School closures across the country due to pandemic restrictions are continuing to impact teachers, students and families creating a feeling of disconnect across many communities. The wellbeing of all students remains a key priority, SchoolTV continues to help schools with supporting parents to raise happy, resilient young people through these times of uncertainty.
Founder and Director of SchoolTV, James Wilson tells Education Matters that the SchoolTV online resource was developed in partnership with psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, to address key issues relating to youth wellbeing.
Across the country kids are hurting, they are in crisis. It is up to mental health and wellbeing providers as well as parents and community support systems, such as schools, to keep the health and wellbeing of young people in focus.
Wilson says parents are also impacted while kids remain unable to attend school. Parents are finding it stressful to keep children entertained and engaged during lockdown and many parents do not feel capable to help their children with school work.
“How many parents are struggling to balance work and home-schooling, and still be the parent kids look up to,” Wilson says.
He says many families are experiencing how different schools, across their children’s age range, are handling remote- learning and wellbeing support.
SchoolTV provides over 600 schools across the country with access to a single, consistent digital platform providing fact-based content and information from leading experts and researchers, helping to foster positive wellbeing outcomes anywhere, at any time.
The wellbeing guidance SchoolTV provides and potentially reduces the long term increases in mental health support demand. SchoolTV supports communities at a time where many schools remain closed, with families disconnected from the routines and security that going to school provides.
“While there is an abundance of information available, it’s often fragmented and confusing for busy parents and school staff looking for easy-to-understand guidance and practical strategies,” Wilson says.
“SchoolTV removes the confusion to present single source content to school communities. The platform brings together the best information on wellbeing, fact-based and positive strategies that are easily accessible for parents and empowering for school staff.”
As a parent, Wilson found that the sheer volume of information available was overwhelming.
“We noticed an alarming gap in the market. Being a parent today is a real challenge and if you are not informed around how to have these important conversations with your children, it creates a real disconnect” he says.
Wilson says SchoolTV, via the analytics functionality delivered with the platform, can provide a snapshot of a school community’s state of wellbeing and engagement statistics relating to the content.
Since its inception over five years ago, Wilson says the SchoolTV platform has evolved based on feedback from schools and their communities, with the organisation producing ten editions and additional special reports every year to ensure the platform is as relevant as possible through the various cycles of the school year.
Today, SchoolTV is now reaching over 1 million parents every month and we know many more could now benefit from access to the SchoolTV platform.
“There is a lot of great information available from organisations such as Beyond Blue or Reach Out for example, but to the parent, who is the greatest influence on a kids’ wellbeing, it can be an overwhelming space to navigate. They want to have trust in the information they are receiving, which is why we distribute our content through schools because the trusted relationship is already established,” Wilsons says.
SchoolTV National Partnership Manager Liz Lang says that with remote learning much more present across the majority of Australia, a resource like SchoolTV allows schools and families to connect through conversations about wellbeing.
She says SchoolTV does two things – provide resources through its ever growing editions archives and the dynamic ability to respond to immediate areas of concern with special reports.
SchoolTV’s special reports are produced in response to current day events, such as the impact of COVID-19 or the 2020 bushfires, offering parents guidance and practical strategies on how best to discuss these issues with their children.
“With continued disruptions and lockdowns happening across the nation, our special report ‘Instilling Hope in Uncertain Times’ outlines the vital role parents can play in helping young people reframe their worries, encourage them to see life as it is and help them to focus more on the things they can control, rather than those they can’t.” Lang says.
SchoolTV can help parents with the challenges of raising happy resilient young people – benefiting families and communities everywhere.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) measures the global ranking of student performance in mathematics, reading and science. Recent results demonstrated that Australia’s average scores have fallen, with 16 other countries outperforming Australia in educational outcomes.
There are many possible reasons for this concerning statistic and SchoolTV believes that the influence of parenting has a fundamental role to play in the wellbeing of students which has a direct correlation with educational outcomes.
With the mental health and wellbeing of all students proving to be extremely important during these times of uncertainty, a wider rollout of a supportive resource such as SchoolTV would help to improve wellbeing and in turn academic performance, becoming an integral part of every educational experience.
With an aim to become a foundation in the near future, Wilson says SchoolTV has its sights set on the international market following success in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.
“At SchoolTV we know that the bottom line is that every school is different in how they treat wellbeing,” he says. “By having access to this content, the school is able to customise the resources, identify which issues resonate within their community and help strengthen the partnership between parents, students and schools.”
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