Meldrum Academy in Aberdeenshire is being celebrated as an example of good practice for its approach to health and wellbeing which is driven by its young people.
The Health and Wellbeing Responsibility of All approach undertaken by staff, learners, parents and the local community at Meldrum has helped change young people’s understanding of health and wellbeing and contributed to 96% of learners leaving the school for a positive destination over the last three years.
Young people are involved in a number of groups and initiatives to help give them a greater voice within the school. They lead groups such as Meldrum Academy Action Group (MAAG) to discuss issues and influence the school’s approach to health and wellbeing so that it is relevant to them.
S1 – S3 pupils have become Respect Ambassadors who raise awareness of respect, equality, diversity and rights across the school community. The Pupil Support Scheme works with Pastoral Care staff to act as a peer support network for young people, while Health and Wellbeing Young Leaders were selected to drive forward improvements in health and wellbeing across the school each year.
The work at the school has been highlighted by Education Scotland as part of a research project looking at the benefits of embedding Health and Wellbeing Responsibility of All approach. To celebrate their achievements, the school received a visit from Lesley Brown, Strategic Director for Families, Inclusion and Local Authorities at Education Scotland. She said,
“It’s fantastic to see a school where there is such universal support for health and wellbeing, not just amongst staff and young people, but the wider community and collaborative partnerships that have been created from this approach.
“Integrating health and wellbeing experiences and outcomes across Curriculum for Excellence within the school has supported 96% of learners to go on to positive destinations, and this is testament to the hard work of everyone at the school that the approach was so successfully introduced and embedded, and is making a difference.”
Meldrum Academy head teacher Andrew Travis said: “Meldrum Academy has taken an holistic view of health and wellbeing that is based upon shared responsibility and decision making.
“Our very active students and committed staff are at the heart of what we have done. This powerful group, along with the extended school community and our partners, have worked together to identify the issues and then come up with creative solutions and this way of working has been key in producing improvements in health and wellbeing across the school.”
A number of key factors helps Meldrum Academy deliver Health and Wellbeing Responsibility of All. Distributive leadership gives staff and young people responsibility for leading on different aspects of the approach, and this encourages pupils to take ownership of health and wellbeing within the school.
Leaders and school staff ensure that time and commitment are given to embedding health and wellbeing into teaching plans to demonstrate their commitment to the concept to leaners. Partnership and collaborative working is also central to embedding health and wellbeing.
A copy of the Meldrum Academy Health and Wellbeing Responsibility of All in Secondary Schools case study is available on the Education Scotland website.