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Student I.

D number: G00331704

Article/ Reading: Wellbeing Policy Statement and Framework for Practice

Concise Summary of Reading

The document starts off with a discussion highlighting why a wellbeing policy is needed in schools at
present, stating that promoting well being is a priority for the Department of Education and Skills (DES).
It is believed by the DES that students learn better when they are happier in their schools. It has been
stated that evaluating the effectiveness of this strategy will no doubt be challenging to the DES;
however, they are working alongside international partners to overcome this challenge. The document
states that it is student centered, equitable and fair, informed and outcome focused.

While well being is learned throughout life, certain factors like school and home have big influences on
the learning. As students spend a large volume of time in the school it is suggested that the school has
the biggest role to play in the education of wellbeing, partly due to the fact that the schools are now
focused on the development of the whole child also.

It is worth noting that there are a number of factors that can affect students’ wellbeing even within the
school environment such as disengagement, alienation, violence/aggression, bullying and relationship
difficulties and special educational needs. Schools are advised to take a whole school approach to the
promotion of wellbeing with the staff being central to this. The relationship that teachers develop with
students is a key influence on the development of the student’s wellbeing. The government also plays a
role in wellbeing they, just like the schools, prioritize wellbeing as set out in A Programme for a
Partnership Government.

Schools are in most cases very well equipped to deal with challenges such as special educational needs,
with SNA’s and other specific resources, although they are not so well equipped to deal with supporting
the wellbeing of students who are exposed to risk factor. While support services are provided to schools
to build capacity to support the wellbeing of students, consideration also needs to be given as to how
best to support centers for education in this regard.

Schools and educational centers will be required by 2023 to use school self-evaluations to initiate
wellbeing promotion and development. Information for this SSE process will seek information from staff,
students and parents, relating to the current practise in some of the key areas of the promotion of
wellbeing. The document states that Personal wellbeing is not like literacy and numeracy skills, it is not
something that can be definitively achieved and tested. Wellbeing is a process of well-becoming. It is not
static, and it fluctuates over time and within different contexts and for these reasons it will be
challenging to evaluate accurately.

The DES is ensuring that implementation of the wellbeing policy is supported fully around the country. A
plan for supporting schools in the roll-out of the implementation of this Wellbeing Policy Statement and
will be developed by existing Departmental support services.

Critical Reflection

Wellbeing within education is something the system has been lacking to an extent over the past number
of years. The initiative on behalf of the DES and the government is a positive action taken to help
improve both students experience in school and their mental health outside of the school environment.
Minister Bruton said, “This Policy will inject momentum into supporting schools to nurture resilience in
our students. It recognizes that Wellbeing is a whole of school responsibility with partnership roles for
staff, parents, students and the wider community.” (DES, 2018)

The DES suggests that students learn better and preform better in school if they are happy and well.
Stress, conflict with other students or teachers may cause a student to be uncomfortable in the learning
environment. Lindau (2016) discusses how “too low or too high levels of glucocorticoids may impair
declarative memory” (glucocorticoids bring stress hormones). With the aim of the roll out of this new
policy being to improve students well being and provide adequate support where needed, students
should theoretically be able to produce better work and achieve higher grades in summative
assessments.

With the DES as well as other international parties suggesting that an evaluation of the policy being
challenging, perhaps comparing average grades of particular students throughout the school years could
be an effective evaluation. Another alternative could be monitoring if the general grades of year 2 and 3
students for example, go up over the course of the roll out period. The current implementation deems
schools responsible to carry out the self-evaluation or SSE by 2023, when feedback from students, staff
and parents/ guardians will get to put their say into how the plan is working and perhaps where
improvements can be made. It is similar to colleges requesting course feedback from students to
constantly improve, where better to encounter the issues that need resolving than to ask the students
who have potentially experienced such problems.

From September 2017 students are being introduced to this area with a minimum 300 hours dedicated
to the area over the 3 years of junior cycle. However there seems to be controversy over the school’s
ability to provide the service to all students, comparing the issue to the challenge of special educational
needs and how each SEN students have a designated assistant. This would not seem to be viable in the
case of support of students’ wellbeing. The government and DES have both stated that promoting
wellbeing is their priority and this could allow for more finances being allocated to the area over the
coming years.
Also discussed were the factors that can influence a student’s wellbeing such as alienation, violence,
bullying and relationships. It is now part of the teachers’ job to educate the whole student, not just
prepare them for the subject exams. Emotional intelligence is of great importance for students and
through the new policy students should become more emotionally intelligent. Being able to identify and
discuss issues they are having, students’ wellbeing should improve, which is the target of the entire
policy and framework.

Bibliography

DES. (2018, july 20). Minister Bruton Launches Wellbeing Policy for Schools. Retrieved from Department
of Education and Skills: https://www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Press-Releases/2018-press-
releases/PR18-07-20.html

Lindau, M. (2016). Effects of Stress on Learning and Memory. Retrieved from Semantic Scholar:
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/3b12/0c09e47a9a6a121f2cb098796f81cd8bf93a.pdf