Wraparound Models

Past project

In 2019, the Gonski Institute for Education awarded a research grant to UNSW School of Education researchers, Associate Professor Terry Cumming and Professor Iva Strnadová that focused on wraparound models of support. The project, titled A Wraparound Approach to ‘Whole of Student’ Issues: Education, Health, and Community Services, investigated an existing wraparound 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 examined 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 was the development of a wraparound implementation guide. 


This framework has been commissioned by the Gonski Institute for Education based at UNSW Sydney. The document has been developed with particular reference to the implementation of effective and sustainable wraparound programs in the context of mainstream schools in NSW, Australia. The framework aims to provide a way forward for addressing the increasing numbers of youth presenting with complex support needs within the school system.

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This report details a review of the research base relating the delivery of formal wraparound services in support of students with complex support needs. A systematic review of literature was conducted and peer-reviewed articles were analysed to determine what evidence exists regarding the efficacy of formal wraparound services employed with school-aged students, and to identify the barriers and enablers of effective school-related wraparound models in providing integrated wraparound services for these students. 

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This report presents the findings of the third stage of a larger project, entitled: “A Wraparound Approach to ‘Whole of Student’ Issues: Education, Health, and Community Services”. The third stage of the project involved interviews with key stakeholders in six rural and remote NSW high schools (referred to as ‘the Schools’), which sought to answer the following research question: What are the perceived Wraparound service needs of students with complex needs in regional schools as reported by stakeholders?

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This review is part of a research project commissioned by the UNSW Gonski Institute for Education. The study aimed to examine how wraparound supports are represented in the Australian national and NSW state polices and schools and to identify best practices and models of wraparound support. 

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