The Public Policy Institute for Wales (PPIW) was asked by the Minister for Education and Skills what works in building the emotional resilience of children in primary schools in Wales? and what the Welsh Government might do to support this?
Here, Nancy Hey, our Director at the What Works Centre for Wellbeing on why this report is important:
Wellbeing research is finding that our social and emotional state is a powerful predictor of our wellbeing over many years and it is an area that we know comparatively little about how to improve. This is not to say that our wellbeing is entirely down to how well we have learnt ‘wellbeing skills’ and nothing to do with external objective circumstances that we can act to improve. It’s more that this is an area we haven’t looked at as much yet and looks promising. It has been one of those areas we are sort of expected to learn by osmosis and this report does a great job of highlighting that there are a good range of evidence based programmes now available for schools.
Early research suggests that there are some skills, that can be learnt that are useful in both treatment and prevention. These include resilience, emotional intelligence, CBT and mindfulness for example. They will not be a panacea for social ills but look like they could help many people and need to be tested with matching rigour. This can be seen from the wide range of organisations also looking at how to help people develop these skill sets including in the workplace, in schools and further education, in supporting later life transitions, in the criminal justice system and through our cultural and sporting activities for all ages.
This report is really helpful in adding to our collective learning across the UK as we start to make sense of the role of social and emotional skills in our wellbeing and the role of our wellbeing in a range of other outcomes that we care about as a country, including academic achievement. The report included consideration for how social and emotional skills can be reinforced outside of schools and it’s in that context that we welcome the call for a more systematic exploration of what schools can do but it is important that this is done in a way that the learning can be taken from, and shared with, other sectors looking to improve social and emotional skills.
The PPIW worked with Professor Robin Banerjee and Professor Colleen McLaughlin from the University of Sussex to produce:
- a synthesis of research and policy evaluations relating to school-based strategies to promote emotional health among primary school pupils
- evidence-based recommendations for Welsh Government policy regarding a national strategy in this area.
The report makes 16 recommendations on how to develop a carefully planned and well-supported approach to social and emotional learning that is integrated with core educational principles and situated within a connected school.
→ summary report
→ full report
Nuffield Health are seeking UK secondary schools as potential candidates for a pilot which will see a Head of Wellbeing seconded to the school, in a bid to help combat rising levels of poor physical and mental health among pupils and teachers.
Nuffield Health has committed to lead, fund and evaluate the initiative which includes the development and implementation of a two year health and wellbeing programme. Independent evaluation of the pilot will be carried out by the Work Foundation.
Apply: Closing date, 17th April 2015
The rise of ‘experimental’ government
This week David Halpern, National Adviser on What Works makes the case for innovation to be embedded in our work and not confined to new initiatives or programmes in Civil Service Quarterly.
He calls for us all to evaluate and adapt our practice on a continual basis and shares how a more robust level of evaluation can become a transformational tool.
Our Pioneers are doing just that and we want you to be bold and deliberate in your practice .
This week’s pioneer case study showcases Think Good, Feel Good – A Whole School Approach to Emotional Health & Wellbeing across Shropshire schools.
→ be one of our wellbeing pioneers
Our evidence programme call with our commissioning partners ESRC has now closed and our panel is at work considering the applications. Thank you for your interest, it is really inspiring to hear about so much great research in the UK. If you want to share your work or find out about what others are doing please do use our growing online forum.
Also a reminder that Lord O’Donnell is currently recruiting the Chair and Board of the Centre – closing date for applications for Chair is 2nd February and Trustees 16th February.
Happy New Year from the What Works centre for Wellbeing! 2015 will be a very exciting year and busy year!
To start off we’d like to share the recent report from the Children’s Society and NEF on improving the wellbeing of children and young people as one of our Pioneer case studies.
British Academy Debates – Wellbeing
Our interim Chair Lord Gus O’Donnell, along with our own Gregor Henderson and Paul Dolan from LSE, are taking part in this series of wellbeing debates on public policy for greater prosperity in the new year #bigdebates
It looks like it will be a great line up of speakers and events across the UK:
LSE Wellbeing Seminar Series Jan-March
We’re also excited for this new series of wellbeing seminars at the LSE including one about What Works for Early Intervention on 15th January from our friends at the Early Intervention Foundation.
The Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics run an established Wellbeing Seminar series. It is organised by Professor Richard Layard, Dr Nick Powdthavee and Dr Jan-Emmanuel De Neve
These seminars are free and open to all – there is no need to register.
If external to LSE please bring a print out or save this information and bring it with you.
Thursdays at 1pm (with sandwiches from 12.45)
Location: 2nd floor Seminar Room (2.04), 32 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
Details of the seminars are posted on the Wellbeing Programme events page, with papers/presentations when available. For any enquiries, please contact Harriet Ogborn, H.Ogborn@lse.ac.uk