Dimension: health and wellbeing

This dimension is part of the Positive Climate for Learning priority.

Definition

  • Health and wellbeing programs have a positive and significant impact on attitudes to learning, social relationships and student achievement. Effective schools take steps to support students' wellbeing and physical needs, as well as fostering a sense of community and belonging for all. They use social and emotional learning approaches to develop students' self-management and awareness, empathy and relationship skills. Schools ensure that every student has a secure, positive and ongoing relationship with at least one member of staff.
  • Teachers incorporate social and emotional learning programs into their classroom to improve a range of student outcomes, including student wellbeing and achievement. Learning is reinforced when the broader school environment is consistent with the knowledge, understanding and skills taught through the Health and Physical Education curriculum as well as the Respectful Relationships program which supports students to make decisions about their health, wellbeing and safety.
  • A healthy school environment for staff, students and families is developed through health promoting school policies and processes, supportive physical and social environments and partnerships with parents, community organisations and specialist services.

Essential Elements

A number of elements are essential to enable effective work within the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes. Eight Essential Elements form the foundation upon which improvement is built. The Essential Elements for Health and wellbeing are:

Essential Element 4: Student voice, leadership and agency in own learning activated so students have positive school experiences and can act as partners in school improvement.

Essential Element 5: Whole-school approach to health, wellbeing, inclusion and engagement.

The Essential Elements are evident at the Evolving stage of each Continuum (below) and are further articulated in the Embedding and Excelling stages in some dimensions.

Continuum

The Continuum for Health and wellbeing describes a range of proficiency levels (Emerging, Evolving, Embedding and Excelling) that assists principals and teachers to identify areas of practice that require attention in order to deliver improved student outcomes.

Component: The school strengthens the social and emotional wellbeing of students

Emerging

The school has developed and documented a health and wellbeing policy. Teachers understand the importance of the social and emotional growth of their students and limit anti-social behaviour by implementing clear classroom expectations. The school provides parents/carers with information about its social and emotional learning programs and its expectations for student behaviour.

Evolving

The school’s health, wellbeing, inclusion and engagement programs and policies are well understood by staff and reviewed periodically. Students and parents have opportunities to contribute. The school supports the development of its students by teaching discrete social and emotional learning programs and consistently reinforcing pro-social behaviours. The school engages parents/carers and students at both individual and group levels in determining the social behaviours expected of students.

Embedding

The school’s health, wellbeing, inclusion and engagement programs and policies are reviewed regularly. Students and parents are involved in planning for improvement. The school ensures that its curriculum plan includes social and emotional health units which are taught explicitly. The school works with families and community groups to develop students’ social and emotional health, and to plan consistent and complementary approaches within and beyond the school.

Excelling

The school takes a whole-school approach to health and wellbeing. It engages with students, parents/carers and community health specialists to plan, evaluate and improve health and wellbeing policies and programs. The school has audited its whole-school curriculum plan to ensure that social and emotional health are taught explicitly and integrated across the curriculum. Teachers use behavioural interventions as opportunities for teaching and reinforcement. The school uses a range of data, including student and parent feedback, to regularly review the effectiveness of student wellbeing programs.

Component: The school addresses the physical health needs of students

Emerging

The school curriculum plan addresses the importance of healthy eating, physical exercise, self-protection (drug aversion) and self-management (e.g. sleep, hygiene). The school creates a positive environment that promotes the physical health of students.

Evolving

Staff support and model healthy practices included in the curriculum plan, such as healthy eating and participating in physical exercise. The school program allows for opportunities for all students to participate in physical activity.

Embedding

The school implements programs to reinforce healthy lifestyle messages. It provides information to parents/carers on issues surrounding good physical health such as the importance of healthy eating and physical exercise and encourages them to reinforce these attitudes at home. The school establishes links with community services to support the delivery of the physical health curriculum and the specific health needs of individual students.

Excelling

The school demonstrates a whole-school approach to addressing student physical health. This is reflected in their curriculum plan, programs, facilities and interactions between students and staff. The school actively engages with community health organisations and specialists in planning and delivering the physical health curriculum and supporting individual student’s needs.

Component: The school addresses the psychological and social wellbeing of students

Emerging

The school demonstrates a whole-school approach to addressing student physical health. This is reflected in their curriculum plan, programs, facilities and interactions between students and staff. The school actively engages with community health organisations and specialists in planning and delivering the physical health curriculum and supporting individual student’s needs.

Evolving

The school’s curriculum plan includes positive self-identity and self-management strategies. Cognitive strategies to enhance psychological wellbeing are integrated across the curriculum. Teachers work collaboratively to reflect on their practice and to identify opportunities to increase student engagement. Some staff are trained to identify students requiring referral to trained professionals to support their psychological and social wellbeing.

Embedding

Staff have consistent understandings and regular engagement with the school’s health, wellbeing, inclusion and engagement policy. The school partners with parents/carers to develop students’ cognitive strategies for self-management. The school ensures that each student has at least one ongoing relationship with a member of staff, such as a home group teacher. Staff are trained to recognise indicators of potential mental health issues experienced by students, and in strategies to promote positive thinking and behaviour.

Excelling

The school takes a whole-school approach and works with community organisations that support mental health. Students use cognitive strategies to initiate positive changes in the school, their home and social environments. All teachers build positive relationships with students which reinforce each student’s self-worth and abilities. The school is a visible and active supporter of healthy norms and behaviours in the local community. Its approach to student well-being is closely connected to local circumstances and needs.

Component: The school supports students to realise their potential

Emerging

The school has a documented framework of behaviour, attitudes and expectations based on the school’s vision and values that supports student wellbeing and encourages all students to reach their potential.

Evolving

Students can articulate the high expectations teachers have set for them and the steps they need to take to reach their potential. The school explores strategies to build student resilience. Students value the opportunities provided by the school to contribute to their learning.

Embedding

The school works with parents/carers to ensure that their children are supported to reach their potential. Teacher support, encouragement and challenge helps build a culture of high expectations for all. The school proactively involves students in decision-making.

Excelling

The school empowers all students regardless of their circumstances or background to realise their potential. Students hold high aspirations for themselves and their peers and support each other to realise these high expectations.

Printable resource

Continuum as an A3 print out (pdf - 225.48kb)

Case studies

To see examples of how schools in Victoria are implementing the FISO dimension: Health and wellbeing see Health and wellbeing case studies.

Evidence base

To view the Evidence Base for the FISO dimension: Empowering students and building school pride see Evidence- Health and wellbeing.

FAQs

Why should my school engage with this dimension?
  • Health and well-being programs have a positive and significant impact on attitudes to learning, social relationships in school and student achievement
  • The most common aims of social and emotional learning programs are to increase social skills or decrease anti-social behaviour
  • Research shows there are beneficial effects of health and wellbeing programs across seven different outcomes: social skills, anti-social behaviour, substance abuse, positive self-image, academic achievement, mental health, and pro-social behaviour
To what extent is this dimension being implemented in my school?
  • Consider the evidence you have that the school is sensitive to the health and wellbeing needs of its students and staff.
What can my school focus on?

Successful school health and wellbeing initiatives including:

  • development of whole school health and wellbeing policy
  • planning based on health assessments and review of data
  • resourcing for successful implementation.
What does successful implementation look like?
  • Curriculum includes specific, age-appropriate curriculum elements on health and the body, healthy eating, forms of physical exercise and fitness, self-management and self-protection
  • The physical setting and school policies promote safe and healthy behaviours with regard to nutrition, exercise and sun protection for students and school personnel
  • Every child has a secure, positive and ongoing relationship with at least one member of staff
  • Staff are mindful of actual or potential mental health issues of individual students, and seek to help them with these issues as they arise
  • Social emotional programs involve a classroom component with a parent component to improve conduct problems, emotional distress and academic performance
  • Health promotion or preventative programs simultaneously focus on the behaviour of children, teachers and families, as well as the relationship between home and school.
What strategies and actions can my school implement?
  • Schools discuss health issues such as opportunities for physical exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep with families and communities
  • Schools audit curriculum programs to determine the extent to which teaching aspects of social and emotional health are integrated throughout the curriculum
  • Schools engage parents at both individual and group levels in determining the social behaviours expected of students.