The Southport School is a community in which Wellbeing and Balance are promoted by staff as worthy of pursuit by our boys and young men.

The ideal is that all community members develop positive relationships, resilience and a positive disposition, so that through life’s challenges, they will have the emotional strength and strategies to flourish. Based upon Positive Psychology and the five key Elements of Wellbeing (Relationships, Engagement, Meaning and Purpose, Accomplishment and Positivity) our Habits for Wellbeing will educate students, staff and parents about the Elements of Wellbeing that develop leadership of self, leadership of others and culminates in a life of meaning and purpose.

So what is Positive Psychology and how do we use that in creating Wellbeing?

Traditionally, the fields of psychology and psychiatry have focused more on mental distress and disorder than on human flourishing and positive mental health. Increasingly, there is recognition that good mental and physical health consists of the presence of wellbeing in addition to the absence of pathology and illness. In particular, the emergence of the positive psychology movement has seen a redirection towards the scientific exploration of human wellness and optimal functioning.

Founded by Professor Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, Positive Psychology is an umbrella term for work that investigates happiness, wellbeing, human strengths, and flourishing (Gable & Haidt, 2005). It is based on scientific research and is developed from the belief that people want more than just an antidote to depression. Rather than waiting for depression to occur and then treating the symptoms, Positive Psychology focuses on wellbeing by increasing flourishing through cultivating positive emotion, engagement, positive relationships, meaning and achievement (Seligman, 2011).

The key is in developing and encouraging Habits of Wellbeing. These are defined in a set of 17 behaviours that aim to provide individuals with the means to put into operation the Elements of Wellbeing. By practising these Habits, individuals can benefit from working towards improved wellbeing.

The Habits of Wellbeing are:

  1. Build and maintain positive and productive relationships;
  2. Listen carefully and share your thoughts with others;
  3. Respect other people and value their contributions;
  4. Practise empathy and try to understand others;
  5. Get involved in academics, sport, cultural and house activities;
  6. Explore your interests to experience ‘flow’ in work and activities;
  7. Dedicate your time to a team, a group or a cause;
  8. Identify what you value and what is important to you;
  9. Work with others on things you care about;
  10. Set and work towards achieving your goals;
  11. Use challenges to expand your talents and intelligences;
  12. Discover and grow your strengths;
  13. Spend time with others and be a good friend;
  14. Show gratitude and express gratitude to others;
  15. Reflect upon your positive experiences;
  16. Exercise and eat nutritiously; and
  17. Spend time outdoors enjoying nature.

The Wellbeing Strategy of The Southport School will be put into operation through the Three Pillars of Student Wellbeing and the Four Pillars of Staff Wellbeing. This inclusive strategy is aimed to provide our staff and students with opportunity to monitor and develop their wellbeing as a member of our community.

The Pillars of Student Wellbeing are based on the vision of children’s learning from the Early Years Learning Framework, characterised by being, belonging and becoming.

BEING- recognising and valuing the “here and now”. Our students will…

  • Be attached to a pastoral structure comprising of Housemasters, School Counsellors, School Chaplains, teachers and students available for academic and pastoral matters
  • Have access to a range of academic, cultural and sporting opportunities based on healthy, fair competition and positive interactions with others
  • Have access to information on mental health support

BELONGING – recognising that knowing where and with whom you belong is integral to human existence, providing a basis for interdependence and relationships with others. Our students will…

  • Belong to a Christian learning community in the Anglican tradition
  • Be a member of Team TSS with the responsibility to look after other boys, be a diligent learner, be involved, and be drug free

BECOMING – recognising the rapid and significant learning and development that occurs, and the capability and potential of all children. Our students will…

  • Engage with a Wellbeing Curriculum that will address the Elements of Wellbeing that develop leadership of self, leadership of others and culminates in a life of meaning and purpose
  • The Pillars of Staff Wellbeing are identified as characteristics that offer staff levels of support, mentoring, goal setting and professional learning in the area of wellbeing.

SUPPORT  – our staff will…

  • Have access to the Employee Assistance Plan for confidential counselling for staff and families
  • Have access to an orientation program to support new staff members
  • Have access to a staff handbook that relates to professional matters for all staff

MENTORING – our staff will…

  • Belong to mentor groupings that have the function of assisting and supporting staff on professional matters
  • Be formally allocated a mentor for professional support (new staff members)

GOAL SETTING – our staff will…

  • Set professional and personal goals and be supported in their journey to achieve these goals (Staff Appraisal Process; Ideal Teacher Provision; Exemplary Teacher Provision)

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING – our staff will…

  • Engage with a series of professional learning workshops on key issues related to supporting staff wellbeing, including stress management, working in teams, conflict resolution, developing positive relationships and financial planning.

It might be said that Wellbeing is one of those states that is broadly understood, much desired and yet sought in a haphazard manner that involves a pastiche of mild effort, luck and frequent wrong turns. The Southport School prizes Wellbeing, but knows it can’t be attained simply by chance. Our Wellbeing Strategy adds up to a thoughtful, integrated approach that is well-defined and yet both logical and natural in its unfolding and touches every member of the TSS community.

 

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