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COVID-19 — Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion Workforces

Health and Wellbeing Key Contact function

Every government school has been allocated a Health and Wellbeing Key Contact (HWKC).

Introduction

Following the success of the HWKC model in Term 2, 2020, the HWKC model continues to support schools to deliver flexible and remote learning and provide support to vulnerable and at-risk students.

In many areas, the HWKC will be an existing Student Support Services (SSS) team member, but in some cases other health, wellbeing and inclusion staff will be utilised to undertake this function.

Function overview

Schools are responsible for the delivery of a consistent high-quality curriculum and assessment learning program and student support and wellbeing program that includes access to specialist expertise for individual students where necessary or beneficial. School wellbeing staff are the primary point of contact for student wellbeing needs.

The HWKC will work with the school’s nominated student wellbeing contact (for example, Student Wellbeing Coordinator, Primary Welfare Officer etc.) to support the school to plan and respond to the needs of:

  • students with mental health and wellbeing concerns
  • students deemed to be at risk
  • students who require additional supports and adjustments.

A HWKC works with schools to ensure they can access the services required using a tiered model of support as described below. Where there is a need for additional support from the region, this will be identified and facilitated by the HWKC on behalf of the school.

A HWKC may be assigned to one or more schools subject to operational requirements of the area. Each area will establish an appropriate team and management structure to support a HWKC to undertake this function, and maintain a list of all HWKC staff and their assigned schools.

Accountabilities

The HWKC is accountable for:

  • facilitating regular meetings with a school’s nominated student wellbeing contact (approximately fortnightly)
  • documenting meeting outcomes using the HWKC meeting record (DOCX)External Link
  • collaborating with the school on appropriate strategies to plan and respond to specific needs at each tier, including, but not limited to:
    • reviewing the needs of individual students at risk and selecting appropriate strategies to address these
    • identifying students who have disengaged from learning and develop appropriate re-engagement strategies
  • working with other HWIW to support teachers in the development of educational programs, particularly in respect to students with additional needs
  • liaising with community service organisations, Department of Health, Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, hospitals, specialist programs and other professionals regarding the support needs for students as needed
  • other accountabilities as determined by the area to meet local operational needs.

To be successful in undertaking the function, a HWKC needs to effectively collaborate with HWIW and school improvement teams across their area and seek support from regional and area colleagues to identify appropriate supports for schools.

The HWKC is expected to provide proactive outreach and be highly responsive to the needs of schools and students, responding to most requests within one business day.

Tiered support

To achieve the outcomes of achievement, engagement and wellbeing, a HWKC plans and delivers all services in collaboration with schools in a tiered system of support. These divide support into three tiers of increasing intensity, organised according to student need.

Response options at each tier can help schools consider the range of interventions that can be applied at the whole school level, for specific cohorts and for individual students.

It is important to remember that even if students need tier 3 supports, they never stop needing tier 2 and tier 1 supports in addition to tier 3 supports.

Practice Model — Tiers

Image of Practice Model — Tiers. Refer to 'View long description' for details
Practice Model — Tiers

The Practice Model — Tiers is represented as a pyramid with 3 tiers. From top to bottom the tiers are labelled as:

  • Tier 3 — Few students: Intensive individualised practice
  • Tier 2 — Some students: Targeted and additional practices
  • Tier 1 — All students: Preventative and health promoting practice
Download Practice Model — Tiers

Area based teams, including HWIW, are available to collaborate with schools on which interventions are most appropriate to meet their needs and to work with schools to support implementation.

The tiered framework approach is based on international best practice and is consistent with:

  • the continuum of intervention for health and wellbeing familiar to SSS
  • response to intervention tiers familiar to Visiting Teachers
  • the public health tiered response model, including health promotion, prevention and early intervention familiar to Primary and Secondary School Nurses

Tiered approach to disengagement

An example of how tiered interventions may be applied to the issue of disengagement is as follows.

Tiered approach to disengagement

Refer to 'View long description' for details
Tiered approach to disengagement

This diagram demonstrates how the tiered approach may be applied to the issue of disengagement.

At the left of the diagram is a pyramid divided into three tiers. From top to bottom the tiers are labelled as:

  • Tier 3 — Few students: Intensive individualised practice
  • Tier 2 — Some students: Targeted and additional practices
  • Tier 1 — All students: Preventative and health promoting practice

On the right of the diagram, the diagram displays the key approaches that can be taken at each tier by the school and Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion Workforces. Further to the right are listed some examples of programs that can be used to support that approach.

