Oxford University Press calls for focus on student wellbeing to navigate impact of COVID-19

Oxford University Press has called on schools and learning institutions to integrate student’s well being into all disciplines as learners navigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement comes as the department gears up to launch the first Oxford International Curriculum that integrates a wellbeing strand.

“Children cannot learn if they do not feel safe, are unhappy, or their basic wellbeing has been neglected. For this reason, schools need to have wellbeing woven throughout their fabric, at the heart of what they do, because it is at the heart of education,” said Willem Kukyen, Ritblat Professor of Mindfulness and Psychological Science, University of Oxford.

The Oxford International Curriculum targets students in Early Years, Primary, and Lower Secondary covering subjects such as English, Maths, Science, Computing, Wellbeing and Global Skills Projects with the aim to place joy at the heart of learning.

It has been designed to take an evidence-informed approach to developing pupil and teacher wellbeing, so children enjoy school and learn to take good care of themselves and each other and fulfil their potential.

It is expected that the focus on Global Skills and Wellbeing in the new curriculum will equip students with the skills they need to thrive both now and in the future.

The two will be offered as standalone subjects, as well as being interwoven into the core subjects. Areas covered through the programme include taking care of the body and the mind, encouraging positive relationships, and finding meaning, as well as fostering creative, interpersonal, and self-development skills.

The Oxford International Curriculum will be available for use in the classroom in the academic year 2021/2022.

Meanwhile, Beth Kerr (Wellbeing Director at Cognita Schools Group) and Sara Anderson (TJA fellow at the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development) opined that: “The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a ‘reprioritisation of values and perspective’. Employers and society will value emotional resilience and self-control for wellbeing as a soft skill that schools have never had a greater mandate to really build.”

They added: “Identifying the contributing factors to wellbeing and the factors which threaten it, such as sleep deprivation, is a great place to start the debate about the role of education and wellbeing in education in the curriculum”.

The duo were speaking during a recent panel discussion on promoting student wellbeing, global educationalists including Nicholas Wergan (Global Education Director at Inspired).


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