the care system: Classroom teachers Form teachers/deans Co-curricular teachers All adults provide guidelines for students to make good choices: Classroom teachers Form teachers/deans Co-curricular teachers Having systems to notice and respond to individual high risk issues: An example includes self harm Having systems to notice and respond to issues: Examples include assessment overload and bullying School values Curriculum: Includes learning areas, co-curricular activities and leadership opportunities Responding to a crisis (a few students) Responding to issues (some students, some times) Promoting wellbeing (all students, all times) 5 Wellbeing for success: effective practice. March 2016 Schools with good wellbeing practices The schools with good wellbeing practices had common themes in their approach to promoting wellbeing for all students and responding to specific wellbeing concerns and issues. The motivation to do better was underpinned by the desire for school to be a good place for students. All of the schools focused on improvement for wellbeing. The following themes were clearly evident in the talk, actions and approaches to wellbeing in the schools with effective practice: > We can do better. > Improvement focus. > Recognising the need for a balanced focus on wellbeing and achievement. > Providing layers of support. > Systems, people and initiatives ‘wrap around’ students. > Making implicit school values explicit. > Schools using restorative practices. > We want the best for all of our students. These schools had carefully developed a culture of wellbeing. They recognised the need to plan for wellbeing in the curriculum. Students in these schools had opportunities to show leadership and have their opinions heard and acted on. Each school had the right systems, people and initiatives to fit their culture and their needs. Culture of wellbeing Improvement in students’ wellbeing often started with work to develop a school culture to support wellbeing. The schools with effective practice reviewed their school culture as part of their desire to improve wellbeing outcomes for all students in their school. Each school developed an agreed set of values to underpin the actions in their school. Most of the schools had worked with their community to do this. The process took time but was worthwhile as it meant that the community understood, owned and supported the culture of the school. Leaders developed a culture of wellbeing based on shared values and positive relationships throughout the school community. They managed the change in expectations, taking the school community with them. Their actions were based on the firm foundation of the shared values. Leaders were trusted, and kept students at the centre of all decisions. Restorative practices4 played a powerful part in establishing this culture, empowering students to lead, and take increasing responsibility for their actions. School leaders recognised the risk of a superficial approach to implementing restorative practices. Taking time to deeply understand the approach meant that restorative practices were effectively implemented and had a significant and enduring impact. Many schools had a focus on cultural sensitivity to ensure their school culture was inclusive. 4 Information on this, and other programmes and initiatives, can be found in Appendix 3. Education Review Office 6 Planning for wellbeing was a conscious action. The positive culture and values were embedded in the school, integrated into everything school leaders and teachers did – from strategic planning; development of policies; school systems; relationships throughout the community and into the classroom. Schools successfully promoting wellbeing had a clear vision of what they wanted for their students. Many had specific wellbeing goals in their strategic plans, with targets to work towards. Boards of trustees received regular reports on progress towards wellbeing goals and actions needed to enhance progress. Some boards set aside one meeting each month with a singular focus on wellbeing, while others had wellbeing as a regular agenda item. Principals made appointments carefully, considering how the personal qualities and strengths of applicants would support their culture of wellbeing. They regularly revisited the culture to strengthen it with existing staff and to make sure that new staff were clear about how they were expected to act in the school. These actions ensured ongoing sustainability and provided opportunities to refine the culture. In many of these schools, leaders described the changes as reframing ‘how we do things around here’ to promote and respond to student wellbeing. “Intimesofcrisisyougobacktowhatyoubelieve.Valuesandrestorativepractice (were)wellembeddedsotheywereagreatsupport.” –Principal Figure 2 highlights some of the key shifts schools were making to improve their school culture to one that more effectively promoted and responded to student wellbeing. Figure 2: School culture of wellbeing Focus From To Culture Adult focus. Punitive systems and approach to managing student behaviour. Student focus. Restorative approach that focuses on accountability, healing and needs.5 Values School values are implicit in intentions, planning and practices. School values are explicit and visible in all aspects of school operations and practices. Thinking Deficit thinking prevails in a culture of blame and negativity. The strengths and potential of students, teachers, parents and whänau is the focus for promoting and responding to wellbeing. Attitudes It is not easy or okay to ask for help. Asking for help is ‘normalised’ and encouraged. 5 Restorative Schools. (2009). Restorative Practice. Retrieved from www.restorativeschools.org.nz/restorative-practice. 7 Wellbeing for success: effective practice. March 2016 The following example shows how wellbeing was promoted by schools in a community working together to establish familiar, positive school cultures. The values were shared across the schools, supporting transitions between schools by providing students with continuity of expectations and a greater sense of belonging. Promoting wellbeing across a community The principal, new to the intermediate school in 2010, noted: > high levels of stand downs and suspensions > poor attendance > a decreasing student roll > graffiti and a poorly maintained school environment > systems that were more focused on adult wellbeing than student wellbeing > deficit views of some students and the wider community. The principal and deputy principal explored the possible underlying causes of these negative aspects of the school culture. They investigated: > the views of students, parents, teachers, school trustees and contributing schools > what other local schools were doing to build a positive school culture > how other school leaders were