Wellbeing in education

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.

COVID-19 and wellbeing

New education funding to address wellbeing needs as a result of COVID-19

Urgent Response Fund (URF) and Educator Wellbeing

The Government has announced a $66 million package in new funding to support the immediate wellbeing of our learners and educators as a result of COVID-19.

The package includes a $50 million Urgent Response Fund. This will provide immediate support to centre-based early learning services, schools and kura to improve attendance, and to help manage any learning, social, emotional, mental, or other child and youth wellbeing needs directly related to COVID-19.

Another $16 million is to support educator wellbeing for the employees of publicly funded early learning services, kōhanga reo, school and kura and their families

For more information, go to the news story: $66 million for learner and educator wellbeing.

Tertiary Student Wellbeing

The Government has also announced $25 million in new funding to expand front line mental health and wellbeing services for tertiary students.

This funding will be used to meet the ongoing wellbeing needs of tertiary students in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These new services will be embedded within tertiary settings to ensure ease of access. They will include access to counselling and other treatments as well as peer support, self-management support and links to social and wellbeing supports.

The Ministry of Education will work closely with the Ministry of Health to facilitate the accelerated role out of the youth specific services of the Ministry of Health’s mental health, wellbeing and addiction initiatives to tertiary providers.

The initiative will be implemented via a Request for Proposals (RFP) process led by the Ministry of Health. The RFP process will get underway in November. We expect that students will notice an expansion in services and increased choices from 2021.

Read more about this new funding on the tertiary providers information page.


The Ministry has a range of resources and information for early learning services and schools, and for families, caregivers and whānau, to help them support children and young people’s wellbeing through the COVID-19 emergency.

COVID-19 and wellbeing

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)

Improving pastoral care for domestic tertiary students

The Minister has announced changes to the Education Act to allow the creation of a code of practice for pastoral care of domestic tertiary students.

Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Act 2019

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

Useful resources and links to further information.

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

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

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.

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.

Health conditions in education settings: supporting children and young people – 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.

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

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

Melon manual(external link)  supporting teenagers’ emotional wellbeing. A kete of mental health resources for 13-18 year olds.  Supported by the Ministry of Health, the website provides downloadable videos and worksheets and shareable social media illustrations that secondary teacher can use.

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.

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.

Supporting children in care guide – 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.

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

Wellbeing for success: a resource for schools(external link) – produced by ERO to help schools evaluate and improve wellbeing.

More wellbeing resources for early learning

More wellbeing resources for kura and schools

Resources for learners, parents and whānau

Bullying free NZ(external link) – 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.

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

Mental Health Foundation(external link) – Information on mental health conditions, where to get help and how to promote and support wellbeing

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

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


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