Adolescent perspectives on their emotional wellbeing within a whole school approach.

Year: 2012

Author: Price, Deborah, MacCallum, Faye

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Whole school approaches have been viewed as influential in promoting school and community approaches that advocate for learner safety and emotional wellbeing. Whole school approaches characterised by having a positive school ethos, values and policies, safety and wellbeing are evidenced through quality teaching and learning, friendliness, and relationships in a resource rich environment. This paper explores a case study of a metropolitan middle class school in Adelaide, South Australia and employed a mixed method approach. Sixty nine Year 6 and 7 students completed an online wellbeing survey exploring sense of belonging, happiness, resilience and bullying; visual artefacts depicting personal wellbeing were produced; and, seven Year 7 students participated in a focus group. Findings identified that the students perceived quality teaching and learning, good relationships with friends and adults, and plentiful resources, provided sufficient fuel for them to be happy and well. However, student voices in this study shared they did not always feel emotionally safe and well at school which has implications for how school leaders employ and evaluate effectiveness of whole school approaches for wellbeing. Notably, the graduates from this middle class school identify the impact on their emotional wellbeing, success and future aspirations as leading citizens in society.