Using funding for student wellbeing
Each school is accountable for their effective use of funding to improve student learning through their Strategic Improvement Plan and annual report.
By recognising the inextricable link between wellbeing and learning in your school context, you will need to consider supporting student learning and maximising outcomes for the year through planned wellbeing initiatives.
The current School Budget Allocation Report (SBAR) Essentials document on the SBAR resource hub provides key advice on ensuring the purposeful use of spending funding and examples of effective practice for schools and states that:
Accountability for the effective use of needs-based funding must extend beyond reporting financial expenditure to include evaluation of the impact on student learning.
Some schools receive flexible funding for wellbeing services funding allocation based on indicators of school need. Another additional funding allocation is the Student wellbeing support program which provides for a student wellbeing support officer to support school wellbeing approaches.
Most schools will fund wellbeing initiatives to support learning through other annual budget components. All schools are accountable for the effective use of the funds in improving student learning through the Strategic Improvement Plan and the annual report.
Funding and wellbeing initiatives
The following funding may be available for wellbeing initiatives that support student learning and maximise outcomes.
- The per capita allocation provides principals with flexibility in their local decision making to meet the unique needs of students in their school. Examples of use for wellbeing at your school could include allocating additional resources to support specific programs, employing a range of personnel to support student learning and wellbeing needs, subsidising sporting programs focusing on movement, wellbeing and social skills or implementing a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) program to develop students’ resilience and ability to work in teams.
- The equity loading for Aboriginal students should be used at your school to improve the educational outcomes and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students so that they excel and achieve in every aspect of their education and training. An example of using this equity loading is in the implementation of Personalised Learning Pathways (PLPs), as articulated in the wellbeing framework (2015). Also see Excellence for Aboriginal students.
- The socio-economic background equity loading provides additional resources to schools to support the learning and wellbeing needs of your students in this equity group, even though those students may not be individually identifiable. Also see Excellence for students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Examples at your school could include:
- implementing a homework centre to support students to complete assessment tasks and regular homework
- supporting students to gain broader and equitable access to curriculum and learning with financial assistance for source costs and fees
- providing funding to ensure engagement in whole school activities, including extra-curricular activities, school equipment and excursions
- employing a youth worker to enhance students’ social skills development.
- Targeted funding for refugee student support can be used to strategically resource wellbeing initiatives. These could include peer support to assist refugee students to actively participate in the school community or mentoring to support refugee students in their transition to work or further education.
- Principals have the responsibility for determining the most appropriate ways of using the total annual school funding to meet the identified learning and support needs of targeted students with integration funding support. Depending on the specific student’s needs, this support may take the form of wellbeing initiatives. Examples at your school could include providing adjustments for student learning, developed by the class teacher and implemented with the assistance of a school learning support officer, providing adjustments for student participation, including those developed by the teacher in collaboration with medical and psychology professionals and implemented with the assistance of a school learning support officer.
Examples of strategically funding wellbeing programs
Examples of strategically funding wellbeing programs through the school budget.
- Funding snapshots viewed through the School Excellence lens of Wellbeing.
- Effective use of funding and resources.
- Sample Strategic Improvement Plans (SIPs).
Reflective questions on school funding
- What funding is required to support evidence-based strategies that would provide the most impact for improving the wellbeing of students in our school at the whole school, specific group and individual level?
- What sources of funding are available to support wellbeing initiatives at our school that are linked to improved learning outcomes?
- Have we accounted for our flexible funding for wellbeing services and/or our student wellbeing support program funding allocation in our Strategic Improvement Plan?
- How does the SIP meet the wellbeing needs of all our students?
- Have all funded wellbeing initiatives, including those not linked to a specific strategic direction, been accounted for in ‘Other funded activities’ and evaluated for publication in our annual report?
Find out more about School Excellence in Action.