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Student Wellbeing

Overview

The department recognises the interrelationships between learning, achievement and behaviour.

State schools work proactively with their communities to create safe and supportive learning environments for all students, staff, volunteers, parents and visitors.

During 2008-09, the department continued working to improve the educational environment, and student health and wellbeing, through various strategies and programs including:

  • the Safe, Supportive and Disciplined School Environment Policy, which outlines the obligations and expectations to maintain order in state schools
  • guidelines and practical steps to help school communities address absenteeism
  • development of an anaphylaxis management eLearning module
  • Year of Physical Activity strategies and programs for state schools that accepted the government's challenge to improve the health of all Queenslanders.

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Safe, Supportive and Disciplined School Environment Policy

An early years female student climbing through a plastic tunnel in an outdoor adventure playground.

A key component of the Safe Supportive and Disciplined School Environment Policy is the Code of school behaviour. The code outlines the obligations and expectations to maintain order and management in state schools. The government developed the code to deliver the best possible outcomes to students.

The code recognises the rights of all:

  • students to learn
  • teachers to teach
  • people to be safe.

The code also recognises the interrelationships between learning, achievement and behaviour.

Each school outlines strategies to promote appropriate behaviour, and consequences for unacceptable behaviour, within its Responsible behaviour plan for students.

The Schoolwide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) program supports the promotion of appropriate behaviour. The program helps schools create positive learning environments by developing proactive, whole-school systems to define, teach and support appropriate student behaviours.

In 2008-09, the number of schools implementing the SWPBS program increased to more than 250, with 2000 school staff having been trained in implementing SWPBS at the universal (foundational) level since the program commenced. Approximately 300 school and district personnel have been trained as SWPBS coaches to support school SWPBS implementation teams since the program began.

Unacceptable behaviour may result in suspension or exclusion from the school. Suspensions and exclusions are last resort options for addressing unacceptable student behaviour, and schools should use them only after considering all other appropriate strategies.

The school must record any unacceptable behaviour that results in a school disciplinary absence (see Table 3).

Table 3: Summary of Queensland state school disciplinary absences

By reason of absence - Term 3 2008 to Term 2 2009

Reason Short suspension Long suspension Exclusion Cancellation
Total incidents Avg. rate per 1000 students per term Total incidents Avg. rate per 1000 students per term Total incidents Avg. rate per 1000 students per term Total incidents Avg. rate per 1000 students per term
Absences 1214 0.6 163 0.1 25 0.0 -- --
Other conduct prejudicial to the good order and management of the school 6238 3.2 812 0.4 151 0.1 -- --
Persistently disruptive behaviour adversely affecting others 7012 3.6 1002 0.5 142 0.1 33 0.0
Physical misconduct 14 826 7.6 1868 1.0 288 0.1 -- --
Property misconduct 3548 1.8 440 0.2 57 0.0 -- --
Refusal to participate in the program of instruction 5702 2.9 471 0.2 36 0.0 350 0.2
Substance misconduct involving tobacco and other legal substances 1937 1.0 202 0.1 20 0.0 -- --
Substance misconduct involving an illicit substance 156 0.1 161 0.1 56 0.0 -- --
Verbal or non-verbal misconduct 10 357 5.3 1079 0.6 89 0.0 -- --
All reasons 50 990 26.2 6198 3.2 864 0.4 383 0.2

