Pathways To Learning Hong Kong Registered School 566985 & 600733

The importance of wellbeing at Kellett School

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Wellbeing. This word is the latest buzz-word in professional development in corporate circles although it has long existed for students, with schools recognising that a holistic approach to academic success also included the promotion of the social and emotional development and wellbeing of students.

Wellbeing is difficult to define. It includes cognitive, emotional, social and physical aspects and is often referred to as the balance point between a student’s resource pool and the challenges they face. The characteristics of wellbeing may be summed up as: a positive mind-set, resilience, satisfaction with relationships and other areas of one’s life, effective functioning for age and the maximising of potential.  

Kellett School, The British International School in Hong Kong, actively promotes student wellbeing from Reception to Year 13, in the provision of safe, supportive and respectful learning environments. Student wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility in the school setting and Head of the Well-being Team, Justin McLaughlin, works closely with members of staff on various initiatives. Having attended a course on Positive Education in Australia, Justin returned with a determination to disseminate the impact of Positive Education on students and staff that he had witnessed first-hand.


“In assisting our students to be confident and resilient with a capacity for emotional intelligence, they will perform better academically. Kellett’s wellbeing programme is about educating and improving the person as a whole, to in turn help lead to a happier school life. As a knock-on effect, a happier school life will normally equate to good grades, a healthy school and home-life involvement, and a mind-set that enjoys continuous learning and responsible lifestyles”, says Justin.

Whilst many people would assume the greatest stresses occur in the latter stages of one’s schooling journey, it is important to remember that difficulties in life are relative and subjective and can affect everyone. Therefore, Kellett focuses not only on those who face important GCSE or A-level exams, but on all students including the youngest who may not know how to vocalise or cope with their difficulties. In Kellett’s Preparatory Schools, there has been a particular focus on mindfulness. Kellett has been visited by yoga specialists who spoke to their younger children about a guided visualisation approach in order to aide breathing and calming oneself down in stressful situations. Kellett’s Year 6 children also undertake the ‘Mindfulness Matters’ programme. This 8-week course, designed by Mindfulness pioneer, Eline Snel, was specifically designed for children and young people, and focuses on awareness of feelings, thoughts, and being compassionate and kind towards others.

In the Senior School, Kellett have introduced ‘Feel Good Fridays’, which have been a welcome addition to the school. This initiative is the work of both staff and students, as weekly themes are devised and agreed upon by both parties, with the aim of providing relaxation, fun and happiness, in preparation for the weekend. Themes for the ‘Feel Good Fridays’ have included ‘Feeling Awake’, which highlighted the importance of a good night’s sleep in celebration of World Sleep Day; ‘Feeling Green’, in celebration of Earth Day; and ‘Feeling Relaxed’, which featured yoga and meditation for students and staff to participate in.


Moving forward, Kellett School is eager to ensure that they remain proactive in their approach to student wellbeing. In November, various members of staff will be attending a Positive Schools Conference, which is an opportunity to share experiences and learn from other leading schools as to how they are approaching wellbeing. These opportunities are becoming more frequent, as the network of schools paying close attention to wellbeing increases. With so many other schools, businesses and organisations now realising the critical importance of wellbeing, it is a really exciting time to see how we can lead, what we can learn from others, and where the next stage of our journey will take us.


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