Supports and services

Advancing the learning, wellbeing and safety of all students in NSW public schools is a high priority for the Department. There are a range of services and resources available to guide and support staff and to help students develop the skills they need to meet high standards of safe and respectful behaviour in NSW schools.

School-based support

Schools have access to a range of resources and staff to support the learning and wellbeing of all students, including those experiencing difficulties with behaviour.

The school Learning and Support Team (L&ST) plan and implement programs and strategies to assist students with additional needs, including behavioural needs.

The Learning and Support Teacher (LaST) provides direct and timely specialist assistance to classroom teachers and to students in regular classes with additional learning and support needs.

School Learning Support Officers (SLSOs) work under the direction and supervision of the classroom teacher. They provide assistance to students with disability and additional learning and support needs enrolled in special schools, specialist support classes in regular schools and regular classes. They can provide assistance with:

  • classroom activities
  • the care and management of students with disability and additional learning and support needs.

The school counselling service provides specialised psychological assessment, counselling and intervention services in NSW public schools and contributes to student learning and wellbeing outcomes through membership of school based learning and support teams. School counsellors and school psychologists also help teachers develop and implement programs and strategies to support student needs.

Some schools also have additional staff such as Student Support Officers (SSOs) who work within the school community in partnership with the learning and support team and school counselling service to enhance student social and emotional wellbeing and learning outcomes.

Risk assessment and management planning

Most student behaviour that requires intervention is managed using school policies and processes. If the behaviour presents a potential risk to the safety of students, staff, visitors or school property, further assessment and management may be required.

The Department?s Health and Safety Directorate has developed a range of procedures, guidelines and tools to assist with the management of students with challenging behaviours. Learn more about risk management and student safety (internal staff only).

Educational services support

Beyond school-based staff and support, schools can draw on the expertise of their local school services team, who facilitate access to specialist staff, such as Assistant Principals, Learning and Support, Networked Specialist Facilitators and specialist behaviour settings across NSW.

Specialist behaviour settings

Specialist settings provide additional support for students with severely disruptive behaviour.

  • Behaviour schools provide a range of specialist programs for students with in Years 5-10 with the aim of returning the students to regular schools or supporting their transition to other education or employment opportunities. There are 35 behaviour schools across NSW.
  • Tutorial centres and programs provide an age appropriate short-term intervention for students in Years 5 to 10 who require intensive levels of intervention that cannot be provided within a mainstream or support class setting. There are 40 tutorial centres and programs across NSW.
  • Suspension centres provide an intervention for students who are on long suspension from school and have been identified by their school as likely to benefit from a structured program to assist their successful return to school as soon as possible. There are 22 suspension centres across NSW.

For more information and advice related to local supports for students with severely disruptive behaviour, please contact your local school services office.

School communities working together

NSW public schools provide safe learning environments for young people to learn and succeed. We achieve this by promoting positive social behaviour, providing support to vulnerable students and building strong links with parents, carers and school communities. Collaboration between staff, students, parents and carers is fundamental to maintaining positive student behaviour in schools.

The School Community Charter outlines the responsibilities of parents, carers, educators and school staff in NSW public schools to ensure our learning environments are collaborative, supportive and cohesive.

Links to resources

Wellbeing Framework for Schools.

Positive Behaviour for Learning website.

Specialised Equipment for Students with Disability provides advice for school staff on specialised equipment to support safety, wellbeing and participation in learning for students with disability.

Professional learning

School staff have access to a range of professional learning programs related to supporting student behaviour through MyPL.

Online Training Australia understanding and supporting student behaviour explores what is meant by difficult behaviour, how teacher practice can influence student behaviour and how positive classroom management practices support the learning and behaviour needs of all students.

Online Training Australia understanding personalised learning and support explores processes and strategies to support the additional learning and wellbeing needs of a wide range of students who require individual planning approaches.

The Management of Actual or Potential Aggression Foundation Course (MAPA) is a six hour course providing staff members or school teams with a framework for decision making and problem solving to prevent, de-escalate and safely respond to problem behaviours.

The Management of Actual or Potential Aggression Physical Intervention Unit 9 is a three hour course for school teams to explore response options for challenging student behaviour following an assessment of risk where a physical intervention may be required. Schools need to submit a request for a school team to participate in this training through their local school services team.

The Trauma Informed Practice for Improved Learning and Wellbeing course is currently being piloted into Term 1, 2020. The course focuses on complex trauma, its impacts on student learning and wellbeing and trauma-informed practice. An evaluation of the pilot will determine feasibility and scalability across the Department. To stay informed about the progress of this work please sign-up to receive the Disability Strategy newsletter or visit the website.

MAPA Guidelines for school services staff (PDF 138.03KB).

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