Wellbeing lessons promote physical and mental health and critical thinking skills for better decision making

Wellbeing lessons promote physical and mental health and critical thinking skills for better decision making

11 December 2023

Miss Davina Stansfield, Head of Wellbeing

Recognising the ever-increasing demands placed on young people, Woldingham introduced wellbeing classes to the curriculum in September 2023, building on our long-established Thrive programme. Widely recognised as a school which provides outstanding pastoral care, Woldingham is one of a small number of UK schools offering timetabled wellbeing lessons. These cover a range of topics and encourage each student to understand and develop her own wellbeing in a tailor-made way.

With wellbeing aligned with developing leadership skills, growth mindset, coaching and emotional literacy, each student is supported to be mentally and physically healthy, equipped with critical thinking skills to make better decisions, engage positively with the community and manage challenges now and in the future.

At age-appropriate levels, wellbeing lessons cover physical health, relationships, living in the world (including sustainability), engagement and perspective (including developing a psychological immune system). We look at relationships and sex education, with every lesson equipping students with practical or theoretical skills to incorporate into their lives to increase their wellbeing. For example, this term we looked at sleep hygiene, establishing boundaries in all types of relationships, navigating online dangers and managing the pressures presented by social media. 

Each student is encouraged to develop her own wellbeing fingerprint. Some will find they excel in the arts, some in sports, some in STEM, and that is what we strive for – each student finding what helps her to be the best version of herself and to #writeyourownstory. Students learn to think critically and make informed decisions on topics such as personal safety, forming and maintaining respectful relationships, puberty to menopause, financial literacy (including tax, mortgage, interest and pension information), consent, vaping, drugs and alcohol, digital resilience, challenging discrimination and sexual health. With Mr Sharkey, a qualified paramedic, part of the wellbeing team, our aim is for Woldingham to be the first school in the UK to have every single student first aid trained by the end of the academic year.

Guest speakers and staff provide specialist insight and expertise. For example, esafety expert Karl Hopwood will visit to speak about online safety and Sixth Form students will attend a Safe Drive course to ensure they are equipped with road safety skills. Our Outdoor Education Manager, Mr Brinkman, is using our fantastic 700 acres as part of the wellbeing programme. We’re planning a visit to the House of Commons and House of Lords to develop students' understanding of the UK political system and the opportunities for women in politics.

As wellbeing evolves, we will seek involvement from the student body, welcoming ideas on what they want help with and what questions they want answers to. With Forbes listing communication, leadership, teamwork, creativity, adaptability, problem solving, critical thinking, conflict management and emotional intelligence as skills employers value most, we aim to ensure students develop and hone these through wellbeing and empower them to be confident, compassionate and courageous women who will go on to change the world.

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