top of page

More on Whole School Approach

A whole school approach is key to developing children’s emotional and social competence and wellbeing


A whole school approach to CSE would include the following: 

  • Examine several aspects of the school, not the CSE curriculum only.  Other important aspects include management, ethos of the school, internal and external communication, related policies, physical environment, relations with parent body, the wider community within the local context.  

  • Understand the underlying environmental determinants of emotional and physical wellbeing and competence, not just its learning or behavioural outcomes.  

  • Consult with all relevant parties and at all levels, for example management, practitioners, students and parents and other parties in the school community, not just those with special interest or needs in CSE.  

  • Include the care-givers (teachers) as well as the recipients (students). 

  • Ensure congruence between the various parts, so that one part of the picture is not undermining work that is being carried out somewhere else (for example curriculum conflicting with school’s values and ethos). 

  • Promote coherence and interdisciplinary working within the schools’ professional teams.  

  • Take a positive approach, which starts from the widest possible perspective of wellbeing, and includes problems within it, not starting with a narrow, problem centred, deficit model.


(adapted from: What Works in Developing Children’s Emotional and Social Competence and Wellbeing? Weare and Gray. The Health Education Unit, Research and Graduate School of Education, University of Southampton, 2003

A more recent referral to a whole school approach is found in UNESCO’s International technical guidance on sexuality education, 2018: 

“The Guidance emphasize the need for programmes that are informed by evidence, adapted to the local context, and logically designed to measure and address factors such as beliefs, values, attitudes and skills which, in turn, may affect health and well-being in relation to sexuality. 

The quality and impact of school-based CSE is dependent not only on the teaching process – including the capacity of teachers, the pedagogical approaches employed and the teaching and learning materials used – but also on the whole school environment. This is manifested through school rules and in-school practices, among other aspects. CSE is an essential component of a broader quality education and plays a critical role in determining the health and well-being of all learners.” 


And another from Rutgers, "We All Benefit", 2016 – for sexual and reproductive health and rights 

“With the Whole School Approach, the school takes full control over implementation of sexuality education. Moreover, it creates support for this important but sensitive subject of everyone in and around the school, including parents, health providers and government officials. In this way, the impact increases and becomes more sustainable.” 

bottom of page