What is 'Being Well'?

A ‘Being Well’ school is a place where pupils, staff and the school community have many opportunities in all aspects of the school experience to foster their physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual and intellectual development.

A holistic “Being Well” approach works with all staff, pupils, parents and partners from education sectors and the broader community supporting children to develop “healthy” habits that will last a lifetime. A school can do this by adopting a whole school approach to Being Well.

‘Wellness is a state of health in both body, mind and social well being, not just the absence of disease or infirmity’ WHO. We need our children to be well in all areas.

Being Well is not  just about the physical body. All these areas are important and when they are combined and looked after, a person is able to live their life to the happiest and fullest. If one area is not looked after then there is a chance that all areas will be affected.

Being Human

A Being Well school is based upon the human principles of equality, dignity, respect, non discrimination and participation. In a “Being Well” school, its people should put human principles and rights at the heart of its culture and ethos to improve “Being Well” for all.

It’s people should develop every person’s talents and abilities to the fullest.

A Being Well school is a community where Human Rights are learned and known by all,

  • taught to all
  • practiced and promoted by all
  • respected by all
  • protected by all.

All people in the school community put human principles and rights into practice all the time.

The Need

Ghandi said “we must be the change that we want to see in the World” and what a world we find ourselves living in!!  Children in schools now need a whole school approach to “Being Well” more than ever! Blended teaching and learning on-line and social distancing means that children must be taught the skills of “being human” and “being well”, they are essential in this new age of technology.

Recent research from CAHMS and the NHS tells us that there is a trend of increased levels of stress and lower levels of wellbeing in our children and young people. Their services are overwhelmed with referrals for children and young people with mental health problems, only one in four get the treatment that they need and deserve. A United Nations study ranks the UK as 24th out of 29 Countries for educational wellbeing.

Education and school systems need to balance academic learning and emotional well-being. Children cannot learn if they are not well. Childhood mental health problems can affect academic development and achievement and often have long term consequences for their health, social and employment outcomes. 

Our children deserve the best possible opportunities and start in life to prepare them for the academic and emotional challenges of their New World. To focus on promoting well being and building resilience and good mental health will benefit children, young people and the nation as a whole.

Children spend over 7,800 hours at school over the course of their education. Schools must provide the “ideal” environment for promoting good emotional wellbeing and identify signs of stress and anxiety at an early stage. Consistent, safe, protective and therapeutic environments help children to cope.

Whole school approaches are most effective in promoting Being Well, these approaches can improve pupils, staff and parents wellbeing and have a positive impact on prevention and reduction of mental health and behavioural problems.

By a whole school approach I mean involving everyone in the school community from volunteers, cooks, cleaners, pupils, parents, all staff and Governors.

It’s all about strategy, leadership and the systems and structures of a school. Everyone should have the chance to understand what the school is about and also  have a chance to contribute to its journey.

All staff need training, just giving one teacher in a school training gives the impression that “Being Well” is a specialist issue where in fact everyone needs the same training. An understanding of Being Well and Being Human needs to be embedded throughout the school and requires upskilling the whole staff, pupils and parents.