Working with schools

Teachers have expertise in teaching and learning, and knowledge of their students’ needs and abilities and the ways they learn. They are skilled in developing teaching and learning programs that address the needs of students within a curriculum context. Principals and teachers have primary responsibility for education programs in schools.

Visiting speakers and external providers should be used by schools only where this adds value to existing teaching and learning practice.

The department does not endorse or mandate resources, programs or providers. Principals and teachers are empowered to make these decisions at a local level. These decisions are made based on student needs and community context and resources.

What works?

  • Programs developed for schools and delivered in schools should be prepared, reviewed and evaluated in consultation with teachers, students and the school community. Research says that any programs or events delivered, without any pre and post teacher delivered activities, are unlikely to positively change student attitudes or behaviours in areas of health, safety and wellbeing.
  • Programs should reflect the local school context and local student and community needs. A one size fits all approach does not work across NSW.
  • We do not recommend the use of shock or fear tactics with students in our schools. Fear and shock tactics are least effective in those who most need to change their behaviour. Others will reject the messages by denying, ridiculing, neutralising or minimising them as they do not reflect student’s own experiences.
  • Best practice drug education advocates that students be actively engaged in their learning as opposed to being a passive observer. Information sessions, lectures, presentations or multimedia presentations without interactive learning during or after the event are ineffective for student learning.

When collaborating with NSW government schools in areas of health or drug education through PDHPE or Crossroads, external providers must abide by the following conditions:

  • duty of care rests with the principal and is not transferable to the external provider
  • when working directly with students, a NSW government employed teaching staff member must actively supervise at all times
  • an external provider has an obligation to report suspected risk of significant harm and make any disclosure directly to the principal
  • an external provider must hold student welfare and wellbeing as paramount when interacting with children and young people and comply with all child protection requirements including employment screening.
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