New EU Guidelines to improve wellbeing and mental health in education across Europe

European Commission publishes new landmark Guidelines on well-being and mental health at school for policymakers, school leaders, teachers, and educators guided by Eurochild and member Learning for Wellbeing Foundation.

Eurochild and our member Learning for Wellbeing Foundation (L4WB) have worked with the EU and Member States to improve the understanding and focus of policymakers on the crucial role that wellbeing and mental health plays as part of children’s journey through education through the creation of new Guidelines for policymakers and education professionals.

The Guidelines call for a whole-system, whole school approach to promoting wellbeing and mental health – both for learners and educator professionals. This approach should be guided by a Progressive Universalism principle, whereby all learners should be supported to develop and maintain their wellbeing, but providing targeted support where needed for students at risk of increased vulnerabilities, such as those growing up in poverty.

The Guidelines contains 11 recommendations for education policymakers, school leaders, teachers and educators:

These Guidelines provide policy and practical guidance for education systems across Europe to help create more wellbeing-centred education environments so children and young people can thrive, including the 20 million children growing up at risk of poverty and social exclusion in the EU.

The evidence for this approach is no longer up for debate. The results from the international PISA survey in 2022 reaffirmed that socioeconomic disadvantage continues to strongly influence children’s academic results in schools. From Eurochild’s own member-driven analysis of education issues across Europe, we know that education in Europe is not increasing equity of opportunity for all children regardless of their background.

Further information on how Eurochild and Learning for Wellbeing Foundation are helping create greater focus on wellbeing and inclusion in education

Eurochild is supporting the implementation of the Pathways to School Success initiative of the European Education Area through active involvement in the European Commission’s Working Group on Schools: Subgroup on Pathways to School Success.

This initiative is setting out to re-define at EU and national level what success looks like for children and young people in education, taking a more comprehensive approach that promotes wellbeing and mental health, as well as enhancing supportive learning environments, with a greater recognition of the needs of children from vulnerable backgrounds in education settings.

To support the Working Group to focus specifically on interventions and practices to integrate well-being and mental health in schools, the European Commission set up an Expert Group on supporting learning environments and wellbeing in school. L4WB, supported by the Lifelong Learning Platform, was one of the experts. This group produced a draft of the Guidelines on wellbeing and mental health at school. Eurochild, as part of the Commission’s Working Group on Schools: Subgroup on Pathways to School Success, provided feedback alongside Member States to finalise these new Guidelines.

Access the Guidance on wellbeing and mental health at school by clicking here.

Read Eurochild’s work on the Pathways to School Success initiative, by clicking here.

For more information, contact Ciaran O’Donnell, Partnerships and Programmes Coordinator from Eurochild, and Chiara Piccolo, Head of European Affairs from Learning for Wellbeing Foundation.

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