Trauma-informed approach helps VSV students learn and grow


Depression, anxiety, and eating disorders have spiked among young people aged up to 14 years old since the start of Victoria’s second coronavirus wave, according to research led by Monash University.*

‘There has definitely been an elevated sense of worry and stress among our young people. The pandemic has contributed to increasing levels of anxiety and conflict in many families, while also making it more difficult to access specialist supports.’ said Rob Mason, VSV’s Team Leader, Student Wellbeing.

‘These stressors can cause mental health challenges for anyone and can cause acute symptoms to appear for people who may experience pre-existing mental health challenges.’

Rob said that VSV strives to get the best possible outcome for every student, and brings a trauma- informed approach to their work where required.

This approach is underpinned by three key questions:
1) What are the student’s learning needs?
2) How are health or life circumstances impacting the student’s capacity to engage and learn?
3) How do the school’s plans reflect and respond to these circumstances?

‘Our response to these questions shapes school-wide practice,’ he said.

‘We acknowledge that learning works best when it’s relationship driven, personalised and occurs through a collaborative partnership.’

Rob pointed out that every VSV teacher acts as a Learning Advisor to a group of students and works with the group over a number of years.

‘The Learning Advisor provides a safe and supportive point of contact for their students’ learning and engagement activities and support needs. Students work with Learning Advisors to shape their own engagement and learning goals, receive feedback and monitor the impact of their efforts,’ he said.

Rob also highlighted that the best outcomes are achieved when a collaborative partnership is built with the student, their parent and when necessary, with the supporting health practitioners.

‘At VSV we strive to create a safe and nurturing environment for all of our students. This enables social emotional learning that helps our students become resilient and skilled in the inevitable challenges of growing up.’

About Virtual School Victoria
Virtual School Victoria, formerly known as Distance Education Centre Victoria, is the state’s leading virtual school.

Based in Thornbury, Melbourne, it specialises in virtual and blended learning and has around 4500 students.
VSV currently delivers almost 300 subjects and is developing additional subjects to make it the first school in the State to offer all VCE subjects to Victorian students. Teaming up with first-class practitioners in a wide range of disciplines allows VSV to deliver their expansive curriculum.

VSV’s student cohort includes mainstream school-based students that don’t have access to the subjects they need in their own school. It also includes students who are unable to attend a mainstream school due to:
• professional sports or creative commitments
• family travel
• geographical distance
• physical or social emotional health difficulties.

As the largest virtual learning school in the state, VSV plays a significant role across the education system in helping students and teachers connect, collaborate and learn through new online and face-to-face options.

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  • Photo credit Sean O

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