A FEELING of belonging to a school can affect how students do in assessments and increase NAPLAN scores, the Australian National University (ANU) has found.
ANU Psychology Research School’s Kate Reynolds said school identification was an important and significant predictor of performance.
“When students feel connected to a school, they are more likely to view their school’s norms and values as being self-relevant and are more likely to live up to the aspirations of the school,” she said.
Gooseberry Hill Primary School principal Patrick Bourke said young people who have lots to do and are engaged in the school community were more likely to develop self-confidence and resilience.
“This will help them cope with the pressures of exams and the strains of growing up,” he said.
“There are many opportunities at Gooseberry Hill Primary School for students to boost their sense of belonging.
“We have peer mediators, committees, student councillors, choirs, orchestra, drum and ukele clubs, book clubs, special events days and volunteering at Kanyana Animal Refuge.”
Kalamunda Senior High School principal Kathy Ritchie said opportunities for students at their school included events such as Kalamunda Day, athletics and swimming carnivals as well as a Kalamunda performing arts program, debating club, drama and choir.
“Acting, belonging and committing will help you cope better with problems and stress, lift your mood and will simply make you feel good,” Mrs Ritchie said.
Mentally Healthy WA promotes belonging to a school community and having strong social connections for good mental health through their Act-Belong-Commit Campaign and schools program.
Schools across WA can join the Mentally Healthy Schools Program to better equip their students to deal with life’s difficulties.
For more, visit actbelongcommit.org.au or call 9266 1873.