Student welfare

Direction and guidance for school communities to support student welfare, determine key issues for action and develop and implement student welfare actions and initiatives

Changes since previous version

2024 Mar 21 - updated contact details.

Document history

2022 Oct 10 - updated policy statement and links to align with the updated Student Behaviour policy and Inclusive education for students with disability policy.

2020 Jul 15 - update to contact details, text and position titles.

Superseded documents

None

Introduction

The NSW public education system seeks to provide quality education for all students, taking account of their age, background, ability and interests. Public schools help students to become self-directed, lifelong learners who can create a positive future for themselves and for the wider community.

For this to occur, public schools need to be places where every student can learn and grow with confidence. Students develop best in schools where teaching and learning occur in a context of student welfare.

Schools need to be safe and happy places for students and their teachers. Student welfare is enhanced when all members of the school community participate in the learning programs and life of the school.

School communities have developed their own student welfare plans and approaches, which include:

  • reviewing student welfare practices
  • determining key issues for action
  • implementing student welfare actions
  • reviewing student welfare within the school's ongoing planning and reporting processes.

Context

Student welfare in public schools:

  • encompasses everything the school community does to meet the personal, social and learning needs of students
  • creates a safe, caring school environment in which students are nurtured as they learn
  • is achieved through the total school curriculum and the way it is delivered
  • incorporates effective student behaviour strategies
  • incorporates preventative health and social skills programs
  • stresses the value of collaborative early intervention
  • provides ongoing educational services to support students
  • recognises the diversity within the school community and provides programs and supports that acknowledge difference and promote harmony
  • recognises the role that the school plays as a resource to link families with community support services
  • provides opportunities for students to:
    • enjoy success and recognition
    • make a useful contribution to the life of the school
    • derive enjoyment from their learning.

Schools provide effective learning and teaching within secure, well-managed environments, in partnership with parents, carers and the wider school community. The objectives and outcomes that follow therefore relate to:

  • effective learning and teaching
  • positive climate and inclusive and safe practices for supporting positive student behaviour
  • community participation.

Effective learning and teaching

Objective

To enhance effective learning and teaching by:

  • encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning and behaviour
  • identifying and catering for the individual learning needs of students
  • establishing well-managed teaching and learning environments
  • ensuring that learning activities build on prior knowledge and experiences and are socially and culturally relevant
  • providing frequent opportunities for students and their parents or carers to discuss learning programs and student behaviour and progress
  • identifying key social skills and developing plans for all students to acquire them, or make progress towards them, over time
  • ensuring that gender and equity issues are recognised and addressed across the curriculum.

Outcomes

  • Students will be active participants in the learning process.
  • Coordinated student services will provide effective support to classroom programs.
  • The learning experiences of students will be positive and affirm their individuality.

Results for students

  • Students will participate in decisions about their own learning.
  • Students will pursue a program of learning relevant to their needs and aspirations.
  • Students will develop an understanding of themselves as well as skills for positive, socially responsible participation.
  • Students will develop competencies that enhance the quality of their relationships with others.
  • Students will feel valued as learners.

Positive climate and school culture

Objective

To enhance school climate by:

  • maximising student participation in decision-making and ensuring that principles of equity and fairness are reflected in school practice
  • providing opportunities for students to demonstrate success in a wide range of activities
  • developing and implementing policies and procedures to protect the rights, safety and health of all school community members
  • establishing clear school rules that are known and understood by all school community members
  • monitoring attendance and ensuring that students attend school regularly
  • valuing and providing opportunities for all students to develop the skills involved in positive relationships, social responsibility, problem solving and dispute resolution
  • valuing difference and discouraging narrow and limiting gender stereotypes
  • incorporating students' views into planning related to school climate and organisation
  • establishing networks to support students and making sure that students and parents or carers know about, and have ready access to, this support
  • recognising the relationship between student and staff welfare and ensuring that staff welfare is also a priority
  • providing resources and opportunities for students to gain leadership experience using a range of mechanisms, including student representative councils or school parliaments.

