07 November 2023
ISOTY for Student Wellbeing
We are delighted to be chosen as the Independent School of the Year for Student Wellbeing 2023.
The Independent School of the Year Awards recognise the excellence of the student experience and the ways in which schools are going above and beyond to support students in their educational journey.
The judges were impressed by how wellbeing is a strategic focus for Sevenoaks, with long-term and research-based efforts to embed flourishing into every part of school life.
Mr Jesse Elzinga, Headmaster of Sevenoaks School, said: ‘We encourage students to combine their knowledge, passions and philanthropic values, helping them to flourish as individuals and make the world a better place. Our involvement in Harvard University’s ground-breaking Human Flourishing Program helps us to gather meaningful insight to ensure the whole school community flourishes.’
This year, Sevenoaks introduced new initiatives to support: happiness and life satisfaction; mental and physical health; meaning and purpose; character and virtue; and close social relationships – all key measures of flourishing.
The projects are documented in Innovate, Sevenoaks School’s academic journal to help others learn and develop their own teaching practices. We also ran a Flourishing Conference with Harvard in October to share best practices.
Harvard identifies volunteering as a key component for student wellbeing. Over 400 students volunteer weekly on community projects or run Service Action Programmes, including fundraising to help tackle societal issues such as climate change or supporting refugees.
Other wellbeing initiatives include a Gratitude Messaging Service to thank friends and staff for everyday acts of kindness.
Recognising the importance of working together as a whole school community, Sevenoaks runs several wellbeing groups. This includes a Parent Wellbeing Group to run alongside existing staff and student-led wellbeing groups, ensuring that everyone in the community has a voice and can be part of the wellbeing and mental health discussion.