School-community links

This module offers suggestions about ways that the school can make strategic connections with health and education professionals, external providers, and community groups with the aim of improving students’ social and emotional wellbeing.

Focus questions
  1. Did the “school-community connections” aspect data suggest any next steps for your school?
  2. Do you have other school data about this area of school practice? What does this tell you?

Key ideas about school-community connections
There are many different types of partnerships that schools can form with external specialists, agencies, and groups which have the overall aim of improving students’ social and emotional wellbeing. Carefully focused partnerships can improve student outcomes. Partnerships can be formed with:

  1. Education and health specialists (e.g., local RTLBs and SWiS, education advisors, educational psychologists, mental health promoters)
  2. School clusters or educational programme facilitators
  3. External education providers
  4. Local community groups or iwi
Reflective question(s)
  1. At this school, who are the range of health and education professionals and providers we work with?
  2. Are we clear about the purpose for working with each of these groups?
  3. Are there any areas we need more support?

Ways of working could include

Working with educational specialists and health promoters

  • Developing three-way partnership between home, teachers, and specialists to design approaches for at risk students. Specialist support for individual students can be accessed through ORS funding and RTLBs and as part of regional Special Education services.
  • Working jointly with local specialists to develop whole school approaches to promote wellbeing and healthy relationships.

Working with school clusters or educational programme facilitators

  • Taking part in a facilitated professional learning programmes such as PB4L School-wide or Incredible Years Teachers (PB4L action plan)
  • Forming a cluster with local schools to work on common goals relating to wellbeing.


Working with external education providers

There are many external providers who offer educational programmes that aim to support students’ social and emotional wellbeing. It is important that, if these programmes are used, they align with your school vision and are integrated within school-wide and classroom practice. When selecting programmes consider whether they: have evidence of effectiveness; fit with school goals and ways of working; use research-based and interactive teaching strategies; are developmentally and culturally appropriate; and can be adapted to meet the needs of students if necessary.

  • Selecting external programmes that enhance (but not replace) classroom approaches to building students’ social competencies, self-esteem, and strategies for resilience (e.g., Roots of Empathy, Life Education, Lions Quest and Friends for life).


Working with local community groups or iwi

  • Engaging in partnerships with local iwi or community groups to provide meaningful educational experiences and leadership opportunities for students. Partnerships for the purpose of health promotion or education for sustainability (e.g., enviro-schools) can promote wellbeing by acting to increase students’ sense of engagement and connection to school and their local community.