Student Wellbeing Boost
In 2023 all schools across NSW will receive one-off funding for extra mental health and wellbeing resources and initiatives through the Commonwealth ’s Student Wellbeing Boost.
About the Student Wellbeing Boost
All schools across the state will receive one-off funding for extra mental health and wellbeing resources and initiatives through the Commonwealth’s Student Wellbeing Boost.
The Student Wellbeing Boost supports schools to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and successive lockdowns on the mental health and wellbeing of their students.
Through the Student Wellbeing Boost schools can purchase new programs, services or resources or use the funds to supplement existing initiatives supporting the specific needs of their students.
When will schools receive funding?
Your school should expect to see the funds credited by the end of Term 4, 2023.
How will schools receive the money?
Your school does not need to apply for the Boost.
For government schools, funds will be automatically allocated to the school’s 6200 account. The allocation for the Student Wellbeing Boost program, held in your school’s 6200 fund will still be available until the end of 2024. You are not required to plan or expend these funds using a WBS element.
For non-government schools, funds will be passed on through the school’s approved authority.
How long does our school have to spend the funds?
Student Wellbeing Boost funds will need to be spent or committed to be spent by 31 March 2024. This means that schools need to have a plan in place for how they intend to use the funding by this date. Funds do not need to be spent all at once and can be used to support multiple initiatives. Schools are expected to have fully expended Student Wellbeing Boost funding by the end of 2024.
What can my school spend the Student Wellbeing Boost funding on?
Schools are required to use the funding to support mental health and wellbeing activities, this may include:
- proven student wellbeing, student engagement and mental health initiatives
- camps, excursions, sporting, arts and social activities that improve students' wellbeing, and
- extra mental health professionals.
The department’s Tailoring health and wellbeing approaches at your school (nsw.gov.au)site provides schools with evidence-based resources for enabling successful health and wellbeing approaches. This resource has been developed for NSW public schools, but is available for all schools to access.
A great place to start if looking for a whole-school approach to wellbeing is the 10 principles checklist.
We have drawn together information schools might find helpful when considering new or expanded mental health and wellbeing supports for students.
Quality assured student wellbeing external programs for NSW public schools
NSW public schools can access the easy-to-use comprehensive Student Wellbeing external programs catalogue to find quality assured wellbeing programs for students in Kindergarten to Year 12 using this link.
The catalogue is an online resource of quality assured external wellbeing programs that helps schools confidently choose programs for their local contexts. Administrative burden is reduced, saving schools time researching programs and comparing prices. There are currently around 70 programs in the catalogue, which will continue to be expanded throughout 2023 and beyond.
Non-government schools can see the list of programs and providers on the department’s website.
What is the Student Wellbeing external programs catalogue?
The catalogue is an online resource of quality assured external wellbeing programs which helps schools confidently choose the appropriate program/s that support student needs in their local context. Administrative burden is reduced, saving schools time researching programs and comparing prices.
There are currently around 70 programs in the catalogue, which will continue to be expanded throughout 2023 and beyond.
Themes were selected based on school demand, analysis of School Improvement Plans and department data, and guided by a literature review by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. The initial three themes are:
- Sense of belonging
This resource helps schools to use their resources strategically for improved student wellbeing, learning and life outcomes, by reducing staff hours spent researching programs. The quality assurance reduces risk and helps school staff to confidently choose programs that support diverse student needs in their local context. Contracts and pricing are already negotiated with purchases made using school operational funds.
Universal ideas for schools
Schools can enrol in the free professional learning through the School Physical Activity Health Check app filled with information resources and know-how for developing strong, positive interconnection between physical activity and students’ wellbeing outcomes; or investigate specialist training for staff in implementing inclusion activities (including for Schools for Specific Purposes schools or support class cohorts).
Schools may choose to introduce or upgrade the Learning to Lead project in your school.
Schools may consider supplementing existing programs or resources to support individual students, by establishing a fund so all students can attend school camps and excursions, subsidising participation and registration fees for sport, including equipment and uniforms or costs for students participating in swimming and water safety initiatives.
Examples of specific arts for wellbeing related activities that schools could consider include:
- subsidising transport to galleries or performances, broadening student experience, increasing appreciation of the arts and fostering student wellbeing and mental health outcomes
- creating a school studio or a performance space for students to explore their creativity
- employing specialist staff as relief from face-to-face teaching to teach drama to build students’ skills at exploring text and relationships as well as their public speaking and social skills
- employing specialist dance staff to work with classroom teachers, including support classes, to deliver dance classes, to build students’ skills in performing arts, increasing confidence, wellbeing and reducing anxiety
- employing staff to run a targeted music therapy program supporting students suffering from trauma
- purchase of culturally specific musical instruments to deliver a music program, increasing extra-curricular opportunities, cultural awareness and pride, participation, and attendance
- identifying and financially assisting students to attend instrumental music camps and other opportunities that aren’t otherwise within their reach
- subsidising rural and remote students’ travel and accommodation.