Source: Department of Education and Training

Notes

  1. 0.0 rounded to 0.0 (if less than 0.05)
  2. -- Nil
  3. School disciplinary absence (SDA) data was collected centrally from Term 4 2002 to Term 2 2009 through the School Disciplinary Absence Collection (SDAC) system. This is the final year that the SDAC system will provide this data. From Term 3 2009, OneSchool will be the sole source of behavioural management data for state schools. The SDA data presented comprises the total of short suspensions (1-5 days), long suspensions (6-20 days), suspensions with recommendation for exclusion, and cancellations of enrolment.
  4. The enrolments used to calculate the SDA rates for Term 3 2008 were based on August 2008 enrolment data; SDA rates for Term 4 2008 were based on November 2008 enrolment data; and SDA rates for Terms 1 and 2 2009 were based on February 2009 enrolment data.
  5. The information is displayed in terms of aggregate incident counts and the rate of SDAs per 1000 students. The data does not represent the outcomes of any related appeal decisions.
    Incidents: Count of incidents of SDAs from Term 3 2008 to Term 2 2009.
    Rate per 1000 students: An effective average number of SDA incidents per 1000 students per term for the reporting period. Due to rounding, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals in the average rate per 1000 figures.
  6. School year counts of incidents by type of absence for individual schools will be published through each school's annual report on individual school websites from 2010. When aggregated, this data may differ from summary figures displayed above due to the information being reported across different time periods (school year versus financial year) and the results of a school-driven validation process.
  7. Due to rounding, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals in the average rate per thousand figures.

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Student absenteeism

Student absenteeism can significantly affect a student's education, and can be associated with a student leaving school early or having limited employment and life opportunities.

During 2008, the government developed Guidelines to address chronic absenteeism, school refusal and truancy to help schools deal with the complex issue of school absenteeism through a number of steps.

In many cases, schools will work with other government agencies, including the Queensland Police Service, Child Safety Services (Department of Community) and other local, non-government organisations to support students and their families.

In October 2008, the department released Every Day Counts, an awareness campaign about the importance of school attendance. The campaign is aimed at students, parents and the wider community, and includes brochures, posters, postcards and the Every Day Counts website.

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Healthy schools

Supported by the 2008 Year of Physical Activity, Queensland schools have accepted the government's challenge to improve the health of all Queenslanders.

To achieve this goal the department has implemented the following key strategies across Queensland schools.

Smart Moves

In September 2008, the department appointed eight physical activity facilitators (PAFs) to work in Queensland schools during Term 4, supporting primary schools and teachers to implement the Smart Moves policy.

Smart Moves requires all primary school students to undertake 30 minutes per day of physical activity as part of the school curriculum. The government contracted The University of Queensland to evaluate the nature, effectiveness and impact of the PAFs in this pilot project.

Data from schools indicated that most respondents believed that their school was meeting the core Smart Moves policy expectations. The support offered by PAFs focused on teachers' professional development, feedback and the provision of resources.

Active Kids, Active Minds

A male high school sports teacher on an indoor basketball court with a game going on in the background.

The Active Kids, Active Minds research project, which commenced at Brassall State School in March 2008, has entered Phase 2.

A progress report will be submitted in July 2009. The final report is due in January 2010.

Active Classrooms

In 2008, Active Classrooms One was developed at Forest Lake State School as a resource to support Smart Moves. The DVD demonstrated how to embed physical activity into mathematics, and was supported by three mathematics modules of work that are available on the Teaching and Learning Division, health and physical education (HPE) website.

Active Classrooms Two was filmed at Marshall Road State School in early June 2009. When released, the DVD will demonstrate how to embed physical activity into science, and will also be accompanied by modules of work. Both the DVD and the modules will be available on the Teaching and Learning HPE website.

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Believe Achieve Succeed

The department is committed to ensuring that every student, regardless of background and circumstance, has the best possible chance to achieve at school. For some children and young people, the barriers preventing success at school relate to issues beyond the school gate and the individual learner.

Believe Achieve Succeed was a support strategy for schools, school leaders, teachers and other school staff. The strategy aimed to inspire students and maximise opportunities to improve student learning outcomes through stronger partnerships with families, local businesses, community agencies and universities.

Parents and local communities worked with leadership and teaching teams in schools to help build high expectations, engage learners and focus teaching on delivering new dreams for students and communities.

