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Well-being blogs

Read our well-being blog series on Engage for Education:

More blogs in the series can be found in the pages about each well-being indicator.


The information in this section was developed as part of work done by Edinburgh University, and provides more detail behind each of the eight Well-being Indicators of GIRFEC.

While it is not meant to be seen as Scottish Government guidelines, it offers a positive contribution towards assessment and plans made by those with responsibility for children’s services and those working with children.


Photos in this section are ©North Lanarkshire Council 2010

Well-being: A guide to measuring meaningful outcomes

Photo illustrating wellbeing indicatorsProfessionals and practitioners use the eight indicators to assess a child or young person's overall wellbeing and identify any concerns. The indicators offer a consistent approach and language that can be used across organisational and geographical boundaries.

Most practitioners and professionals say that when they are actually using the indicators, they tend to break them down into much more specific needs and concerns.

For example, 'healthy' covers both physical and mental well-being. It might be about getting the right treatment for a child who is physically ill or injured, or about making sure they have access to medical screenings, immunisations and dental care.

But equally, 'healthy' covers behavioural problems, depression, stress, anxiety, separation and bereavement as well as difficulties children can have as a result of poor parental attachment. And it is about support and care for children with disabilities, disorders, life-long conditions and terminal illnesses. It also relates to nutrition, diet, exercise, sexual health and the choices young people make about drugs, alcohol, tobacco, solvents and other harmful substances.

As another example, a 'responsible' child, ready to start primary school, would be able to follow simple rules and instructions, and to play and work co-operatively with other children. An older child would attend school regularly, show concern and compassion for others, and show respect for others' possessions.

How to use the wellbeing indicators

What a child's wellbeing might look like at various stages of their lives:

How to use the well being indicators

  • Safe

    Protected from abuse, neglect or harm

  • Healthy

    High standards of physical and mental health; support to make healthy, safe choices

  • Achieving

    Support and guidance in learning - boosting skills, confidence & self-esteem

  • Nurtured

    Having a nurturing and stimulating place to live and grow

  • Active

    Opportunities to take part in a wide range of activities

  • Respected

    Given a voice, and involved in the decisions that affect their well being

  • Responsible

    Taking an active role within their schools and communities

  • Included

    Getting help and guidance to overcome inequalities; full members of the communities in which they live and learn

Getting behind the indicators

We've developed a larger single grid that links the indicators to particular sets of circumstances and points in a child's life. Some are particularly relevant when working with children and young people with impairments, disabilities and chronic conditions.

There are also some that cover not just the child's wellbeing, but their family's, too. For example:

  • A child who is registered with a dentist and going for regular check-ups can be said to be both 'healthy' and 'included'.
  • An indicator for the whole family might be that they are living in accommodation that’s suitable for their size and needs.

Download the full well-being grid