Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson today said that schools in the Tamworth electorate are benefiting from the Student Support Officers appointed by the NSW Government.


Mr Anderson said an independent review by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has found that a trial of the officers has helped to reduce bullying and improve student behaviour.


“The NSW Liberals & Nationals committed to the trial of 50 new SSOs in secondary schools for the 2011 State election. The NSW Government provided funding of $14 million.


“Tamworth High and Gunnedah High are some of the trial schools in NSW and there are impressive results being shown.


“Typical activities run by SSOs include stress management sessions for senior students; mental health programs; homework clubs; and anger-management programs.  


“The SSOs initially focussed on engaging more vulnerable students in developing relationships, resilience and countering inappropriate behaviours, such as bullying,” Mr Anderson said.


Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said that across the trial schools, 80 per cent of students said the SSO had made their school a safer place.


Of 35 principals surveyed about the impact of an SSO:


  • 31 said it had reduced bullying, including cyberbullying;
  • 32 said it improved student behaviour; and
  • 27 said it had improved academic performance.


“Although not all students were involved in organised activities with an SSO, almost two-thirds of students in participating schools reported having sought the help of the SSO,” Mr Piccoli said.


Mr Anderson said “The review by UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre gives extremely encouraging insights into how effective the SSOs have been and how the Department of Education and Communities and schools can shape their role in future.”


The report is at: http://www.dec.nsw.gov.au/about-us/news-at-det/announcements

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