Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Some might believe that the term wellbeing just means a state of constant happiness. While that would be nice, it’s not realistic. The confusion grows when discussing pupil wellbeing.
Wellbeing is actually about having a balance between the different elements of your health. It’s also about being able to take control and responsibility for yourself and your wellness.
Schools have the opportunity to help young people learn how to do that at a young age. While it is a challenge, teachers and school staff can have a longer-lasting and more positive impact when they have an ongoing and measurable strategy for promoting pupil wellbeing.
The more capable pupils are of taking charge of their wellbeing when they’re young, the more they will flourish as adults.
Miff Martinek, the founder of This Is Me, explains what the elements of pupil wellbeing are, why each of them is essential, and how schools can help pupils develop and improve them for more balanced mental wellness.
What is pupil wellbeing?
What are the three elements of wellbeing?
How do the three elements relate to good mental health?
How can we promote better pupil wellbeing?
How can schools get involved?
What is Pupil Wellbeing?
When we talk about the wellbeing of our pupils, we want to understand how they’re feeling. We also want to learn how that impacts their experiences while in school and how that impacts them moving forward.
For us to be able to change it and positively influence it, it needs to be ongoing. It should be something that is measurable, and it needs to be an approach that takes in all aspects of their wellbeing.
What are the Three Elements of Wellbeing?
So, for all of us, we have three key elements of our wellbeing.
Those three elements are:
Our physical wellbeing,
Our mental wellbeing,
And lastly, our social wellbeing.
Our ability to thrive and enjoy life tends to be influenced by all three of these. The more aligned they are, the more we feel like we’re in a good place with all of them.
In schools, we need to make sure that teachers and staff are able to deliver on each of these elements for their pupils. To increase positive wellbeing in young people, they should provide opportunities to look after their pupils’ physical, mental, and social wellbeing.
Most importantly, it needs to be ongoing and continuous.
How do the Three Elements Relate to Good Mental Health?
So without these three key elements of our wellbeing and without feeling like we’re confidently managing these elements, we are going to struggle.
It will be difficult to have positive experiences in school. Pupils who don’t have these elements in place will struggle to have positive mental health and thrive, both while they are still in school and for the entireties of their future.
How Can We Promote Better Pupil Wellbeing?
Well, there are two sides to this: one being what the school is able to offer, and the other being what the pupils are taking up.
So, the school needs to offer these wellbeing experiences. They want to be able to engage young people in actively managing their wellbeing.
But what we also need are pupils who have developed the desire and the knowledge that they’ve got control of their wellbeing. They need the opportunity to learn that they can positively impact it themselves.
This ability is called an internal locus of control.
We want young people to take full control and responsibility for their wellbeing and not be intimidated by that. Knowing that they can actively take care of themselves, they’ll be better able to thrive more while in school and once they are at the other end of school.
When young people can thrive, they can go on to make a really big impact on the world.
How Can Schools Get Involved?
A school needs to be ready to really focus on pupil wellbeing. They’ll need to put in a concentrated effort to change their wellbeing for the rest of their lives and understand the tools they need to drive that wellbeing forward.
With that focus and effort in mind, they have the opportunity to potentially work with me and my team.
We are only able to take a handful of schools each term, and we help them build a wellbeing strategy that is focused on accountability and taking charge of that wellbeing narrative.
If you want to explore how pupil mentoring can improve wellbeing in your school within the Hereford and Wiltshire area, I'd love to hear from you.