Real Relationships

Hume Central Secondary College faces the challenge of challenge of ensuring that its strong academic outcomes are further improved and supported by strong social and emotional outcomes for students. Supported by Social Ventures Australia, the school has embarked on an initiative to design of a social and emotional learning curriculum and deliver a whole school approach to support student engagement and learning. The school has achieved significant student outcomes in the first year of the partnership, with a decreases in the number of suspensions and expulsions.

Hume Central Secondary College is a 7-12 Secondary School in Northern Melbourne, Victoria. The school has the equivalent of 172 staff, and a student enrolment of 1119 students, including:

  • 72% of students in the bottom quartile of socio-educational advantage
  • 75% of students from English as Second Language backgrounds
  • 2% of students from Indigenous backgrounds

In 2014, 132 students completed secondary school, of which 99% transitioned to further education or employment, including 35% to university and 40% to TAFE.

Hume Central Secondary College faces the challenge of ensuring that its strong academic outcomes are supported by strong social and emotional outcomes for students. Students with strong social and emotional skills are less likely to engage in conflict with others, and less likely to fail or refuse school. The annual Attitudes to School survey demonstrate a consistent trend of poor perceptions of student connectedness, safety and classroom behaviour; this is supported by the Staff Opinion survey, which consistently demonstrates poor perceptions of student behaviour from teachers. School level data shows that significant numbers of students are exited from class for misbehaviour or disruptions on a regular basis, and the school has had a consistently high suspension rate and expulsion rate over the last 5 years. The school has lacked a clear or coherent vision for social and emotional development of students, exacerbated by a lack of staff training and awareness of strategies to form and sustain positive and supportive relationships with students.

Hume Central Secondary College is using the resources and support from Social Ventures Australia to focus on social and emotional outcomes for students, in recognition of the fact that these are essential for success in learning and life. The school is therefore leveraging partnerships with external experts and institutions to apply an evidence-informed approach to developing social and emotional skills in students, which involves the design of a social and emotional learning curriculum and the delivery of a whole school approach to supporting student engagement and learning.

Social Emotional Learning Curriculum
Research shows that certain types of teacher and student interactions, categorised as instructional interactions, organisational interactions and emotional interactions, are empirically linked to positive student social, emotional and academic outcomes.

School Wide Positive Behaviour Support
School wide positive behaviour support for engagement and learning is a comprehensive framework which involves shifting away from more reactive approaches to student behaviour towards a more flexible, positive, proactive and preventive continuum of behaviour support for all students, and is regarded by many as a precondition to real and sustained improvement in students’ social and emotional competencies. SWPBS has been implemented in over 5000 elementary, junior and high schools throughout the USA and an increasing number of primary and secondary schools within Australia. In addition to the extensive literature base documenting the positive effect of SWPBS on both behavioural and academic outcomes, there has also been extensive research undertaken at both university and government levels around SWPBS implementation (Cheney, Blum & Walker 2004).