This project aims to deepen understanding about the key factors and school actions that influence students’ wellbeing, and particularly, the wellbeing of Māori students.
This study is important as we know that learners who have lower levels of wellbeing have poorer health and education outcomes. When learners feel they belong and are happy at school, and they are cared about and their identity is valued, they are likely to be better able to learn and grow.
Our previous study, Making a difference to student wellbeing, showed that Māori students report lower levels of wellbeing than other students, even after controlling for influencing factors. This raises questions about the equity and effectiveness of school processes and practices.
Methodology and methods
This research uses strengths-based kaupapa Māori and qualitative approaches. Wellbeing@School student survey data was used to select six primary schools where we were likely to see examples of effective practices. The students at these schools reported higher than average levels of wellbeing and teacher relationships, and lower levels of aggressive behaviour.
We visited each of the six schools to talk to a mix of people including school leaders, students, teachers, whānau, Board of Trustees members, community members, and school SENCO, RTLB, or social workers.
We held interviews and focus groups and asked questions about how the school:
- promoted students’ wellbeing, identity, and sense of belonging
- addressed any actions that are detrimental to students’ wellbeing such as racism, bias, or bullying behaviour.