Evaluating efforts to enhance health and wellbeing: A review of policy aspirations and practice developments in Scottish secondary schools

Donna Dey, Malcolm Thorburn

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    Chapter 3 highlighted the increased policy expectation there often is nowadays for schools to be a pivotal force for good in helping young people to live more stable and rewarding lives. However, as Chapter 3 also outlined, these aspirations have been supported by variable degrees of policy coherence and clarity. Accordingly, the focus in this chapter is to analyse health and wellbeing (HWB) developments in Scotland, in order to understand better in the context of one country the policy formation process, learning and teaching in HWB, the contribution of HWB towards learners’ wider achievement as well as a broader evaluation of HWB as part of Curriculum for Excellence (CFE). This review aims to provide insights into the multiple challenges which exist in and between policy guidelines and policy enactment in schools. Approaching the chapter in this way enables consideration to be taken of the ‘overall texture and rhythms of teachers’ work – the different times of year in schools and the deadening tiredness with which teachers often grapple’ (Ball et al., 2012, p. 5). The review is also timely, as since 2004, CFE – in essence, a progressive set of all-encompassing national curriculum guidelines and arrangements covering learners between 3 and 18 years – has moved from being a broad set of policy aspirations to full implementation in 2010–2011. As such, there should be in place by now a heightened emphasis on active learner engagement alongside an encouragement for teachers to make greater use of their professional autonomy and curriculum decision-making responsibility (Scottish Government, 2008). Sinnema (2016, p. 966) considers that Scotland (like New Zealand but unlike England and Australia), is one of the leading examples of where schools ‘are asked to address the challenges inherent in designing and implementing a local curriculum in a manner that also ensures they give effect to a national curriculum’. Moreover, the current period has been identified as a ‘watershed moment’ for CFE, as the first five-year cycle of programme implementation is nearing completion (OECD, 2015, p. 100). 63Thus, there is a major opportunity to evaluate whether a greater policy engagement with dynamic learning and teaching in HWB is being taken forward or not.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationWellbeing, Education and Contemporary Schooling
    EditorsMalcolm Thorburn
    Place of PublicationLondon
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic) 9781317211419
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2017


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