Improving student wellbeing: having a say at school

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Publication details

Anderson, DL & Graham, AP 2015, 'Improving student wellbeing: having a say at school', School Effectiveness and School Improvement.

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The wellbeing of children and young people remains a concern internationally and an increasing focus of policy, programmes, and teacher professional development in schools. Supporting wellbeing is now central to the realisation of children’s rights, evidenced by an expanding literature linking children’s participation and their wellbeing. As promising as such scholarship might be in advocating for the democratisation of schools, little empirical research has investigated these links. Drawing on relevant findings from a large mixed-methods study in Australia that sought the views of students, principals, teachers, and other staff about wellbeing at school, this paper explores a number of links between student voice and wellbeing. The findings revealed that students understood wellbeing in multifaceted ways, including having a say, being listened to, having rights, and being respected. Further, both students and staff identified positive associations between having a say at school, being recognised (cared for, respected, and valued), and wellbeing