Centre for Community Child Health

CCCH art

Supporting Teachers, Supporting Children

  • Teacher professional development needs at the health-education interface

    The project

    In late 2016 a survey was sent to all registered primary school and early childhood teachers in NSW to identify their professional learning requirements in relation to supporting their student’s health and wellbeing. A report prepared by CCCH for the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) presents the responses from this survey which identifies the current levels of knowledge, attitude and skills of teachers, and how professional development might be designed in the future. 

    The survey was sent to all registered primary school and early childhood teachers in NSW — 1777 responses were received which were broadly representative of the demographics of teachers in NSW. The study sought to provide insights into teachers’ experiences teaching children with health and/or wellbeing concerns, and their interest in learning more about this important aspect of teaching. It also sought to identify their learning needs in specific areas, and complement findings from a previous survey about teachers’ preferred delivery style and format of professional development.

    Key findings

    The study revealed that teachers’ interest in professional development was generally high across all topics. However three topics emerged as priority areas of interest across respondents from both the primary and early childhood sectors:

    • behavioural or social-emotional difficulties
    • learning, language or cognitive impairment
    • problems in the home environment.

    Encouragingly, the study showed that teachers’ self-reported knowledge on health and wellbeing topics is high, and that their attitudes, values and beliefs emerged as important drivers of skills.

    Not surprisingly, having the skills to identify areas where children may have additional learning or support needs emerged as a very strong predictor of teachers’ ability to respond to these needs across all topics.

    The findings provide guidance about priorities for focus and content of professional development across all topics. These professional development priorities will support teachers to maximise outcomes for children by strengthening their skills in identifying, teaching and responding to children with health and wellbeing concerns.


    Download the full the report: Supporting teachers, Supporting children.

    More information

    For more information visit Supporting teachers, Supporting children on the NESA website or contact Catriona Elek


Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.