At Newbury Primary School student wellbeing is at the centre of all that we do and our core vision and mission statements reflect this. We believe that a positive attitude to academic and social learning is essential and that personal effort is to be recognised and valued.
At the start of the school year each classroom takes part in a ‘Creating a Community’ program. The students unpack the meanings of our school values and develop statements about how we demonstrate the values within our school. The concepts of what it means to be a good learner, a good friend and a good community member are explored and statements of intent are developed from these. In the conclusion of this program a classroom community agreement is developed and this is used as a teaching point and guide for positive expectations for each student. Creating a Community concepts are revisited consistently throughout the year as specific needs arise.
We adopt a calmer classrooms approach with various support structures are in place including check in boards, sanctuary spaces and emotional thermometers to ensure students are regulated and ready for learning. Student wellbeing staff provide social stories to support students with difficulties such as transitioning. These strategies are explicitly taught to ensure that our students know the value of these and also how to use these strategies effectively.
Social Skills groups are run to assist students in a range of skills including friendship skills, taking turns, transitions, play preparation, help seeking, stress management and cooperating with peers. The social skills groups are based on the lessons from the Resilience Rights and Respectful Relationships program developed by the Department of Education. Students who demonstrate difficulties in this area are nominated by their classroom teacher to be a part of the program. Each selected child will be a part of the program for at least five weeks and then their progress is reassessed.
The School Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) and Resilience Rights Respectful and Relationships (RRRR) initiatives that we have in place, provide layers of support around student wellbeing. A SWPBS matrix was developed with feedback from students, parents and staff at Newbury Primary School. The matrix outlines the expectations of behaviours for our students. This is explicitly taught as a part of the Creating a Community program as well as when needed throughout the year. The matrix covers the following areas, learning spaces, outside areas, toilets and the digital world.
The Student Wellbeing Community regularly liaise with local community groups such as Breakthru, Headspace and Child First to support our students. They provide services to our community such as: groups to address social skills issues and anger issues, psychology and counselling as well as providing advice for our parents.
We assess our students’ perceptions of school twice a year through the implementation of a school designed student perception survey. This information gives all staff a valuable insight into how students are feeling about school, whether they feel they have a voice and are heard and if they feel safe. This data is analysed with all staff in order to determine what we can do to improve student perception.
We have engaged the services of a counsellor. The Student Support and Counselling Support Officer liaises with parents and teaching staff to provide the best care possible for our students. Individual and group sessions are available for our students and regular feedback is given to parents on the progress of their children.
Attendance is a key area in student wellbeing. When students attend school regularly they develop positive and long lasting friendships, they build their knowledge on how to communicate effectively, they expand their knowledge and develop skills and strategies that will take them into adulthood. We promote Every Day Counts, a Department of Education initiative focussed on students attending school every day.