“Schools play a vital role in promoting the intellectual, physical, social, emotional, moral, spiritual and aesthetic development and wellbeing of young Australians, and in ensuring the nation’s ongoing economic prosperity and social cohesion. Schools share this responsibility with students, parents, carers, families, the community, business and other education and training providers” (page 4 The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians MCEECDYA 2008).
Educational settings are uniquely placed to positively influence wellbeing. They have a critical role to play in fostering positive and sustainable characteristics that enable students to achieve their best. Evidence supports the strong, mutual relationship between wellbeing and learning. Identifying and reducing barriers to learning, including those linked to student wellbeing, can help to maximise the educational and social outcomes for students.
The BCE approach to wellbeing is strongly grounded in Catholic Christian beliefs and values. Wellbeing is defined as an ongoing experience of wholeness and hope that is integral to learning and ultimately, to overall health and life success. It relates to the interconnectedness of emotional, physical, cognitive, social and spiritual dimensions within the person. Wellbeing encompasses nurturing the self, giving to others, and building and celebrating community.
The Melbourne Declaration lists seven interrelated dimensions to general student wellbeing, namely: Intellectual, physical, social, emotional, moral, spiritual and aesthetic. Of the seven general capabilities that are addressed in the Australian Curriculum those that specifically relate to student wellbeing include personal and social competence, self-management, ethical behaviour, intercultural understanding, thinking skills and creativity.
The National Safe Schools Framework (2011) was developed to support schools to build safe school communities and to address student wellbeing priorities. The safety of students is essential for academic development and all students should be able to learn and develop in safe, supportive and respectful environments. The National Standards Professional Standards for Teachers also reflects an emphasis on student safety and wellbeing. This is specifically articulated in Standard 4 Create and Maintain Supportive and Safe Learning Environments.
At the heart of all our endeavours is the student. Brisbane Catholic Education is committed to building communities of learning that provide a safe, nurturing and academically challenging environment for all students. A range of role holders in schools and BCE offices support schools in creating optimal environments for student learning and wellbeing.