Improving Wellbeing, Mental Health & Resilience in Education

Embedding student health at the core of education

Event Details


Coffee and Registration
Opening remarks from the Chair
Colin Donald, Professional Expert - Centre for Educational Leadership, The University of Auckland
Optimising Wellbeing: Strategies to Manage Stress and Prevent Burnout
Dr Fiona Moir, Director, Connect Communications & Senior Lecturer in Mental Health, The University of Auckland
Not quite as simple as algebra: The building blocks of an effective wellbeing programme
  • Exploring the most common schools of thought on student wellbeing
  • Examining some of the most successful programmes to identify commonalities
  • Understanding how wellbeing in schools must include staff in their scope and how this will improve a student’s chance of success
Grant Rix, Training and Programmes Director, Mindfulness Education Group
Morning break
Fostering social and emotional development in the classroom
  • Underling the importance of the role that schools and educators play in the emotional and psychological development of well-rounded individuals
  • Examining the influence that a teacher’s reaction to a given event or action can have on a student’s opinion of and approach to others
  • Practical methods of nurturing empathy, compassion, and other socially positive character traits in the digital age
Sandy Hall, Resilience Facilitator, The Resilience Institute
Knowledge sharing: Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on student and teacher wellbeing
Wellbeing address: Keeping the wellbeing train rolling

2019 was much touted as the Year of Wellbeing. However, 2020 has brought a whole new set of challenges to wellbeing. How do we keep the wellbeing train rolling in 2020 and ensure a continued focus on wellbeing within our education system?

Assoc Prof Katie Fitzpatrick, Head of School – Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland
Lunch break
Bullying and violence: Working to mitigate the effects of the elephant in every school
  • Understanding the effect that bullying has on a student’s wellbeing and chances for ongoing educational success
  • How identifying and working to address the root causes has been shown to lessen the frequency and severity of instances of violence
  • Positive steps to take to help mitigate the impact of bullying and other forms of violence
Deane McEntee, Sergeant- School Community Services, Auckland City Police District
Suicide, self-harm, addiction and family violence – identifying and responding to complex needs within the school community

New Zealand has the unfortunate distinction of having some of the highest rates of youth suicide, self-harm, addiction and family violence in the developed world. With many students presenting with complex needs, it can be difficult to know who to be most concerned about, and what (if anything) to say to the student and/or their family.

  • Equipping your team and yourself with the skills to better recognise the telltale signs and patterns of behavior of those in greatest need
  • How to initiate delicate and challenging conversations concerning student wellbeing with both the student and their parents/caregivers
  • Practical suggestions on how to respond when deliberate self-harm, addiction or family violence has been identified
Dr Melanie Woodfield, Clinical Psychologist, Health Research Council Clinical Research Training Fellow
Afternoon break
Trauma Informed learning spaces: Equipping your school to meet the additional care needs of students who have experienced trauma

New Zealand schools are not alone when a need for care is discovered. Trauma-informed practice is a crucial element in modern teaching as issues like domestic violence and other relational traumas can significantly impact a child's psychology and therefore, the way they learn 

  • Evaluating why, and how trauma impacts learning
  • Examining trauma informed frameworks
  • What can you do - differentiating your approach and developing initiatives to deliver the needed support when required 
  • An overview of the available services and how to access them 
Dr. Emma Woodward, Director of Psychological Services , The Child Psychology Service
Keynote address: Sometimes all that is needed is a helping hand
Jennifer Goddard, HOD- Guidance, Sancta Maria College
Summary remarks from the Chair
Networking drinks
Welcome back from the Chair
Learning from non-Western approaches to wellbeing
  • Avoiding a colonial mindset – understanding why there is no one-size-fits-all approach to wellbeing
  • Exploring wellbeing from the cultural perspective of New Zealand’s largest minority groups
  • Advice for how to meet the wellbeing needs of today’s tangata whenua and other minority groups
Rosina Wikaira, Principal, Homai School
Clarifying a school’s responsibilities and duty of care under the law
  • Examining the core responsibilities of schools with regards to wellbeing and highlighting the areas where more attention needs to be paid
  • Notable recent and upcoming changes in legislation and regulations that will impact on how schools approach wellbeing
  • Understanding the legal obligations of schools when dealing with personal health and wellbeing matters
Rachael Judge, Senior Associate, Simpson Grierson
Morning break
Improving awareness and knowledge amongst staff of the most complex and significant learning challenges
  • Learning to distinguish the differences between the different learning and behavioural challenges
  • Setting guidelines on how staff can be informed and trained to respond in each case
  • Improving awareness and understanding of these challenges in the school community and combatting the negative societal stereotypes
  • Understanding the impact of challenges in learning on student mental health and wellbeing
Susan Haldane, Creative Director, Mind Over Manner
Ensuring engagement in New Zealand’s increasingly multi-lingual and multi-cultural schools
  • Methods for fostering a student’s understanding of cultures other than their own
  • Utilising the linguistic skills and cultural knowledge of students to further inclusion and engagement of those with limited understanding of English and New Zealand culture
  • How to respond in instances where cultural misunderstandings and wider intercultural issues are brought into the education space
Nicola Seager, Multicultural Environment Educational Expert
Knowledge sharing: Being the voice of authority in a diverse environment

Delegates are invited to share amongst themselves their experiences of common issues and solutions facing multi-lingual and multicultural classrooms and playgrounds.

Successfully navigating challenging conversations with students and parents

Sometimes, a challenging and difficult conversation is required to ensure a student’s best interests are looked after. How a teacher approaches these conversations will often decide whether or not it will have a positive outcome.

David Henton, Director, Confident Communication Limited
Boon or burden? – finding the right balance for technology within education
  • Examining the impact, both positive and negative that technology has on an individual’s wellbeing and development
  • Exploring creative and innovative methods for fostering positive use of technology within an education space
  • Recognising and appropriately responding when technology overuse has a negative impact
  • Realising that all of this applies just as equally to teachers as it does to students
Subash Chandar K, Learning Designer, Ormiston Junior College
Wellbeing address: Looking out for number one – teacher and staff wellbeing 101

Teachers are well-known for being amongst some of the most altruistic and giving members of society. However, all this altruism must have a limit.

  • Recognising the signs of stress, overwork, and exhaustion in both yourself and your team
  • Understanding the knock-on effect that poor teacher wellbeing and mental health has on ongoing student success
  • Practical and effective advice for creating and implementing a wellbeing programme for school staff
Dr Kathryn Owler, Director, Joyworkz
Closing remarks from the Chair
End of conference
  • 27 - 28 Jul 2020
  • Online
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