World-leading child health researchers have been tasked with looking at the mental health and wellbeing of NSW primary school students and helping to create innovative social and emotional support measures for our youngest learners.
Premier Dominic Perrottet says the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute will undertake the work and propose a suite of new social and wellbeing initiatives.
“The unprecedented challenges of the past few years have certainly been tough and we’ve heard from teachers and parents right across our state how they’ve noticed an impact on student capacity to focus, social interactions and general happiness,” Mr Perrottet said.
“This research is vital to find the best ways of providing support in our schools. We’re already reforming curriculums to give students the best educational start in life and wellbeing is another important component to help set them up for success.”
Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said when it comes to student wellbeing, early identification and prevention is key.
“The NSW Government has invested significantly in health and wellbeing support, services and personnel in our high schools over the last few years, and we want that same high calibre of support in our primary schools,” Ms Mitchell said.
“We need to think holistically, whether that’s introducing student support officers into every primary school or helping schools make better choices about the wellbeing programs they offer to their students – there are endless possibilities.
“The work the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute will be ground-breaking, and will help deliver a tool and evidence-base for us to choose between those possibilities, and support our schools, and our kids, in the best possible way.”
Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor echoed the importance of prevention in the wellbeing of young people.
“This partnership will complement the NSW Government’s successful School Wellbeing Nurses Program and create a web of support around our students – ensuring they have the support and resources they need no matter their age or where they live,” Mrs Taylor said.
The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s work will be completed by February 2023.
“We know how important it is to have a variety of supports for our children– one size doesn’t fit all,” said Sharon Goldfeld, Professor at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
“We’re excited to work with the NSW Government to support schools and kids right across NSW.”
Since 2015, the NSW Government has invested more than $290 million to provide mental health and wellbeing professionals and services in NSW public schools, along with a series of programs to connect students and families with support in their community.