Understanding wellbeing to lift academic standards

Image: Teachers in Albury practicing brain breaks

‘Supporting Student Wellbeing and Mental Health’, launched in 2019, is developing the understanding, knowledge and skills of school leaders, teachers and support staff.

Content addresses issues of wellbeing and mental health in schools, and how schools can support students to achieve positive outcomes.

It reflects the correlation between good wellbeing and mental health and positive academic outcomes, and was developed in response to an identified need to ensure a whole-school approach could meet the diverse needs of students.

The course is delivered through an enriching blended learning model, led by trained tutors and delivered to small cohorts of up to 12 participants. Tutors facilitate face to face sessions and support participants’ work through discussions, activities and online forums where professional knowledge and experiences can be shared.

“Students from all cultural, language and socio-economic backgrounds may have challenges maintaining their mental health, and different cultures may understand wellbeing differently,” said Jane Stott, Disability Learning and Support Adjusted Learning Coordinator.

“The course explores the kinds of issues that students may face, different perspectives, and possible causes and approaches schools can adopt to better identify their students’ needs and support them.”

‘Supporting Student Wellbeing and Mental Health’ has been delivered to 321 participants by more than 70 experienced tutors, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Staff speak on how the course has helped them

“It has provided much greater understanding and ability to use available resources to help students and staff. It is now a few months on and I've referred back to this today to support a very complex needs student. I can see it will be a go-to for me.”

Eloise Dews – Learning and Wellbeing Advisor, Queanbeyan Education Office

“The course has been a big eye-opener. It has increased my understanding of the mental health issues students may experience and the impact they have on their daily lives. The course content was a good balance of strategies, examples and evidence. Creating SMART [Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely] goals and tiered actions reinforced the need to plan interventions in response to student needs.”

Angela Fasullo – Relieving Assistant Principal Learning and Support, Gladesville Public School

“It has given me a wealth of resources to further investigate and share. I have already shared some things, as a result of having access to them through the course, to meet the specific needs of particular students and their teachers.”

Heather Sippel – Assistant Principal Learning and Support, Kariong Mountains High School

“I am more aware of student needs. I have been consciously connecting with students on a daily basis to try and reduce escalating behaviours. I feel I am more confident in offering teachers advice about steps they can follow to help students with wellbeing issues.”

Margaret Peacock – Teacher, Warnervale Public School

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