A Wraparound Approach to ‘Whole of Student’ Issues: Education, Health, and Community Services

The Gonski Institute for Education is pleased to announce the award of a $100,000 research grant to UNSW School of Education researchers, Associate Professor Terry Cumming and Professor Iva Strnadová. The project, titled ‘A Wraparound Approach to ‘Whole of Student’ Issues: Education, Health, and Community Services)’ will investigate an existing wrap-around model, the Ngaramadhi Space, at Green Square School.

According to the researchers ‘There is a growing population of students with complex needs, including those with disabilities, mental health issues, and social disadvantage. When left unmet, these needs increase students’ risk of poor outcomes, including educational disengagement, precarious housing, substance misuse, and involvement with the juvenile justice system. Many students with complex needs receive a variety of services both in and outside of school, and a lack of central coordination of these services results in both gaps in and overlapping supports, resulting in poor outcomes.’ 

Education systems have attempted to address some of the issues encountered by young people with complex needs by instituting various models of integrated care, such as “wrap-around” systems. Effective wraparound models typically involve merging education with other sectors, such as health, and involve a community liaison officer, counsellor, or school nurse as the lead coordinator to manage ‘whole of child’ issues. This research project will examine existing wraparound theories and models, and as well as the wraparound support service needs of schools in regional areas. In addition to adding to knowledge in the field, an important outcome of this study will be a wraparound implementation guide. 

This study is a pilot study for a larger proposed project that involves implementing the wraparound model in rural and remote NSW public schools. 

The study is central to the Gonski Institute for Education’s mission; to fix the equity problem in education by providing educators, communities, policy makers and governments with the knowledge and tools to transform education through supporting students’ unique academic, social, health and wellbeing needs.