A child's well-being can depend on a school system.

Report finds the value of good schools for marginalised students

Australia's next generation of leaders, sport stars, scientists and astronauts are currently still in the school system. With their talents yet to emerge, it is the role of teachers, principals and other educators to nurture these kids and ensure they have the right environment in which to flourish.

However, for different reasons, many students don't have these support structures outside of school. Whether they have disabilities, are from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds or live in rural areas, these are just several factors that can have a negative impact on a student's well-being. This is often described as marginalisation, and was recently discussed as part of the latest Australian Child Wellbeing Project report.

Australian Child Wellbeing Project – the details

School teachers, administrators and principals can actually play an important role in the well-being of marginalised students.

According to the Melbourne Institute, marginalisation is "a state in which individuals are living on the fringes of society because of their compromised or severely limited access to the resources and opportunities needed to fully participate in society and to live a decent life."

Surveying around 5,500 young Australians between eight and 14 years, researchers at a number of educational institutions, including the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), learnt about the various mechanisms of a child's well-being.

According to the results, many students reported a high level of well-being. However, those marginalised by one of the above factors or something similar have a much lower level of well-being, which can impact their school performance.

In an interesting finding, ACER noted that school teachers, administrators and principals can actually play an important role in the well-being of marginalised students. ACER Principal Research Fellow Dr Petra Lietz explained this in more detail.

"Students typically report higher levels of wellbeing (sic) when their experiences across domains like family networks, home environment, health and school reinforce each other," she said.

"The good news is that some tangible things can be done to support well-being such as teachers believing in the success of all students, families having fun together, encouraging young people to be physically active and helping them to form strong bonds with others."

Marginalised students report poorer well-being.Marginalised students report poorer well-being.

Identifying marginalised students

Of course, for Australian teachers, identifying marginalised students isn't always easy. Unless the student shows particular deficiencies in their behaviour or performance, helping them in other areas is impossible. For the latter, student data could be of assistance.

Based on the study of 3,000 Victorian and Tasmanian students across a single subject (year 8 mathematics) published by the Grattan Institute last year, there could be an eight year gap between top students and potentially marginalised ones.

To address the potentially marginalised students in your school, feel free to reach out to the team at Best Performance. With industry-leading technology, we can help to identify struggling students through targeted reaching plans.

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