Wellbeing Hub

Wellbeing and Health in the Northern Ireland Curriculum

Wellbeing and mental health are central to the aim and objectives of the curriculum. Distinct Areas of Learning address wellbeing and mental health explicitly and specify teaching social and emotional skills, as well as physical health and safety:

Wellbeing describes a state of feeling healthy and happy and that life is going well. Good mental health is a state of wellbeing in which we can:

  • realise our own potential;
  • cope with the normal stresses of life;
  • work productively; and
  • contribute to our community.

    Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

    Teaching social and emotional learning (SEL) skills in the classroom can improve academic performance and wellbeing, helping children and young people lead happy and healthy lives.

    There are five key areas of competency and skills in social and emotional learning:

    • Self-Awareness
    • Self-Management
    • Social Awareness
    • Relationship Skills
    • Responsible Decision-Making

    It’s important for schools to teach social and emotional skills explicitly in the dedicated time for PDMU and LLW and in other Areas of Learning across the curriculum. The five strands of the Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities framework (Managing Information; Thinking, Problem‐ Solving and Decision‐Making; Being Creative; Working with Others; and Self‐Management) are also closely linked to the development of these social and emotional skills.

    By making meaningful connections across the curriculum and including links to relevant external support, teachers can ensure that pupils are able to understand and manage emotions. They’ll also be able to set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions.

    Social and Emotional Learning competencies

    To support schools to develop pupils’ social and emotional learning, we have developed a proposed Social and Emotional Learning Competency Framework for primary and post‐primary schools.

    Our primary and post‐primary guidance on developing a whole‐school approach to Emotional Health and Wellbeing (EHWB) and Social and Emotional Learning provides more information about developing these competencies.