Whole-school approaches

Whole-school practices and programs improve school culture, promote inclusion and have a positive impact on student behaviour, attendance, wellbeing and engagement in learning. Outcomes in these domains are inextricably linked. When planning a whole-school approach, consider:

  • What are the aims of the program?
  • What challenges can we anticipate?
  • What is a realistic rate and scale of change to expect?

Include these fundamental considerations when developing a whole-school approach to student social and emotional wellbeing and positive behaviour:

  • Behaviour policy/code of conduct with explicit behaviour expectations
  • Well-developed and current policies, programs and processes to identify, address and monitor student behaviour and wellbeing needs
  • A balance of restorative and discipline practices
  • Attendance rates closely monitored, and action taken to support individual students
  • Positive behaviour management ethos
  • Staff wellbeing policies and support.

  • Explicit teaching of social-emotional skills and behaviour expectations
  • Positive classroom behaviour management and expectations
  • Staff role modelling
  • Social and emotional learning and skills embedded across the curriculum
  • Active engagement of students in learning and individualised teaching
  • Access to quality resources and staff professional learning.

  • Inclusive, positive and connected school culture
  • Positive student-teacher relationship building
  • Positive same- and cross-age peer relationships facilitated
  • Physical environment assessment across school setting (playground, classroom, hallways, canteen)
  • Equipment and facilities for recess and lunch breaks meet student needs and strengths
  • Physical environment assessment of staff room.

  • Proactive community and family engagement
  • Regular parent/carer communication
  • Active partnerships with support services and referrals
  • Authentic student voice and engagement in leadership
  • Parent/carer voice in school decision-making
  • Regular opportunities for relationship building.

  • Plan, deliver and review programs and practices in stages and allow sufficient time and resources to building staff capacity and change overtime
  • Collect and review data on contextual, cultural, and student and staff needs to support evidence-informed decision-making processes
  • Use evidence-informed programs and practices for positive outcomes for students
  • Regularly review leadership approaches, structures and opportunities.

Incorporating the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework

The Australian Student Wellbeing Framework supports Australian schools to establish a strong foundation to help every student achieve their aspirations in learning and in life. The vision of the Framework is that Australian schools are learning communities that promote student wellbeing, safety and positive relationships so that students reach their full potential.

The five interconnecting elements of leadership, inclusion, student voice, partnerships and support provide the foundation for improved student wellbeing and learning outcomes.

Try these discussion starters for school staff when implementing Framework elements.

  • Which elements are we performing well?
  • Which elements do we need to work on?
  • Are there any elements where we are unsure of our performance?
  • What we can we do to ensure we have enough information to make informed decisions?
  • What is our motivation and capacity to implement a whole-school program?
  • How will we build and sustain the program?
  • What is our plan to maintain the program over time?

Examples of whole-school approaches

Two effective models of whole-school approaches that support student learning and wellbeing are:

More information

Fact sheet – Restorative practices (PDF 197.42KB).

Australian Student Wellbeing Framework.

Positive Behaviour for Learning website.

Wellbeing Framework for Schools.

Links to resources

Resources page on the Positive Behaviour for Learning website.

Return to top of page Back to top