supported to improve their school’s culture > what the research showed. School leaders identified the causes of the issues at the school and, working across the cluster of local schools, found that many of the issues were common in other schools. They also identified the differences between the schools in terms of expectations for behaviour, the way they did things in the classrooms, and responses to wellbeing issues. They also recognised that these differences were unsettling for students moving from one school to another. School leaders decided to introduce Positive Behaviour for Learning6 (PB4L) schoolwide. This proved to be an important foundation to build on. It was a good fit for the school as it targeted the promotion of their desired behaviours, and provided for, and supported, culturally responsive and community based responses to wellbeing. All the schools in the cluster saw the sense in adopting PB4L as it was easier for schools with common values to work collaboratively. As a cluster, school leaders decided they needed to embed shared expectations in relation to values, key competencies and learning that were consistent across the local schools. The school worked with other local schools to develop shared common values for students across the wider education community. Members of the school cluster, including parents and whänau, agreed on ways to work together to establish a predictable environment. They worked together to develop a set of agreed values. 6 Information about this and other programmes can be found in Appendix 3. Education Review Office 8 Each school developed their own rubric to show what the values would look like in action. They shared their rubrics across the cluster, seeking external review and critique. This helped them to refine and strengthen their work as well as aligning it with other schools. Teachers were supported to use deliberate acts of teaching to engage students in the key competencies of the school’s values. They had a clear framework to help them identify the learning outcomes for students. Across the cluster, positive implementation of the values was recognised with classroom reward systems adopted schoolwide. Relationships were enhanced between the three contributing primary schools, the intermediate and the college. This was achieved by once-a-term meetings and the sharing of strategies to strengthen the impact of the PB4L framework. These cluster relationships provided opportunities for other teaching and learning activities such as moderation and sharing successful teaching approaches. PB4L team leaders were strong advocates for improvement and worked with the cluster to keep the model evolving. They supported ongoing dialogue to build group consensus and to establish a process for schools and teachers to review and improve their expectations and performance. These leaders recognised that the development of sustainable systems took time and required skilful leadership. Consistency in implementing the values was important in supporting greater community cohesion, particularly at a time of rapid local population and roll growth. The consistency of implementation of the values was monitored in each school and the data shared at term meetings. The data was analysed and actions determined to fine tune the implementation of the values. This in itself formed another cycle of review and improvement. Students and their families were regularly asked for their experience of the school culture. They had a strong shared understanding of the school values, regardless of which school they attended. This contributed to their sense of belonging in the wider community. Subsequently, as they moved from one setting to another, students experienced similar expectations for behaviour and so felt more secure. They had a greater sense of belonging than if the school cultures were different from each other. The shared values also promoted a deeper understanding of culturally responsive practices and place-based curriculum around the significance of local features to Mäori. Students experienced improved engagement and achievement outcomes and this was reflected in improved outcomes for students and accelerated progress for Mäori students. 9 Wellbeing for success: effective practice. March 2016 Wellbeing in the curriculum Student wellbeing is central to successfully implementing The New Zealand Curriculum. A focus on wellbeing ties together the curriculum’s vision, principles, values, key competencies and learning areas. Wellbeing clearly positions learners and their development as confident young people at the centre of what schools do.7 Schools that had good wellbeing practices recognised the importance of explicit teaching to achieve desired outcomes for students. School leaders promoted teaching practices that enabled students in each classroom and other learning groups to work as caring, inclusive and cohesive learning communities.8 Wellbeing values were consistently actioned in the curriculum, in relationships, and through celebrations. Values were taught explicitly and modelled by leaders, teachers and students. Curriculum opportunities for promoting wellbeing were planned for and mapped out. Particular consideration was given to the social, emotional and physical aspects of wellbeing. This involved teachers: > nurturing student dispositions that support their learning (for example, persistence, identity as learners) > teaching students how to support one another’s learning (for example, by giving explanations and peer feedback) > being seen by their students as caring about their learning (more than caring about them or simply liking them) > demonstrating a caring pedagogy that values and honours diversity > supporting student participation while engaging critically with students’ views, ideas and understandings > using debate rather than assertion to resolve intellectual conflict > organising the environment (for example, grouping students and designing tasks) to develop inclusive learning communities. 