Every student is known, valued and cared for in our schools – an environmental scan

This report was originally published 19 November 2018.

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Introduction

The NSW Department of Education’s Strategic Plan for 2018- 2020 includes the goal that ‘every student is known, valued and cared for in our schools’. This can be understood to mean that NSW public schools – collectively and through their individual teachers seek to:

  • know who each of their students are, including what they bring with them to school that influences their learning; who they are, as people and as learners; where they are at in their learning trajectory; what their aspirations are; and where they need to go to next
  • value each of their students, including respecting their personal stories; recognise the contribution they make to their learning community; and hold high expectations for their learning success
  • care for each of their students, including providing the support necessary to succeed as learners and experience wellbeing in the school context.

This paper outlines the framework for this strategic goal and provides some preliminary data to describe how NSW public schools are performing against wellbeing indicators. It then reviews briefly some key findings from the literature on student wellbeing, noting that there is not an extant evidence base that can identify best-practice models for ensuring that individual student needs are understood and met at the school level1. In the absence of an established evidence base, the paper concludes by outlining a selection of wellbeing approaches that are being used by schools across the public, Catholic and independent sectors in NSW.

1This has been known historically as ‘pastoral care’ in some parts of the education sector in Australia.

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