The provision of student welfare in schools
Policy, December 2003
Student Welfare is integral to all aspects of school life and schools must aim to ensure that a safe and supportive environment and culture is created and maintained so that the experience of teaching and learning is enhanced for all students.
Two important components in the establishment of this caring environment are:
a) The provision of guidance and support to students.
b) The provision of advice to school decision makers to ensure that curriculum and organisational structures provide the opportunity for all students to develop their potential and to actively take their place in the world.
2. The Importance of Student Welfare
The provision of welfare is essential to students' sense of self worth and the development of their identity and in the achievement of the goals of the school. It fosters the personal and social development of the individual and it is a pre-requisite for students to be in an effective learning situation. Students who have achieved a sense of belonging and acceptance are well placed to apply themselves to the learning task.
3. The Way in Which Schools Provide for Welfare
The following basic principles have been identified:
a) A recognition by the school that the well being of its students is inextricably linked with the school's curriculum and social organisation. This involves an acceptance by the school that it has a responsibility to provide an appropriate curriculum for all students.
b) An acceptance by staff that a concern for student welfare is a function of their teaching duties.
c) An organisation within the school which:
- recognises that student welfare is a total staff/school responsibility;
- supports teachers in carrying out their welfare function;
- promotes and coordinates government and community inter-agency cooperation and collaboration in the provision of welfare services to students.
While the nature of the organisation varies from school to school, an effective operation occurs when a Welfare Committee coordinates and supports the particular welfare structure the school has established.
d) Concern for the morale and welfare of staff is demonstrated through the recognition and provision of democratic decision making and communication systems within the school. The existence of support structures which assist teachers in both the curriculum and student welfare components of their roles is essential.
e) A collaborative working relationship with teachers from neighbouring schools, specialist support agencies, districts, and the relevant Senior Education Officer.
f) The active involvement and support of the school's administration in all of the above mentioned factors.