Wellbeing in education

The Government has released the New Zealand Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. Education plays a critical role in promoting and supporting the wellbeing of children and young people.

This page outlines our commitment, and provides resources for educators, learners, parents and whānau to help support the wellbeing of children and young people.

New Zealand Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy

The strategy’s vision is for New Zealand to be the best place in the world for children and young people.

The strategy uses six outcomes to describe what wellbeing means for children and young people.

Having access to quality education, health and social services, housing and food, as well as feeling loved, safe and secure within your whānau, family and community are all essential to the wellbeing of every child and young person in Aotearoa.

Healthy Active Learning 

New Zealand Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy (external link)

Watch Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern launch the strategy (external link)

Free and healthy lunches in schools

The Government is implementing a programme, Free and Healthy Lunches in Schools, to test different ways of delivering a free and healthy daily school lunch to primary and intermediate aged students in schools with high levels of disadvantage.

We will be providing a nutritious lunch to every student in Years 1 to 8 in participating schools until the beginning of 2021. Up to 21,000 students in around 120 schools will eventually benefit from this prototype and a decision will be made after this about whether to continue or extend the programme.

Free and healthy lunches in schools

Education’s role in wellbeing

Education plays an essential part in supporting all six outcomes in the Strategy. Children and young people spend a large amount of their lives in education; the education sector and the Ministry have an important role in promoting, supporting and improving the wellbeing of all learners.

Quality education gives learners the knowledge, skills, competencies and experiences to succeed in life in ways that matter to them. When children and young people have a strong sense of wellbeing, they can engage meaningfully in learning.

In the Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation, we heard clearly that we need to make wellbeing a priority. In particular, New Zealanders want to see:

  • teachers, families, whānau, and communities working in partnership to support children and young people’s wellbeing
  • education free from racism, discrimination and bullying, and
  • learners with disabilities or learning support needs having access to the support they need.

Every learner has the right to a safe, healthy and supportive learning environment, where they are accepted and respected, and an education that values their identity, language and culture, and those of their family and whānau.

These rights, along with what else we heard in the Kōrero Mātauranga, are reflected across the six outcomes of the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy.

The Ministry of Education is committed to ensuring that what we are currently doing and what we plan to do in the future promotes and improves the wellbeing of all learners. We will provide regular updates about how the Education sector is implementing the Strategy and embedding wellbeing in the education system.

Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation (external link)

Wellbeing resources - supporting our children and young people

We are currently re-organising the wellbeing resources on our website. Here are some useful resources and links to further information.

Resources for early learning services, ngā kohanga reo, schools and kura

Bullying free NZ – information, resources and tools to help schools build a safe, bullying-free environment.

Bullying free NZ (external link)

Wellbeing@School – a free survey tool to help schools find out what children and young people think and feel about their school environment.

Wellbeing@School (external link)

Inclusive Education: practical guidance to help New Zealand’s teachers and educational leaders recognise, plan for and meet the learning and wellbeing needs of diverse learners.

Inclusive Education (external link)

Preventing and responding to suicide – resource kit for schools – practical information and guidelines for schools to help them create a positive and safe environment and respond to suicidal behaviours.

Curriculum resources: spotlight on student wellbeing (external link)

This spotlight supports teachers to explore and implement effective wellbeing practices for their students. It provides videos, questions, group activities, and opportunities for personal reflection to help teachers grow a culture of wellbeing at their school.

Preventing and responding to suicide – resource kit for schools [PDF, 1.7 MB]

Wellbeing for Success: a resource for schools – produced by ERO to help schools evaluate and improve wellbeing.

Wellbeing for success: a resource for schools (external link)

Safety and Wellbeing in ECE – ERO report highlighting how early learning services keep up to date with changing regulations and legal requirements to help manage children’s health and safety effectively.

Meeting requirements for children’s safety and wellbeing in ECE (external link)

Digital Technology: Safe and responsible use in schools – a guide to support schools in managing the safe and responsible use of digital technology for learning.

Digital Technology: Safe and responsible use in schools

Schools and the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights – Information for schools providing health or disability services to students about their responsibilities under the code.

Schools and the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights

Health conditions in education settings – Guidelines to help early learning services and schools support learners with health conditions, including tips about drafting health care plans, handling medication and where to go for more information on specific conditions.

Health conditions in education settings: supporting children and young people

Supporting children in care:  a guide to help educators understand and respond to the challenges that children and young people in care may present with because of their possibly traumatic early experiences.

Supporting children in care guide

More wellbeing resources for early learning

More wellbeing resources for kura and schools

Resources for learners, parents and whānau

Bullying free NZ – information, resources and tools to help support students, parents and whānau affected by bullying, understand what they can do about it and how to help build a safe, bullying free environment.

Bullying free NZ (external link)

Oat the goat – an interactive, online story book, that children and parents can read together, to help 4-7 year olds learn about the power of kindness

Oat the Goat (external link)

Supporting young people with stress, anxiety and/or depression – guidelines produced by the Ministry of Social Development for anyone support a young person and helping them to access mental health advice and support.

Supporting young people with stress, anxiety and/or depression (external link)

Mental Health Foundation website – Information on mental health conditions, where to get help and how to promote and support wellbeing

Mental Health Foundation (external link)

Caring for International Students - Code of Practice (external link) – the code describes the minimum standards of advice and care that international students can expect, and provides a complaints procedure if they have concerns about their pastoral care.

Caring for International Students - The Code of Practice (external link)

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