For NSW public schools, participation in the Arts Unit programs can provide students with an opportunity outside of their experience at school, developing their sense of confidence, pride and resilience.
The Arts Unit coordinates a variety of programs that help support students’ wellbeing, including Schools Spectacular, Pulse Alive, Festivals of Instrumental and Choral music, Dance and Drama, Hip Hop Dance and Aboriginal Dance. These programs enhance student skills, engagement, learning and wellbeing through the development of self-expression, creativity, and personal agency.
NSW public schools may also want to consider any of the programs below:
|What is it?
|Outcomes for participants
Film By and CApture filmmaking projects
An opportunity for students to showcase student voice through film making
Enhances wellbeing through the development of student voice, influence, choice and working together.
Boys Vocal Program
Students come together for 3 days to learn to sing modern repertoire as a part of an ensemble under the guidance of music experts. Performance is filmed and recorded in a professional studio.
Program develops students' confidence and skills as they work in a supportive, nurturing environment that fosters connection and growth.
Taiko Drumming Workshops
Students learn Japanese Taiko drumming techniques. During the day they will contribute to developing a performance piece that can be taken back to school.
Skills in percussion, playing together, keeping in time. Builds endurance and encourages confidence to improvise and create a performance piece
Multicultural Playwright program
Supports students from a refugee background or EAL/D students to engage in activities that develop language skills through writing a piece for theatre.
Students develop scriptwriting and performance skills culminating in a performance that is live streamed. Students’ use experiences to tell their story through Drama.
Operation Art Exhibition
Create an artwork to submit to this exhibition that aims to use art to aid in the healing of children in hospital
Students understand that through their creativity they can make a difference to the lives of others.
Develop confidence and pride in their creative work, see themselves as “real” artists through the experience of having an artwork framed and hung in a professional art exhibition.
D’Arts Inclusive Dance workshops
Students will discover new forms of physical expression in an engaging supportive environment.
Students explore and new physical expression, develop confidence, sense of achievement and enjoyment under the direction of industry experts.
Mural in a day
Students work with a contemporary street artist to create a bespoke mural at your school in a day.
Years 5 -10
Students work alongside the artist to create a mural that they feel ownership of.
There are a number of allied health professionals schools can consider that support the specific needs of individual students. These include:
|Description and examples of support
Psychologists work with students to address mental health issues and provide support for academic and social-emotional development.
Puplic schools may choose to use the funding to access the Department's Contingent Psychology Services.
When available, current permanent part-time staff can be engaged in this scheme on the days they are not employed by the department.
School counsellors and school psychologists who are employed on a permanent full-time or part time basis, cannot be employed in this scheme on the days they are employed by the NSW Department of Education; this includes not being able to employ staff who are on a form of leave.
Note: Prior to accessing external psychologist support, it is important to speak with your school counsellor/psychologist and/or Senior Psychologist Education to discuss possible considerations including confidentiality, informed consent, and record keeping.
Occupational therapy is an allied health profession that involves the therapeutic use of everyday activities, or occupations, to treat the physical, mental, developmental, and emotional ailments that impact a patient’s ability to perform daily tasks.
Schools could utilise occupational therapists to assist students who have missed key developmental milestones during the extended lockdown periods. In cases where students are demonstrating heightened levels of anxiety related to difficulties performing daily tasks, an occupational therapist could assess these abilities and develop targeted programs to improve adaptive functioning skills.
Speech pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disorders, including difficulties with speaking, listening, understanding language, reading, writing, social skills, stuttering and using voice.
The development of connections with peers and capacity to build friendships are important skills for students, and these may have been adversely impacted during COVID. Schools can utilise a speech pathologist to assist students build their social communication skills through the administration of assessments and provision of individual lessons or small group sessions, and appropriate recommendations for teaching staff.
Social Workers are trained to assist people improve their wellbeing and they work with individuals, families, groups and communities.
Schools can employ social workers to work in partnership with schools and families to reduce school refusal behaviours in students, especially when these are related to increased levels of anxiety in the student and/or parent(s).
Accredited Exercise Physiologist
Exercise physiologists are practitioners who provide exercise-based interventions and education around physical activity and lifestyle changes to achieve behavioural change.
Schools could utilise exercise physiologists to develop small group programs for improving the mental health of adolescent students who may be resistant to talk-therapy.
The department’s Specialist Allied Health and Behaviour Support Provider Scheme supports public schools that may need to engage specialist allied health services to ensure learning adjustments are appropriate and effective for students.
Any further questions?
For questions about Student Wellbeing Boost funding, please email the National Funding Reform Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Non-government schools seeking additional support regarding the Student Wellbeing Boost can also contact their relevant sector authority: