Forming a Wellbeing Action Group

 

As part of the Leadership and Management strand of the Wellbeing Audit, it is recommended that schools form a Wellbeing Action Group that fully represents the community of the school and will help to take actions forward.

The 'whole school approach' is underpinned by good leadership and schools make the greatest impact, across the whole spectrum of school life, when they have a team approach to leading this work. The Wellbeing Action Group will also contain designated members of staff who will may have a more specialist role in helping to identify need, provide advice and allocate appropriate support.

 

 

Recruiting your group

Leadership teams and task force groups are not unfamiliar to schools. Most settings have similar structures in place to drive forward projects. The difference with the Wellbeing Action Group is that the focus of this group is on wellbeing and therefore recruiting should be done with sensitivity and care i.e. ensure that people are interested and committed to improving health and wellbeing, that they understand and try to model emotionally literate behaviours and there should also be a proviso that the group may sometimes touch on delicate topics. 

 

Who should be included?

Ideally, your WAG should be made up of individuals that represent the different groups within your school and those that may have a interest or role that links to the eight principles of the whole school approach. Such as:

Leadership and Management - A member of SLT and/or Governor

Ethos and Environment - A pastoral lead, safeguarding lead or someone that leads activities or PE

Curriculum and Learning - A member of the teaching staff that leads PSHE/Health Education

Staff Wellbeing and Development - A member of staff in addition to above

Parent Involvement - Parent and Parent Governor

Pupil Participation - Children or Young People reps

Identifying Needs - SENCO and/or Designated Wellbeing Lead and any additional staff that have a wellbeing role within the school

Targeted Support - Parent and Family Support Advisor, School Nurse, ELSA and school counsellor

Additional people that you should be involved: a member of SHARE Team, Educational Psychologist (virtual), support staff, lunchtime staff, a member of the admin team.

 

What will the group do?

The Wellbeing Action Group is developed to lead and support the school on its journey to a whole school approach to wellbeing.

 

To do this the group will need to:

  • Set terms of reference that include; a shared understanding of wellbeing, clearly identified areas of success and need, actions for the school year, agreed dates on which to review and monitor progress which is then fed back to the wider school community.
  • Meet regularly - at least every 6 weeks
  • Update the Wellbeing Audit
  • Develop sub-groups linked to identified areas of development
  • Employ creative practices as part of each meeting including; checking in, setting ground rules, using varied and stimulating activities to generate ideas, enabling contributions from everyone and making time to check out.
  • Celebrate success and achievements by updating online scrap books linked to the Pillars of Wellbeing in addition to school-based events such as celebration assemblies, noticeboards, etc.
  • Submit progress to Public Health for quality assurance when appropriate

Tools for the job

  • The Wellbeing Audit - register on the Public Health website and affiliate to a Somerset schools (See Getting Started with the Wellbeing Framework
  • Local area and school-based data - to improve the emotional wellbeing of staff and pupils in your school your group will need to identifying what the needs are. For further details of the unique data and information you can use to generate discussion go to:Understanding the Issues in your school
  • Training and networking - Public Health and the organisations that we commission provide school staff with a range of training twilights and network meetings where designated wellbeing can learn more about mental health and wellbeing such as Emotion Coaching, LIFEbeat, Youth Mental Health First Aid and specialist led Mental Health workshops. Go to: Training and Support
  • Online resources and links - Public Health hosts the Mental Health Toolkit which has been developed to provide schools and CYP staff with information, resources, online training and details of organisations to support children and young people's mental health. We recommend that members of the Wellbeing Action Group are given time to explore the toolkit as part of their induction to the group.
  • Parents - parent drop-ins/focus groups or a parent questionnaire to get feedback from families.
  • Partners - Make links with other schools in your federation or local area to let them know you are adopting a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. Secondary schools are working with the SHARE project over the next 3 years they might be hosting of running training that other schools might benefit from. The project continues into its second year in the autumn 2018 with 13 schools already identified for Cohort 2. For further details contact: Fiona Martin, Team Administrator (Somerset Partnership):
  • Educational Psychology Service - It is unlikely that an education psychologist will be able to join all of your Wellbeing Action Group meetings but they will be a good source of resources and information and may well take on an advisory role. It's a good idea to let them know what you are developing around emotional health and wellbeing. For further information contact Senior Educational Psychologist: Sam Hutton (East)  

Developing a Shared Understanding of Wellbeing in your School:

All members of the school community should be involved in helping to develop shared understanding of wellbeing.

 

Words for Wellbeing - what does it mean to be emotionally healthy? Come up with words that describe wellbeing


What does Wellbeing look like? - Think up a fictional character who is emotionally healthy. Draw a quick picture of your character and in thought bubbles around the outside of the picture, with words or drawings, answer the following questions:


 How would you describe this person?
 Who are they close to?
 What do they do in their spare time?
 What are they like at school?
 How does this person deal with problems?
 How do they keep themselves emotionally healthy?

 

Share their fictional characters with the other groups and decide between them a definition of what we mean by ‘emotional wellbeing’. Write this down and come up with some bullet points to help clarify.


An example:


Broadly, emotional wellbeing refers to the way a person thinks and feels about themselves and others. It includes being able to adapt and deal with daily challenges (resilience and coping skills) while leading a fulfilling life.
Emotional wellbeing includes being happy and confident, but nobody can feel happy all the time.
People with good wellbeing can problem-solve, manage emotions, experience empathy, be resilient and attentive. They also have good relationships with others.