SUPPORTING COMMUNITY WELLBEING

The wellbeing of all students is at the heart of Sydney Catholic Schools, enabling a learning environment which promotes and provides for the spiritual, physical, cognitive, and social and emotional growth of the entire school community.

Wellbeing is best promoted in a safe and supportive school environment, and in Sydney Catholic schools wellbeing is characterised by positive relationships, resilience, the opportunity to maximise strengths and high levels of satisfaction, and connectedness with learning. The links between learning and wellbeing are well researched and are clear.

The responsibility for enhancing and promoting student wellbeing is shared by all in Sydney Catholic Schools. School communities set the direction of their own student wellbeing priorities locally.

The Sydney Catholic Schools’ Student Wellbeing Team, a multidisciplinary team of professionals, is available to provide additional support for schools across all areas of student wellbeing.

School counsellors in Sydney Catholic Schools provide skilled student and family centred support in all of our primary and secondary schools. Counsellors are an active part of the school community, and support positive student wellbeing alongside teaching and other staff. They contribute to the development of school wellbeing plans and provide expert mental health advice to the school community.

Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) are strongly committed to the ongoing professional learning and development of all our staff. A focus on continual resourcing and learning for staff is a certain pathway to providing the best quality support for all our students.

Student/child mental health is one of four priority areas within the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) teacher accreditation framework. In addition to the work of school-based wellbeing teams, the SCS Student Wellbeing Team provides a range of professional training for staff around mental health and student wellbeing frameworks, programs and modern approaches.

Families are the first and most important influence on children’s social development, but there are many other influential factors in their social environment, as outlined by the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework and by Be You – Australia’s two national frameworks for mental health and wellbeing in schools.

A mentally healthy learning community is critical to young people achieving their best possible mental health, no matter their developmental stage.

At Sydney Catholic Schools we encourage school communities to:
model positive behaviours and practices, and champion and promote mental health knowledge and practice and commit to promote inclusion, healthy relationships and resilience;
empower young people to feel safe to express their emotions, support their peers and ask for support when they need it;
respond to and support young people with mental health needs;
promote the importance of self-care to all community members, and support those experiencing mental health issues by encouraging them to talk openly and seek support.

Being part of a Sydney Catholic School community means having a feeling of belonging and connectedness – the sense of caring for and being cared for by others. Our schools are places where students feel that they belong, are an active part of their learning community, are treated equally, and feel safe, accepted, respected and included.

THRIVING STUDENTS

In the areas of behaviour, emotions, thoughts, learning and social relationships, a thriving student may do the following – and much more:

  • Be resilient and manage stress and challenges in a productive way;
  • Be interested, curious and absorbed in learning and pursue learning goals with determination;
  • Maintain positive and supportive peer relationships.

Student wellbeing and mental health, including self management and interpersonal skills, are addressed explicitly throughout the school curriculum. 

Taking a holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing means that our schools look at what a student needs to thrive as an ultimate goal. The focus does not come from a ‘deficit model’ of ‘how can we help this student who is unwell’, but rather a positive and proactive approach that aims to allow all students to thrive and to reach their potential.

Sydney Catholic Schools has a range of partnerships in place to support our students to thrive.

Be You and the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework provide a strategic approach for schools to promote and embed positive mental health and wellbeing.

Additionally, strong partnerships with CatholicCare, and other government and non-government organisations, such as NSW Health, augment internal resources and services to ensure every child in every school is cared for.