The effective protection of minors and a commitment to ensure their human and spiritual development, in keeping with the dignity of the human person, are integral parts of the Gospel message that the Church and all members of the faithful are called to spread throughout the world.– Pope Francis, 2015
The physical and mental health, wellbeing, and safety of all children and young people is foundational to the Catholic faith and tradition, and of the utmost importance to Catholic school communities.
The Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Declaration (2019), agreed to by all Australian governments, highlights the responsibility of schools, together with students, parents, carers, families and the broader community, to promote the development and wellbeing of young Australians.
Catholic education recognises that strengthening the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people is crucial to supporting student learning outcomes.
The NCEC works in partnerships with state and territory peak bodies, school authorities and governments to support children and their families with access to high-quality education that is inclusive, free from any form of discrimination, and enables students to develop their emotional, mental, cultural, spiritual and physical wellbeing.
Student physical and mental health and wellbeing continues to present unprecedented challenges for schools and education systems, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A range of studies have identified an increase in student mental health and wellbeing issues being addressed by Australia’s schools. The degree of the issues experienced by students has also intensified.
Catholic schools use a range of resources and programs to support student mental health and wellbeing, including government provided initiatives such as the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework, the Student Wellbeing Hub and the National School Chaplaincy Program.
Catholic education is committed to keeping children safe in our schools across Australia and upholds the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.
All Catholic education peak bodies, systems, and school communities have policies and strategies to create a culture of safety and wellbeing where all students are safe, feel safe, and can flourish in their learning and personal development.
More information, policies and strategies can be found on the state and territory peak body websites.