Head teachers hail emergence of Well Schools

Head teachers from 30 schools have committed to put wellbeing at the heart of their schools in a bid to address declining physical and emotional wellbeing in classrooms across the country.

With young people and teachers’ wellbeing on a downward spiral, exacerbated by the Coronavirus crisis, head teachers from all corners of the UK have come together to create a movement for change across all schools and help them improve the wellbeing and achievement of every child.

Since the Well Schools concept was launched by children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust in February, heads and teachers have not let the current lockdown stop them from progressing plans. Schools have joined the virtual meetings to shape Well Schools, share ideas to drive change and give pupils the tools they need for life.

Ben Levinson, Head Teacher at Kensington Primary School in Newham and part of the Well Schools board, said:

Well Schools is a welcome relief in the current climate. From the first moment I heard about it, I felt it captured what children need in education and reflected what my school is trying to achieve. As a profession we are seeing good teachers leave from stress and too much focus on academic results. We are seeing unhappy and underprepared children.

If we are to address this, health needs to be at the heart of schools. We need a school led self-improvement system, coming from those staff working at the coalface. We have a moral imperative to our staff and young people to get this right.

We live in a rapidly changing world. Just 20 years ago I didn’t have an email address or a mobile phone, now so much has changed. We are preparing children for a world that is unknown to us. I am excited about what Well Schools has the potential to be. We need to do something better for our children and staff when it comes to education and how we go about it in this country.

The Well Schools movement is characterised by a commitment to celebrate wider educational outcomes alongside exam results. It is in response to research released earlier this year which revealed parents’ appetite for schools to focus on young people’s physical, social and emotional wellbeing above all else.

Lisa Fathers, Director of Teaching School & Partnerships at The Alliance for Learning has been invited to chair the new Board as she has unrivalled experience, expertise, passion for this area of work and a personal commitment to the mission of Well Schools. She said:

I am really excited to have been asked to be the Chair of Well Schools. Wellbeing is at the core of what makes a good school, and nothing is more important than children being happy and healthy. Although the last few months have been challenging for families and schools, I think it can be a good thing to help us re-focus on what is important and what matters.

Already, we have made amazing progress by holding a virtual meeting with 30 schools to discuss ideas and next steps. I am proud to have been appointed chair of the newly formed Board and look forwards to helping to keep our vision and mission on track for Well Schools.

For more information on Well Schools and to register an interest to join the movement visit www.youthsporttrust.org/wellschool

Published on 16 June 2020