Outcomes

  • The wellbeing, safety and health of students and other community members will be priorities in all school policies, programs and practices.
  • Principles of equity and justice will be evident in school plans, programs and procedures.
  • Schools will provide clear school-wide expectations for behaviour, which are known by staff, students and parents or carers, who have contributed to their development.
  • The school will be a safe, inclusive and cohesive community where individuals take responsibility and work together.
  • The school will reflect the values of its community and will welcome the participation of community members in the life of the school.
  • The school will be an inclusive environment which affirms diversity and respects difference.

Results for students

  • Students will be safe in the school environment.
  • Students will know what is expected of them and of others in the school community.
  • Students will be able to learn in quality learning environments that minimise disruption, bullying, harassment, discrimination, violence, intimidation and victimisation.
  • Students will be provided with appropriate support programs.
  • Students will contribute to decision-making in the school.
  • Students will participate in all aspects of school life as equals.
  • Students will value difference.
  • Students will be respected and supported in all aspects of their schooling.
  • Students will know and understand their school's organisation and know about student representative councils and other representative bodies.

Community participation

Objective

To enhance community participation by:

  • building learning communities in which staff, students and parents and carers work together for planned results
  • encouraging parents and carers and community members to participate actively in the education of young people and in the life of the school
  • acknowledging parents and carers as partners in school education
  • encouraging students to have a sense of belonging to the school community
  • assisting families to gain access to support services in the community
  • fostering close links with the wider community
  • encouraging links between parent, and carer and student representative groups
  • inviting parents and carers to share their skills and experiences in the school community
  • supporting students and their parents and carers in making decisions about their child's learning
  • recognising students' families, cultures, languages and life experiences.

Outcomes

  • There will be strong links between students, staff, parents, carers and other members of the school community.
  • Parents, carers and community members will participate in the education of young people and share the responsibility for shaping appropriate student behaviour.
  • The curriculum, goals, plans and actions of the school will reflect the needs and aspirations of students and the wider school community.
  • Students, parents, carers and teachers will perceive that the learning and teaching programs in the school are relevant and beneficial.
  • Staff will facilitate parent, carer and community involvement in a range of school activities.

Results for students

  • Students will be supported by parent, carer and community participation in school activities.
  • Students will value the school as an integral part of the community.
  • Students and their families will be supported to access relevant support services in the community.
  • Students will be partners with parents and carers and teachers in the teaching and learning processes at the school.

Responsibilities

Principals will ensure that:

  • a commitment to student welfare underpins all the policies and activities of the school
  • the school community reviews policies and practices related to student welfare
  • student welfare is regularly reviewed using appropriate planning processes
  • the review processes take into account other mandatory policies
  • strategic issues identified in reviews are incorporated into the school plan
  • students, staff and parents and carers are assisted to develop strategies for addressing student welfare needs in all the activities of the school
  • other policies and practices in the school are regularly reviewed to ensure that they meet the needs of all students in the school.

Teaching and support staff, according to their role in the school, will:

  • ensure that they are familiar with the Student Welfare policy
  • contribute to the provision of a caring, well-managed, safe environment for all students, fellow staff and parents and carers
  • participate in the learning and teaching process in ways that take account of the objectives in this policy
  • participate in the school community's implementation of the Student Welfare policy.

Students will be encouraged to:

  • act according to the Behaviour Code for Students
  • contribute to providing a caring, safe environment for fellow students, staff, parents and carers
  • participate actively in the learning and teaching process
  • provide their views on school community decisions
  • practice peaceful resolution of conflict.

Parents and carers will be encouraged to:

  • support the learning of their children and participate in the life of the school, including reviews of student welfare
  • share responsibility for shaping their children's understanding about positive and respectful behaviour
  • work with teachers to establish fair and reasonable expectations of the school.

Directors, Educational Leadership will ensure that:

  • all staff are familiar with, and implement the Student Welfare policy
  • the implementation of this policy is supported by all support staff
  • school programs support student welfare priorities and are responsive to the school community.

Executive directors will ensure that:

  • all staff are familiar with the Student Welfare policy
  • support generated in their directorate is consistent with this policy
  • all staff consider the implications of this policy
  • senior Executive is provided with information on system-wide performance and policy advice in relation to student welfare.

Contact
Leader, Student Wellbeing
0457 087 972

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