Peel High School

Partially selective and feature school for agriculture

Telephone02 6765 7088

School support

Supportive connections between staff and students – Developing your Anchor points

School support is one component of building a strong, safe environment for students in school. Many schools have established support mechanisms between students and staff including designated Year Advisors, Counsellors, Girls Coordinator or Boys Coordinator. It may also be that some staff bond or make relationships with students more easily than others. This may have a lot to do with their general demeanour and body language in the school classroom or environment.

Being approachable is a key part of making yourself available to a student who may be in need of help particularly when dealing with situations or problems they feel overwhelmed with. Sometimes there is only a small window of opportunity open for when a student may seek or ask for help.

For some students the ability to ask for help may come easier than others. It is important for staff and parents to be watchful. The Youth Beyond Blue website[1] advocates that we can help our students by encouraging the following:

  • LOOK (for signs)
  • LISTEN (to friends experiences)
  • TALK (about what's going on)
  • SEEK HELP (together!)

Another way of thinking about it is that school support is a part of a whole school approach to mental health and well being. A supportive school environment is a protective factor that allows students to achieve their potential in terms of mental health, wellbeing and learning[2].

Part of developing supportive connections between students and the school environment is:

  • Developing warm relationships and a genuine interest in the wellbeing of students
  • Providing safe and secure environments
  • Providing information about where to access help and support within the school
  • Supporting student empowerment, peer leadership and peer support structures within the school
  • Helping students identify a significant adult at school[3]

 As Michael Resnick (1998) said ‘…young people need as many anchoring points as possible. Students need the opportunity to have attachments with competent and caring adults at school…[4]. 



[2]Whole School Matters, Mind Matters Booklet, Draft 2010, p 13

[3]Ibid p 96-7

[4]Ibid p 14



NSW Health


nib foundation


University of Newcastle