In tier 1 at the bottom of the pyramid, the focus is on all students and using preventative and health promoting practice. Key approaches that schools and Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion Workforces might use at this tier include:

  • the Roadmap for Return to onsite schooling
  • student demographic dashboards
  • reinforcing the use of the student-at-risk planning tool
  • implementing a positive climate for learning for the school, students and parents

The key support examples listed to support this include engaging with:

  • school-based health and wellbeing staff and school nurses
  • regionally based health and wellbeing key contacts, Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion Workforces and Senior Education Improvement Leaders

In tier 2 in the middle of the pyramid, the focus is on some students or cohorts and using targeted and additional practices. Key approaches that schools and Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion Workforces might use at this tier include:

  • active outreach by Health and Wellbeing Key Contacts, supported by Students at Risk Planning Tool
  • remote delivery of Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion Workforces, Mental Health Practitioners in Schools and General Practitioners (Doctors) in schools, or headspace counselling
  • more training in mental health and family violence risk and support

The key support examples listed to support this include engaging with:

  • school-based Health and Wellbeing staff and Mental Health Practitioners in Schools
  • region-based Health and Wellbeing Key Contacts, making referrals to Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion Workforces and liaising with Respectful Relationships teams
  • external Headspace counselling and training or School-focused Youth Services

In tier 3, at the top of the pyramid, the focus is on a few students and providing intensive individualised practice. Key approaches that schools and Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion Workforces might use at this tier include:

  • creating specific plans for Out of Home Care students; Koorie students; Students with a disability; or Years 7 to 10 at risk
  • creating individual education plans and students support groups
  • monitoring staying in education, and early leavers data

The key support examples listed to support this include engaging with:

  • school-based Health and wellbeing staff
  • region-based LOOKOUT Centres; MYPATs; Koorie workforces; Health and Wellbeing Key Contact or making referrals to Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion Workforces
  • external to the school programs such as Navigator, Additional Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. staff or those operated by community service agencies
Download Tiered approach to disengagement

HWKC meetings

HWKC meetings may include, but are not limited to:

  • identification of students or groups of students at risk who require additional assistance and the type of support they require
  • collection of information on a student’s engagement and learning progress or difficulties
  • review of relevant information available to the school which might help to clarify issues affecting student learning or wellbeing, such as specialist reports
  • development of individual student education plans outlining a range of actions and strategies to address concerns during flexible and remote learning
  • evaluation of the effectiveness of individual education plan actions and strategies during flexible and remote learning
  • identification of appropriate whole-school approaches, programs or interventions that provide universal service provision
  • consultation or referral to appropriate or specialised community agencies and programs
  • consultation or referral to appropriate services such as SSS, Visiting Teachers, Primary or Secondary School Nurses, and Koorie Engagement Support Officers.

Meeting records

The HWKC meeting templateExternal Link should be used to record key information discussed at Key Contact meetings. It provides a consistent means of recording information that can be shared with the school or other area-based staff to support the needs of the school and its students in line with the Department of Education and Training’s Privacy PolicyExternal Link and Need to Know FrameworkExternal Link (staff login required).

The meeting record collects the following information:

  • Demographic information — name of school, school contact and HWKC details. This information is entered once only.
  • Tier 1: Preventative and health-promoting practice — document areas of concern where whole-school actions may address the issue. This section is copied and completed for each meeting.
  • Tier 2: Targeted and additional practices — document areas of concern affecting a cohort of students and actions to support that cohort. This section is copied and completed for each meeting.
  • Tier 3: Intensive individualised practice — document case work for individual students and the actions taken to support the student. This section is copied and completed for each meeting.
  • Other information — document other information or resources provided. This section is copied and completed for each meeting.

Expectations

  • A Meeting Record should generally be completed during the HWKC Meeting or by the end of the next working day.
  • Only relevant summary information should be recorded.
  • Keep the information brief and focused on actions (if needed, other notes can be recorded separately).
  • Add to an existing Meeting Record for each subsequent school meeting so all information is retained in the same file.
  • A copy of the Meeting Record should be emailed to the school (school contact and principal) following each meeting.

Sharing information about students: Who needs to know?

You can lawfully share information about a student with other staff members, in accordance with child protection, privacy and information sharingExternal Link obligations to enable the school or area-based team members to:

  • provide for and support the student’s education
  • support the student’s social and emotional wellbeing and health
  • reduce the risk of reasonably foreseeable harm to the student, other students, staff or visitors (duty of care)
  • make a reasonable adjustment for the student’s disability (anti-discrimination law)
  • provide a safe and secure workplace (OHS law).

Area staff must consider steps to ensure information is protected from misuse and loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure by saving information appropriately and maintaining proper access controls.

Guidance chapter on Health and Wellbeing Key Contact function

Reviewed 04 August 2022

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