Priority: positive climate for learning

​​School climate impacts a wide range of health and wellbeing outcomes as well as students' motivation to learn and achieve.

​​​​​​​​​The professional leadership priority focuses on the following dimensions of the Improvement Model:


Student wellbeing relies on positive, trusted and supportive environments, basic material needs being met, good mental, social, emotional and physical health, learning, participation and a positive sense of culture and identity. A whole-school approach to health and wellbeing is integral to positive student engagement, learning, growth, relationships and achievement.

Positive relationships between teachers, parents/carers/kin and students can help students feel connected and engaged in their learning. Maintaining relationships with parents/carers/kin and students, and teaching social and emotional skills, helps students to make informed decisions, build resilience and actively participate in decisions about their learning.

Improvement measures

Results from system surveys, available in Panorama, can be used to measure progress, and as success indicators. Suggested surveys include

  • Attitude to School Survey – the 'resilience', 'sense of confidence', 'managing bullying' and 'attitude to attendance' factors
  • School Staff Survey – the 'support growth and learning of the whole student' and 'collective efficacy' factors
  • Parent Opinion Survey – the 'confidence and resiliency skills' factor.

The School Staff Survey 'collective efficacy' factor and Attitudes to School Survey 'managing bullying' factor are used in calculating a school's performance group using the Differentiated School Performance Method (DSPM).

Attendance can also be used as a broad indicator of student health and wellbeing, as can growth in NAPLAN data (Top 2 Bands, Benchmark Growth) and trends in VCE scores.

Supporting resources

Health, wellbeing and inclusion workforce practice model

Respectful Relationships

Student health and wellbeing


Component: The school strengthens the health and wellbeing of students


Leaders and teachers implement health and wellbeing policies and frameworks within classrooms and across the school. Wellbeing leaders and education support staff develop structures and programs to identify and target support for students with mental health and social wellbeing issues. Teachers engage in positive interactions with students. Leaders put in place structures and processes that enable students to have at least one ongoing relationship with a teacher or other school staff member (a ‘significant adult’ for every student).


Leaders and teachers agree on and integrate content knowledge, capabilities and health outcomes for students in the curriculum plan. Teachers implement and evaluate classroom and co-curricular programs that provide opportunities for all students to participate in physical activity. Leaders, teachers and education support staff are trained to identify at-risk students and use school referral structures and pathways to gain support internally and from external professionals. Teachers show genuine interest in and care for their students, and engage in meaningful interactions to understand their learning, social and emotional needs. Wellbeing leaders undertake needs analyses to inform their understanding and planning of preventative wellbeing approaches for both the school and the local community.


Teachers have developed learning environments that engage students in purposeful and meaningful learning, and that provide social interactions that reinforce students’ self-efficacy, abilities and potential. Leaders, teachers and education support staff collaborate with families, community organisations, and health and wellbeing specialists, integrating evidence-based social and emotional strategies into their learning programs. Leaders, teachers and students audit curriculum and learning programs, evaluating their capacity to engage students and to improve their health and wellbeing. Leaders, teachers and students collaborate with other professionals to develop IEPs, putting in place recommended strategies, and modifying curriculum and/or teaching and learning approaches to support positive mindsets and behaviours. Leaders and teachers establish a culture in which all school staff have the skills and knowledge to build positive relationships with students.


Leaders establish and sustain student belonging and engagement programs that are developmentally differentiated to support students’ social-emotional skills, physical activity and mental health. Leaders, teachers and education support staff engage students and use a wide range of data to design, implement and evaluate belonging and engagement programs. Wellbeing leaders build the capacity of teachers to deliver effective belonging and engagement programs to groups of students. Students demonstrate how and where to access assistance to support their health and wellbeing. Wellbeing leaders build strong networks that provide direct services to students and their families, build capacity of the whole community and provide comprehensive advice.

What is a positive climate for learning?

​​​Effective schools are supportive and inclusive. They create a positive school climate to meet physical student needs, and develo​p their self​​ management, awareness, empathy and relationship skills.

​​They ​take deliberate steps to keep their students healthy and safe by:

  • expecting and enforcing respectful behaviour, and tackle bullying and violence
  • deliberately promote healthy relationships and foster engagement and school connectedness
  • ​reducing disengagement from education, and targeting those at risk of dropping out of school. 

For more information on Child Safe Standards, see: PROTECT Child Safe Standards

​How school climate impacts student outcomes

School climate impacts a wide range of outcomes for students, including:

  • ​health and wellbeing
  • motivation to learn and achieve
  • academic performance.