The policy prominence of wellbeing and the implications for education

Malcolm Thorburn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In earlier chapters (Chapters 1 and 2) we have highlighted how a greater ­conceptual awareness of wellbeing may help educators ensure that young people’s lives are more fulfilling and meaningful. The task now is to consider how wellbeing plans are being taken forward in public policy and the extent to which these policies are clear, satisfactory and adequate, as in recent years there has been an increased expectation that schools can be a pivotal force for good in helping young people’s lives to become more satisfying and noteworthy (White, 2011). These intentions reflect the heightened global interest there is in wellbeing and the aspirations there are in educational policies to try and constructively connect wellbeing with whole school curriculum planning and pedagogical advice. Within the general discussion of the aims and purposes of wellbeing policy, a review of whether wellbeing could (and should) be measured and the extent to which this might benefit learners’ progress is also considered. In addition, the chapter contrasts developments across the Anglophone world (predominantly in England, Australia and New Zealand) in order to better understand policy direction and planning arrangements over recent years. For as Sinnema (2016, p. 966) notes, the policy focus in England and Australia is much more based on a ‘tightening of national control, prescription and regulation over curriculum, with expanding curriculum content and a more explicit emphasis on core knowledge’, whereas in New Zealand the focus is more on teachers using their professional autonomy to make decisions about curriculum content and implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWellbeing, Education and Contemporary Schooling
EditorsMalcolm Thorburn
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781317211419
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2017


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