Journal of Student Engagement: Education Matters


Addressing the spiritual wellbeing of students in New South Wales (NSW) schools is not only important for their overall wellbeing but is now part of the NSW Department of Education and Communities’ (NSW DEC, 2015) Wellbeing Framework for Schools, However, research indicates there may be challenges due to difficulties and confusion regarding how to address student spiritual wellbeing in a secular education setting. Using a qualitative design, the current study aimed to explore teacher and counsellor perceptions of spiritual wellbeing, and how these may impact their ability to address spiritual wellbeing in practice. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with three teachers and three school counsellors and the transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Implications and recommendations for reducing barriers to implementation are considered and avenues for future research are highlighted. In particular, it is recommended for governing bodies of teachers and counsellors to recognise this challenge as an ethical dilemma, to provide education and training to develop teacher and counsellor understandings of spiritual wellbeing and to reflect on their own beliefs within this framework.