Three steps to putting wellbeing at the heart of every school – by Sir Anthony Seldon

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First and foremost, heads themselves must give a strong lead, in at least three areas, none of which need to cost any money (a vital factor in these cash-strapped times).


School leaders need to ensure that the whole community philosophy is based on being appreciative of the efforts of students and staff, rather than the school communities being places which are full of fear and risk averse. Mistakes are to be encouraged and learnt from, not feared and scorned.

2.Human relationships are valued above all else

Every child is known individually and treated individually. Relationships in such schools are positive and nurturing, based on what positive psychologists call ‘active constructive engagement’. The head is a highly visible figure constantly present at any door where students, staff and parents most regularly pass through, and never hiding behind their desks, in dreaded committees, or behind the metal wall of their posh BMW parked conspicuously and provocatively in the car park.

2.The body and the hand are educated, and not just the head

Students are given opportunities to draw, make objects and play sport with their hands and feet. Students and staff are told the supreme importance of healthy bodies which are well exercised, watered, fed, rested and slept. Where the body is healthy and alert, the mind has the best possibility of thriving too.

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