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31.1.2024 | Karin Metsäpelto

A Global Push for Student Wellbeing

Global research highlights a decline in young people's wellbeing, further impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This emphasises the need to enhance student wellbeing in schools. While many schools implement wellbeing initiatives, a gap exists in their scientific grounding. Schools require resources and research to effectively support the wellbeing of students.

The Urgency of Wellbeing in Education

Recent research unequivocally shows that wellbeing is a critical precursor to future development and adult life satisfaction, with schools playing a pivotal role second only to family in influencing emotional health. However, the challenge lies in the fact that not all current wellbeing initiatives in schools are rooted in scientific evidence. To address this, HundrED is launching a new Spotlight project focused on Wellbeing in Schools that aims to identify and promote 10-15 impactful and scalable educational innovations that prioritise and effectively enhance student wellbeing.

Wellbeing in education is not just about student satisfaction; it is a multifaceted concept involving psychological and emotional health, purpose, and life satisfaction.

“Wellbeing involves both objective and subjective assessments of one's life. Its complexity can be daunting, but that's precisely why we need tangible, impactful innovations. These can serve as beacons, showing that wellbeing is not just a lofty ideal, but a practical, attainable goal,” says Crystal Green, Research Director at HundrED.

A Collaborative Framework for Student Wellbeing

The Wellbeing in Schools Spotlight is part of a larger, collaborative effort led by the International Baccalaureate (IB), renowned for its comprehensive educational programs for students aged 3-19, and funded by the Jacobs Foundation, dedicated to enhancing children's education and learning opportunities. Collaborating partners include the Wellbeing Research Centre at the University of Oxford, known for its expertise in wellbeing science; Research Schools International, experienced in school-based action research focused on flourishing; and the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University, which specialises in promoting flourishing programs worldwide. 

The Wellbeing in Schools project is a three-year global initiative to explore, study, and measure student wellbeing in schools. The project aims to transform the concept of student wellbeing into a practical, evidence-based aspect of education. This will be achieved by integrating wellbeing into the systemic change processes within education, fostering a healthy, flourishing learning environment for all students.

“We believe that by partnering with these outstanding global leaders as well as partnering with schools all over the world, we have a really unique opportunity to learn from the ground up. We are going to learn with and from schools about what is working from them and how these learnings can be brought up to a higher level through rigorous innovation and research,” says Jen Merriman, Director of Research and Design at the International Baccalaureate.

In HundrED’s Spotlight, the goal is to identify innovations that are not only impactful but also scalable. Educators, students, researchers and innovators working in K12 schools, mainstream or specialised school programmes, organisations, associations or networks, from around the globe are welcome to submit if they have scaled their innovation within school settings, for example, from classroom to classroom, school to school and district to district. 

For more information and to submit to this Spotlight visit our Wellbeing in Schools Spotlight page. To find out more about the partnership program, please visit the IB’s website Wellbeing in Schools