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.

Purpose of resource

The Every student is known, valued and cared for in our schools – an environmental scan resource outlines the framework for the department’s strategic goal ‘every student is known, valued and cared for in our schools’. It reviews some key findings from the literature on student wellbeing and outlines a selection of wellbeing approaches used by schools across the education sector in NSW.

When and how to use

The resource is an environmental scan of trends, data and research on student wellbeing. It is accompanied by the Every student is known, valued and cared for in our schools: case studies. School leaders and teachers can read, reflect on, discuss and implement themes and strategies highlighted in the environmental scan 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:

  • unpack the environmental scan and the accompanying case studies as part of whole-school professional development and/or stage or grade team meetings
  • encourage teachers to share key findings during professional development
  • reflect on strategies, policies or practices currently in place to support student wellbeing and learning at a classroom and whole-school level
  • access Tell Them From Me data, as well as their school’s Wellbeing Scout report, to lead discussions with staff about areas to improve across the school – you may wish to refer to the Achieving School Excellence in Wellbeing and Inclusion tool
  • support staff to find connections between What works best, the School Excellence Framework and the strategies contained in the environmental scan.

Teachers can:

  • read the environmental scan and the accompanying case studies and reflect on current practices and strategies that support student wellbeing and learning
  • unpack the environmental scan in a group setting.

Contact

Email feedback about this resource to info@cese.nsw.gov.au using subject line ‘Re: Every student is known, valued and cared for in our schools – an environmental scan’. 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 – Standard 4

What works best – wellbeing

NSW Wellbeing Framework for Schools

NSW Department of Education Wellbeing targets

Reviewed by: School Operations and Performance, Student Engagement and Interagency Partnerships directorates

Created/last updated: Originally published 19 November 2018

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

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