Supporting students' learning resources and case studies

This resource was originally published 20 July 2018.

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Alongside effective teaching practices, students need a supportive learning environment to succeed. In an education context, advocacy and support for learning refers to the active consideration of, and support for, students’ academic and wellbeing needs.

Main findings

  • The results show that students and teachers report different levels of advocacy and support in school depending on the stage of schooling. Students’ perceptions of teacher support start to decline in the final years of primary school. Secondary school students perceive teacher support to dip in the middle years of school, before improving in Years 11 and 12. Teachers report that they increase the amount of classroom support they provide to students in key schooling years (Years 5-6 and Years 10-12).
  • In NSW, both parents and students report a continual decline in the frequency of supportive interactions at home that relate to school.
  • While there are some differences between boys’ and girls’ experiences of advocacy and support in school and at home, there is a large disadvantage gap between low and high-SES students. These findings suggest that more can be done to make sure all students have access to support sources, which they can turn to for advice and encouragement.
  • CESE has used evidence-based practices and local examples to provide practical strategies for fostering advocacy and support in schools and at home. Case studies on Whalan Public School and Sir Joseph Banks High School highlight some of the programs and initiatives these schools have used to achieve high levels of advocacy at school. This qualitative research shows that schools that provide high levels of advocacy at school are also committed to strengthening the homeschool partnership for their students.

More information

The NSW Department of Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022 includes the commitment to ensure that every student is known, valued and cared for in our schools. School advocacy and support for learning are necessary components for happy and successful students. Schools can use the department’s Tell Them From Me surveys to engage with, clarify and strengthen the important relationship between teachers, parents and schools by providing an evidence-based platform to capture feedback. This knowledge can then help build an accurate and timely picture that schools can use for practical improvements.

Purpose of resource

The Supporting students’ learning – resources and case studies publication provides evidence-based strategies for fostering supportive learning environments. It includes case studies on Whalan Public School and Sir Joseph Banks High School, both of which have demonstrated high levels of school advocacy and support for learning as reported by their students.

When and how to use

This publication contains a review of research evidence and case studies, and is accompanied by the Supporting students’ learning research report and Supporting students learning MyPL course. The evidence base for this publication can be found in the accompanying research report, and the 2 resources should be read together. School leaders and teachers can read, reflect on, discuss and implement themes and strategies highlighted in the publication as part of school-developed High Impact Professional Learning (HIPL).

The appropriate time to use this resource may differ for each school, leader and teacher.

School leaders can:

Teachers can:

  • read the publication or summary and reflect on current practice
  • listen to the Supporting students’ learning podcast
  • complete the Supporting students’ learning MyPL course to explore providing advocacy and support in NSW schools and connect education theory with their own practice
  • identify strategies and practices in the publication to apply in the classroom to support student learning
  • reflect on the impact of the applied strategies.


Email feedback about this resource to using subject line ‘Re: Supporting students' learning – resources and case studies’. You can also subscribe to the CESE newsletter and connect with us on Yammer.

Alignment to system priorities and/or needs: NSW Department of Education Strategic Plan 2018-2023 – ‘Every student is known, valued and cared for in our schools’

Alignment to School Excellence Framework: Learning domain – wellbeing, reporting (parent engagement)

Alignment with existing frameworks: Australian Professional Standards for Teachers – Standards 4 and 7

What works best – wellbeing

NSW Wellbeing Framework for Schools

NSW Department of Education Wellbeing targets

Reviewed by: Learning and Wellbeing directorate

Created/last updated: Originally published 20 July 2018

To be reviewed: CESE publications are prepared through a rigorous process. Resources are reviewed periodically as part of an ongoing evaluation plan.


  • Case study

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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