Influences on early career teachers to engage with health and wellbeing education

Jennifer Byrne, Willeke Rietdijk, Karen Pickett

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaperAcademic


IntroductionThis paper explores the myriad influences including school culture, ethos and environment that may affect early career teachers’ willingness to promote health and engage in teaching health and wellbeing education. MethodsQuantitative data were collected via an online questionnaire sent to three cohorts of novice teachers (N=976) to explore the factors that influence their role in actively engaging as health promoters. Qualitative data were obtained via semi-structured interviews from a subsample (n=14) to gather rich in-depth data to support the questionnaire findings. ResultsThe questionnaire response rate was 11% (n=104). Quantitative and qualitative data indicate that novice teachers’ experience in schools is variable and that this can have a positive or detrimental effect on their ability to promote health and wellbeing. The factors that are positively associated with enabling teachers to adopt a health promoting role include school ethos, attitudes of senior leadership and supportive mentoring. Conclusions and implicationsDespite the effect of pre-service training, once in post there are factors beyond this that influence new teachers to adopt a health promoting role or not. Support from senior leaders is essential to create a health promoting school ethos that enables a community of practice to develop that facilitates early career teachers’ positive attitudes towards health promotion. This has implications for resources including the need to prioritise CPD in health and wellbeing education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2017


  • Health education
  • Teacher training
  • School ethos


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