Building it back different: schools as multi-opportunity communities

How can schools be multi-opportunity platforms to ensure equitable life outcomes for all? How can schools best help children thrive? A new paper aims to inspire you to think and talk about this with us.

Students who are healthier are better learners. And in turn, better learners are often healthier, with greater overall wellbeing into their adult years.

Most of us agree that health is the most important thing in life. If so, then health should be an essential 21st century skill that is a core outcome of Australian schooling. Students should leave school healthy, happy and engaged life-long learners.

COVID-19 highlighted the well-established links between health and learning. But even before COVID-19, key indicators showed inadequate and declining outcomes in education, wellbeing and health for many Australian children, particularly for the most vulnerable.

Although well intended, health and wellbeing provision in schools often comes as a one-off program, project, or course; or as a reaction to an already existing health and wellbeing issue. In most schools, and in many families, children learn early on that intellectual and academic achievement is valued and rewarded before anything else.

Yet health is the most important thing in life. Education succeeds when health is taken care of. We need a whole new vision of what school could be if we wish to provide every child with the education they deserve.

We now have the chance to reimagine schools, focusing on the whole child’s health, wellbeing and learning. We can all be involved in this conversation.

Access the ‘Building it back different’ paper  


Prof. Pasi Sahlberg
Prof. Sharon Goldfeld
Assoc. Prof. Jon Quach
Caitlin Senior
Cecilia Sinclair.


The Health, Wellbeing and Learning in Schools Project

A partnership of the Faculty of Education at Southern Cross University, the Centre for Community Child Health at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and The Melbourne University Graduate School of Education.


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