The decision sparked enormous interest both nationally and internationally and, over a decade later, Wellington remains fully committed to a course whose aim is simply to promote the flourishing and excellence of the young people under our care.
Our philosophy is simple: instead of focusing on disaster prevention, as so many PSHE courses do, we strive educate about how our pupils might capitalise upon their human resources in order to make the best of their potential.
There is a growing body of scientific evidence on the causal factors around happiness and well-being, which can be applied in work with individuals and institutions. Having a better understanding of how to increase the likelihood of happiness with life, and how to channel the emotional pains of set-backs en route, are the sort of skills that can substantially improve an individual’s progress.
Our course is based on six elements which serve to promote well-being:
- Physical health
- Positive relationships
- Perspective (developing a psychological immune system)
- The world (living sustainably)
- Meaning and purpose
All Wellingtonians in their first four years at the school receive the equivalent of one hour per fortnight of well-being lessons which also cover all PSHE requirements. Each lesson presents a skill that pupils can employ to enhance their well-being from advice on getting to sleep to more complex cognitive methods for dealing with adversity. Everything taught is based on reliable research conducted by some of the most eminent academics in the field.
Beyond the classroom, mindfulness is practised and encouraged regularly on a House and year group level, and many of our key pastoral staff are trained mindfulness practitioners. Regular lectures on a variety of topics are also regularly delivered by inspiring speakers to help our pupils reflect on the potential for making the most of their lives.
For more information on the ideas underpinning the teaching of happiness and well-being, see Learning to Ride Elephants by Ian Morris, our Head of Well-being, published by Continuum Books.