Last week, a not-for-profit UK healthcare organisation, Nuffield Health, has published the findings of a two-year pilot in wellbeing at Wood Green School in Witney, Oxfordshire. During the pilot, a dedicated ‘Head of Wellbeing’ was seconded to the school with the aim of providing “effective support and infrastructure, to improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of both pupils and staff”.
The Head of Wellbeing developed, implemented and evaluated a wide-ranging Health and Wellbeing Programme which sought to address and improve wellbeing across the school community. The programme focused on areas such as improving diet, physical and mental wellbeing and increasing awareness of risk behaviours.
The study states that although there was initial scepticism about the need for the Head of Wellbeing by the end of the pilot, there was considerable enthusiasm for the post.
Following the pilot, the school invested in recruiting a part-time Wellbeing Lead to continue the initiatives, to deliver a new weekly wellbeing curriculum to Years 7, 8 and 9 and to support the school’s overall wellbeing ethos. You can read more details on the health and wellbeing programme and key learning and impact from the pilot here.
Reflecting on the pilot, headteacher Robert Shadbolt said “without a link at a high level in the school, at a governor level and a head level, buying into a vision, I think a head of wellbeing could find the role very, very frustrating… I think you have to have the right climate”.
The pilot underlined that strong school leadership, including the governing board, is essential when creating the conditions for success.