The Department of Education’s (the Department) purpose is to prepare young people for rewarding lives as engaged citizens in a complex and dynamic society. The Department commits to creating quality learning opportunities for children and young people, including a commitment to student wellbeing, which is seen as directly linked to positive learning outcomes. Wellbeing is defined broadly by the Department as “the quality of a person’s life…It is more than the absence of physical or psychological illness”. Student wellbeing can be supported by everything a school does to enhance a student's learning—from curriculum to teacher quality to targeted policies and programs to whole-school approaches to wellbeing.

Several reforms have aimed to support student wellbeing in recent years. 'Local Schools, Local Decisions' gave NSW schools more local authority to make decisions, including schools' approaches to support student wellbeing. In 2016, the 'Supported Students, Successful Students' initiative provided $167 million over four years to support the wellbeing of students. From 2018, the 'Every Student is Known, Valued and Cared For' initiative provides a principal led mentoring program, and a website with policies, procedures and resources to support student wellbeing.

This audit assessed how well the Department of Education supports secondary schools to promote and support the wellbeing of their students and how well secondary schools are promoting and supporting the wellbeing of their students.

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