INSET: Creating & Maintaining a Positive School Culture

Positive school culture

“This is a great workshop focused on improving wellbeing through a positive school culture. It really made me reflect on the way we all treat each other in school and how our behaviour as adults sets the tone for the children. We were all buzzing when we left.”

Aly Tresize, Canadian International School of Hong Kong

UK schools are in the midst of a mental health crisis. In July 2020, one in six children aged 5 to 16 years were identified as having a probable mental disorder, increasing from one in nine in 2017. Findings from The Teacher Wellbeing Index 2020, show that 74% of educators have experienced behavioural, psychological or physical symptoms of mental ill health in the last year and that 38% feel the culture in their school has had a negative effect on their wellbeing.  Most initiatives to improve wellbeing in schools tackle the symptoms, rather than the causes of mental health concerns. Building a Positive School Culture focuses on the importance of creating a sense of safety, belonging and significance for the whole school community, through the development of positive relationships in our schools.

This workshop brings together the science of Positive Psychology with best practice teaching and pastoral care to encourage and support individuals, schools and communities to flourish. It focuses on specific evidence-based skills that assist adults and children to strengthen their relationships, build positive emotions and enhance personal resilience.

The development of these valuable life skills provides staff and pupils with an increased capacity to teach and learn effectively, as well as offering them a strong foundation on which they can build a successful life.

This workshop provides a foundation from which to begin to build a whole school approach to creating and maintaining a positive school culture. 


The workshop aims to develop an understanding of the components of a positive school culture and provide practical strategies that can be used with both adults and children to enhance relationships and increase the sense of community for all stakeholders.

INSET Outline 

What is Positive School Culture and Why Do We Need It?

  •  To examine the concept of positive school culture and the research on its benefits.
  • To consider how positive school culture is built through increasing social capital in schools.
  • To understand the components of a positive school culture
  • To assess the prevailing school culture in your school and identify areas for improvement

Building Positive Relationships in School

  • To understand why positive relationships are the foundation of wellbeing and examine the components of positive relationship building.
  • To consider the importance of shared values in positive relationships and review your individual and school values.
  • To understand the importance of communication in developing positive relationships and model a number of practical strategies to improve communication, which can be used with adults and children.
  • To understand the importance of trust building and consider a number of practical strategies to build trust that can be used with adults and children.

Experiencing Positive Emotions

  • To understand what we mean by positive emotions and why they are important.
  • To consider a range of evidence-based positive psychology interventions (PPIs) to increase positive emotions  in school.
  • To model the use of PPIs to increase  positive emotions.

The Use of Character Strengths to Build Positive School Culture

  • To understand what we mean by character strengths and consider the Values in Action 24 character strengths.
  • To use an online tool to determine our individual character strengths.
  • To understand how we can use character strengths in school to help build a positive school culture. 
  • To model strengths-based strategies that we can use in school with both adults and children.

Thank you for an engaging, inspiring and reflective CPD session on Positive school Culture

Ross Montague, Head of Upper school, Hampstead Hill School

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