Supporting students' learning

This report was originally published 20 July 2018.

Image: Supporting students learning


This Learning Curve presents findings from the 2016 Tell Them From Me school surveys completed by primary and secondary students, parents/carers and teachers in NSW government schools. One of the aims of the surveys is to capture how support for learning is experienced at school and in the home. Students provide feedback on how much support they receive from their teachers and their parents/carers, while responses from teachers and parent/carers indicate how much support they provide in school and at home, respectively. This Learning Curve draws on all three perspectives to explore the provision of advocacy and support and how this varies for different groups of students and at different stages of school.

This Learning Curve is accompanied by Supporting students’ learning – resources for schools, teachers and parents, which provides some strategies for creating support frameworks that may be useful to schools, teachers and parents/carers. It includes two case studies from schools in NSW (one primary and one secondary) that demonstrate high levels of school advocacy and support for learning as reported by their students. The case studies illustrate some of the strategies and initiatives to which these schools attribute their positive results.

Key findings:

  • The research evidence highlights that teachers and parents/carers are key sources of support for learning. Greater levels of support are associated with better student academic and wellbeing outcomes.
  • 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.
  • Students’ perceptions of parent support decrease over secondary school. This decline is observed for both boys and girls, and across all socioeconomic groups.
  • 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).
  • Parents report a continual decline in the frequency of their interactions based around supporting their child’s schooling, starting from early primary school.
  • At primary school, girls report more support at school from teachers than boys. The opposite occurs in the early and middle years of secondary school, with boys reporting more support at school than girls.
  • Students from low socioeconomic backgrounds report receiving significantly less support from both parents and teachers compared to high socioeconomic-status students.

Purpose of resource

The Supporting students’ learning resource presents findings from the 2016 Tell Them From Me student, parent/carer and teacher surveys. It explores providing advocacy and support for learning in NSW schools and in the home, and how this varies for different groups of students and at different stages of school.

When and how to use

The resource is a review of research evidence and is accompanied by the Supporting students’ learning – resources and case studies publication and Supporting students learning MyPL course. School leaders and teachers can read, reflect on, discuss and implement themes and strategies highlighted in the resource 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:


Email feedback about this resource to using subject line ‘Re: Supporting students' learning’. 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

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.


  • Research report
  • Student engagement and wellbeing
  • Tell Them From Me

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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