The Believe Achieve Succeed strategy:

  • ensured that education was the focal point for supporting all students
  • promoted high standards of achievement for all students in all schools
  • actively encouraged and supported school leaders and communities to implement solutions to local barriers that inhibit student learning and achievement
  • facilitated flexible responses for staffing, education and family support services.

For 2009-10, learnings from the Believe Achieve Succeed initiative will be incorporated into the implementation of the Low Socio-Economic Status Schools Communities National Partnership Agreement.

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Anaphylaxis training for staff

Some Queensland students have severe allergies and are at risk of anaphylaxis.

During Term 2 2008, 1685 school-based staff undertook a four-hour pilot anaphylaxis management training program in the Moreton, South Coast, Greater Brisbane and Sunshine Coast education regions.

The pilot anaphylaxis management training program included emergency management of anaphylaxis (use of adrenaline auto injector) and use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

An eLearning training package has been developed to enhance the department's capacity to respond to the management of students diagnosed with a severe allergy who are also at risk of anaphylaxis.

The training package addresses issues such as allergy and anaphylaxis facts, emergency responses, risk management, and policies and procedures. Staff working in state schools will access the modular course in Semester 2 2009, following a pilot course.

Depending on student need, principals will choose key staff members who have completed the modules to undertake further practical training in the emergency use of an adrenaline auto injector.

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Improving the educational environment and student wellbeing

In 2008-09, the department improved the educational environment by:

  • improving teachers' and teacher aides' behaviour and classroom management skills by increasing the number of trained facilitators in Essential Skills for Classroom Management to 476 to deliver training across the state
  • evaluating the Smart Choices - Healthy Food and Drink Supply Strategy for Queensland Schools, which was completed in February 2009. The evaluation findings indicated that the number of schools implementing Smart Choices was high. Nearly all schools reported implementing Smart Choices in tuckshops, vending machines, breakfast programs and curriculum activities
  • maintaining chaplaincy and pastoral care services in the second year of a three-year program to support vulnerable and at-risk students in 131 eligible primary and secondary schools
  • implementing the Supporting Students' Mental Health and Wellbeing policy, which involved providing professional development to key district personnel, including principal education officers, student services and senior guidance officers
  • guiding schools on effective mental health promotion and prevention programs that contribute to students' social and emotional wellbeing. In October 2008, the department published the Guide to social and emotional learning in Queensland state schools booklet and website
  • maintaining a safe school environment by continuing to control movement at or entry to state and non-state school premises by unauthorised personnel. For a summary of the directives issued under the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006, see Table 4.

Table 4: Summary of directions and orders about conduct or movement at, or entry to, state and non-state school premises.

Type of direction or order Directions or orders given to personnel other than children Directions or orders given to children
State and non-state schools
Prohibition from entering premises of all state educational institutions and non-state schools for up to one year
- section 352
-- --
State schools
Direction about conduct or movement
- section 337
168 7
Direction to leave and not re-enter
- section 339
15 3
Direction about conduct or movement
- section 337
168 7
Direction to leave and not re-enter
- section 339
15 3
Prohibition from entering premises for up to 60 days
- section 340
3 1
Prohibition from entering premises for more than 60 days but not more than one year
- section 341
-- --
Review of direction - section 338:    
. the number of review applications made 11 --
. the number of directions confirmed 8 --
. the number of directions cancelled 3 --
Prohibition from entering premises of all state education institutions for up to one year
- section 353
-- --
Non-state schools
Direction about conduct or movement
- section 346
10 1
Direction to leave and not re-enter
- section 348
3 2
Prohibition from entering premises for up to 60 days
- section 349
3 --
Prohibition from entering premises for more than 60 days but not more than one year
- section 350
1 --
Review of direction - section 346-347:    
. the number of review applications made 1 --
. the number of directions confirmed -- --
. the number of directions cancelled 1 --

Source: Department of Education and Training

Notes:

  1. -- Nil
  2. Sections refer to the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006, Chapter 12, parts 6-8

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