7 Education Review Office. (2015). Wellbeing for children’s success at primary school. Retrieved from www.ero.govt.nz. 8 For more information, see www.nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/layout/set/print/Principles/Inclusion/About. Education Review Office 10 School leaders recognised the importance of smooth transitions to enable students to settle into their new environment with minimal disruption to their learning. Strong relationships across the local education community allowed teachers to share information about students transitioning to school. Teachers were then better able to tailor the curriculum to meet their needs and students settled quickly to their learning. “Wellbeingdoesn’tstandalone.Itiswovenwithinandacrossthecurriculum. Ourvaluesarewellembeddedandcentraltoforming,developingandchanging relationships.” –Principal The following example describes the approach one school took to strengthen the way their curriculum was reviewed and adapted to better promote wellbeing for all students. Responsive curriculum This school recently moved towards a ‘negotiated curriculum’. The principal made it clear that it was not about conceding control to the students, but rather it was about levels of negotiation: “It’s not a free-for-all”. Teachers had the appropriate skills to negotiate a classroom curriculum that accounted for what they knew about students’ individual learning strengths, interests and needs. The curriculum looked different in each classroom depending on the teacher, the students’ abilities and year levels. It may have been as simple as identifying the ‘can do’ and ‘must do’ activities in the daily plan, or the teacher running a workshop for students to opt into. In this school, teachers were increasingly ‘de-privatising’ their teaching, for example, explaining the focus for a reading group. They might have identified several children to be part of the group and others could decide if they needed or wished to observe or participate. The senior leadership team (SLT) talked with students in classrooms to find out about their perceptions about teaching (not teachers) and their own learning. A set of questions was used as a discussion starter with students: > What does your teacher do to help you with your learning? > What does your teacher do that gets in the way of your learning? > Do you have goals for yourself that your teacher doesn’t know about? > Does your teacher know about all of your learning? The responses to the questions were analysed to identify themes and patterns. The SLT, alongside the classroom teacher, shared the findings with students in each class. The SLT stated there were big shifts in student choice in the curriculum. They described a class where the teacher structured the day around a series of workshops and one-to-one conferencing opportunities. It was not always the teacher leading workshops as students also had opportunities to be leader/teacher. Students at this school were included, involved, engaged, and invited to participate in curriculum decisions and to make positive contributions to their learning. 11 Wellbeing for success: effective practice. March 2016 Student leadership, agency and voice In the schools with good wellbeing practices, students had opportunities to develop confidence as leaders, learners and valued members of the school community. They actively contributed to the planning, implementation and review of wellbeing initiatives. Many schools adopted a tuakana teina9 approach to foster student-to-student relations. Leadership roles and responsibilities in these schools included mentoring, coaching, leading interest groups, and representing the school in the local community. In some schools, the curriculum was designed to enable students to explore their own leadership qualities and to reflect on leadership in different contexts. Students were viewed as inherently capable. Their views, ideas and decisions were sought and valued. They were trusted to take on the leadership roles that contributed to their wellbeing. The shifts in Figure 3 were evident in the schools where students were actively involved in promoting and improving their wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. Figure 3: Student leadership, agency and voice Focus From To Student voice Schools relying on surveys as the means to seek students’ perspectives. Schools using a range of ways to involve students in decision making and leadership of their wellbeing and learning (for example, focus groups, class discussions, Quality Circle Time10 and ‘think tanks’). Student leadership Leadership opportunities only available to an ‘elite’ group of students. Opportunities for all students to take on leadership roles and responsibilities. Student involvement in decision making Limited or no opportunities for students to make decisions about things that affect their wellbeing. Students actively involved in decisions that impact on their wellbeing through the curriculum, pastoral care processes and identification of wellbeing priorities. 9 Tuakana teina relationships are an integral part of traditional Mäori society. They provide a model for buddy systems where an older or more expert tuakana helps and guides a younger or less expert teina. 10 Information about Quality Circle Time, and other wellbeing programmes and initiatives, can be found in Appendix 3. Education Review Office 12 The following example highlights how one school provided opportunities for students to explore leadership through the curriculum. Developing student leadership The curriculum in Years 7 and 8 at this school had a very strong focus on developing students’ understanding of leadership qualities, and what qualities each student thought they could develop in themselves. Year 7 students were asked to think about possible leadership roles they could take in Year 8. The school’s curriculum helped them identify possible leaders to study, determining why they were good leaders and how the student could learn from them as they took on leadership roles themselves. School leaders worked with the students to ‘unpack’ leadership qualities. Guiding questions were used to promote discussion: > Who in your life has influenced you? > How can that inspire or help you to become a leader? The next example shows how a school responded constructively to an issue and promoted student participation in their local community. Students participating and contributing to their community The school became aware of an issue in the community where students were intimidating people at the local shops, asking for money and being rude to shopkeepers. The school responded by getting the students together with the shopkeepers and local Member of Parliament for a chat. The focus was on students and the shopkeepers getting to know each other as real people with identities and families, for example: “This is Tom, he is from…and he has a family.” It wasn’t about telling the students off, rather it was about building relationships and demonstrating school values beyond the school. Following this meeting, there were no more reports of students behaving negatively in the community. Students also had the opportunity to be involved in a local festival, appearing on stage and running stalls. The principal developed useful networks and involved himself in community groups. This enabled him to build strong knowledge of the community, its strengths and challenges. The school also maintained close contact with local sports clubs, and students were encouraged and supported to belong to sports teams and engage in out-of-school training and games. 13 Wellbeing for success: effective practice. March 2016