Bushfires, drought and COVID-19 have had a significant impact on students. Schools have requested funding to introduce mental health programs, trauma-informed teaching practices, outdoor learning and community spaces and community liaison officers to support students and families.
CROOKWELL HIGH SCHOOL – POSITIVE EDUCATION
Crookwell High School in rural NSW identified an increasing number of students suffering from serious mental health problems, with attendance rates dropping as some children became too anxious to go to school. Access to support services was limited, due to the community’s remoteness and the limited number of professionals in nearby towns. Many families did not have internet or phone reception to access support online.
With support from Schools Plus, Crookwell developed a whole-school approach to positive mental health and wellbeing that emphasised wellbeing as an equal achievement to learning outcomes. Teaching staff were engaged in professional learning to better teach key wellbeing concepts and high-risk year groups were supported by resilience programs.
The community was highly engaged in the project, with 100% of families attending interviews about their child’s wellbeing plan. Teachers reported increased resilience and positive coping strategies in their students, which was particularly evident during hardships like 2020’sremote learning periods and the tragic death of a student at the school.