Projects | Pupil wellbeing in schools | 2 of 2

The role of schools in the wellbeing and mental health of children and young people

A new project that will look at the role of schools in the wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. A project that chimes with Early Lab’s desire to address issues as close to their root as possible. A retreat from the design of services themselves to a study of the social conditions within a community-in-place that prefigure their need.

23 Aug 2016. Plans for a new Early Lab project.

Materials for Workshop 3 & 4, Norfolk field trip, Early Lab project 1, March 2015.
The importance of the culture of schools to wellbeing

This is a new project, evolving out of Early Lab’s first project with NSFT, that hopes to look at the role of schools in the wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. This project chimes with Early Lab’s desire to address issues as close to their root as possible: what can be done for children and young people so that fewer of them need the services of the mental health system? Its a retreat from the design of services themselves to a study of the social conditions within a community-in-place that prefigure their need.

The key question is how can a school be helped to figure out how to transform its own culture to achieve the improved resilience and wellbeing of its pupils, staff, and have a positive effect on its community? All project partners support the view that due to government educational policy, schools are now far too attainment based. While this has produced better academic results, it has been achieved in many places at an unacceptably high price: at the expense of developing the whole person.

Chasing ever higher attainment has produced school cultures that are effectively toxic for an increasing number of children, young people and communities. Given this,

  • how can a school be guided through a process that helps it to think about what it needs?
  • how can a school be helped to realise a new independent sense of its priorities and values?
  • through addressing the whole school and its ‘entanglement’ in community, what kind of methodology will get teachers, children and parents focused on the questions relevant to culture change?
An update on the current progress of this project

Early Lab are currently at the planning stage of this project, where with NSFT, the theoretical underpinnings to a project model, process and methodology are being defined. Meetings with potential project partners (schools, a public national health research institute) are soon to be conducted. Once this has been achieved a funding submission to an appropriate funding scheme will be put together.

The current plan is to be in a position to embark on this project, fully funded, by the beginning of the summer 2017.


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