Australian Student Wellbeing Framework
On 19 October 2018, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Education, launched the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework.
The Australian Student Wellbeing Framework (the Wellbeing Framework) is a foundational document that will provide Australian schools with a vision and a set of guiding principles to support school communities to build positive learning environments, and to consider reviewing their current safety and wellbeing policies and support requirements.
The Wellbeing Framework provides school communities with best-practice advice on developing and implementing policies and support mechanisms to help all students from the first year of school to year 12. The five key elements of the Wellbeing Framework are:
- Leadership: Principals and school leaders play an active role in building positive learning environment where the whole school community feels included connected, safe and respected.
- Inclusion: All members of the school community are active participates in building a welcoming school culture that values, diversity, and fosters positive, respectful relationships.
- Student Voice: Students are active participants in their own leaning and wellbeing, feel connected and use their social and emotional skills to be respectful, resilient and safe.
- Partnerships: Families and communities collaborate as partners with the school to support student learning, safety and wellbeing.
- Support: School staff, students and families share and cultivate an understanding of wellbeing and support for positive behaviour and how this supports effective teaching and learning.
The Wellbeing Framework has been endorsed by Ministers of Education through Education Council with input from all states and territories, education authorities and a range of national and international experts. It is aligned to state, territory and other national wellbeing and safety initiatives and to the Australian Curriculum, the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and Principals. The Wellbeing Framework is based on evidence that recognises the strong linkages between student safety, wellbeing and learning outcomes. The Australian Student Wellbeing Framework and supporting resources are available for educators, parents and students on the Student Wellbeing Hub website.
Student Wellbeing Hub and resources
The Student Wellbeing Hub contains a wealth of Australian Curriculum aligned information and resources for educators, parents, and students on strategies to build and sustain the wellbeing of the whole school community. The Hub is underpinned by the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework.
The Hub is designed to be responsive to issues affecting students and schools to build positive, respectful and supportive teaching and learning communities.
- professional learning modules with videos,
- support materials,
- podcasts and practical strategies
- a school audit survey tool where schools can assess the effectiveness of their policies and procedures in relation to student wellbeing
The Australian Student Wellbeing Framework classroom resources for key topics including:
- healthy minds and bodies
- protecting against bullying
- respecting diversity
- building positive relationships
- safe and responsible choices
- being safe online.
Parents and students have dedicated sections of the Hub.
Parents can browse information and advice to help them:
- support their child,
- build positive communication with their child's school, and
- contribute actively to the wider school community.
Students will find age-appropriate information, advice, and games that build their understanding of topics and issues important to their wellbeing at school and beyond.
The Hub is funded by the Australian Government, working with state and territory governments, the non-government school sector, and Education Services Australia.
Be You – national education initiative for mental health
Be You is a new initiative, launched 1 November 2018, designed to support mental health in schools and early learning services. The initiative will provide teachers with the tools to help support the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people by:
- Giving them flexible training and clear information, based on solid research, that helps them recognise and respond confidently to emerging mental health issues in their early learning service or schools
- Offering tips about how to build resilience in children and young people
- Reviewing mental health-related programs and placing them in one, easy-to-use online directory
- Giving advice to educators about how they can support their own wellbeing
- Involving families and carers in their child’s education and wellbeing, and
- Providing 70 consultants to guide schools and early learning services through the available resources.
Developed by Beyond Blue in partnership with delivery partners Early Childhood Australia and headspace, Be You is available for free to all 24,000 early learning services, primary and secondary schools in Australia. Selected resources will also be available on the Australian Government’s Student Wellbeing Hub. Early learning services, schools and educators can sign up to Be You at www.beyou.edu.au.
The Australian Government knows that online safety is an important issue for schools and families. Many Government cyberbullying initiatives provide information for students, teachers, parents and the community on creating safe online environments.
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner is Australia's leader in online safety, helping young people have safe, positive experiences online, and encouraging behavioural change to help ensure a generation of Australian children can act responsibly online.
The Student Wellbeing Hub also provides information about cyberbullying.
Bullying and violence of any nature is never acceptable, and all students have the right to be safe at school.
The Bullying. No Way! website provides information, resources and helpful ideas for school communities about how to counter bullying, harassment, and violent student behaviour.
The website promotes the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence, Australia's key anti-bullying event for schools. On this day, each year, all Australian students are encouraged to take a stand against bullying and violence in their classroom, school and beyond. It is Australia's largest anti-bullying event for schools, giving schools and students the opportunity to promote their own anti-bullying messages and programs to their community.
Schools are encouraged to participate in the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence by registering at the Bullying. No Way! website.
The national day and website are initiatives of the Safe and Supportive School Communities Working Group, which includes representatives from the department, all states and territories, and the Catholic and independent sector.
What to do if your child is being bullied
Start by talking to your child's school. Stay calm and take notes into the meeting so you don't forget the things you want to cover.
If your child has any evidence of the bullying (such as emails, text messages or physical signs) take these to the meeting.
If you have already tried talking to the school and the problem is persisting, contact your state or territory education authority, who can then investigate. Call the main switch number and ask to speak to someone who works in the student welfare area.
Your child might find it helpful to look through the Bullying. No Way! and Student Wellbeing Hub websites which provide coping strategies and opportunity for your child to share their experiences with other young people who have faced the same situations.
Bullying research projects
Various research projects associated with bullying are available.
The Australian Government is investing $247 million over four years (2018-2022) to renew the National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP).
The NSCP supports the wellbeing of students and school communities through the provision of pastoral care services and strategies delivered by chaplains.
Participating schools are eligible to receive up to $20,280 in metropolitan or regional areas and $24,336 in remote or very remote areas. This funding will support approximately 3000 schools per year to access the services of a qualified chaplain.
The renewed NSCP will have a greater focus on supporting students and school communities affected by bullying, in particular cyberbullying.
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner will be developing and delivering a professional learning package in responding to and preventing bullying and cyberbullying to all NSCP school chaplains. This professional learning package is expected to become available in July 2019. More information on this professional learning will be provided as it becomes available.
An independent evaluation of the NSCP found it to be highly effective in boosting student wellbeing.
While the Australian Government funds the NSCP, states and territories are responsible for its administration in their jurisdictions through a Project Agreement with the Commonwealth.
Schools interested in participating in the NSCP their state or territory education department.
Safe Schools Coalition Australia
The Safe Schools Coalition Australia aimed at creating safe and supportive school environments for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse people by reducing homophobic and transphobic bullying and discrimination in schools. Free resources are available on the Student Wellbeing Hub.
Review of Safe Schools Coalition Australia resources for schools
An independent review of the Safe Schools Coalition Australia (SSCA), led by Professor Bill Louden, advised on the extent to which the program resources were consistent with the intent and objectives of the SSCA program and were used appropriately by schools. More information is available in the terms of reference.