Whole school approaches to pupil well-being
Schools are not just neutral places where young people learn; the school context or ethos affects them positively or negatively. There is evidence that school ethos is related to young people’s substance use, mental health and educational outcomes, and that interventions focusing on changing ethos appear to be effective in reducing substance use and anti-social behaviour.
In collaboration with the Evaluation Programme, we secured funding from the MRC Scottish Collaboration on Public Health Research and Policy for a one year exploratory project to map and assess the range of current interventions in Scotland that have the capacity to change school ethos. Our objectives were to contribute to the development of interventions and the design of future evaluations by clarifying:
1) intended mechanisms behind interventions and their likely impact on health inequalities
2) if an existing programme warrants rigorous evaluation, or whether it is necessary to develop a new intervention, and
3) what should and can be measured, feasible methods and, by understanding institutional contexts, what might facilitate or impede evaluation.
This work led to the development of the SEED programme to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of primary school children.