Wellbeing in schools: what do students tell us?

Abstract

Until recently, children and young people’s perspectives have been largely overlooked in considering optimal approaches to supporting their wellbeing at school. This article reports student views on the meaning of ‘wellbeing’ and how this is best facilitated, gathered as part of a large, national research project aimed at understanding and improving approaches to wellbeing in schools. The data reported here were gathered through 67 focus groups, involving 606 primary and secondary school students, across three Catholic school regions in different Australian states. Students provided rich accounts of how they view their wellbeing, conceptualised across three interconnected themes of ‘being’, ‘having’ and ‘doing’. They identified relationships with self, teachers, friends, peers and significant others, as central to their wellbeing. The findings point to immense potential in accessing and utilising children and young people’s views for change and reform in schools in the area of student wellbeing.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Julia Truscott for her assistance with the preparation of this manuscript.

Funding

This work was supported by the Australian Research Council under Grant LP110200656.

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Correspondence to Mary Ann Powell.

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Powell, M.A., Graham, A., Fitzgerald, R. et al. Wellbeing in schools: what do students tell us?. Aust. Educ. Res. 45, 515–531 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13384-018-0273-z

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Keywords

  • Student wellbeing
  • Relationships
  • Student voice
  • Children’s rights
  • Recognition theory
  • Childhood studies