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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.