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Glossary of key terms

Students with support needs (in mental health and wellbeing) – this term replaces the notion of “at risk” students* – students who are emotionally, socially, physically, cognitively vulnerable (students move “in and out” of needing support) and who are in danger of not achieving their learning potential and outcomes. The focus here is on educational and environmental adjustments needed to address student mental health and wellbeing concerns.

Case conference – collaborative meeting of stakeholders involved in a case management process

Case coordination – sometimes used synonymously with “case management”, but the main focus is on organisational and administrative tasks associated with case management

Case management - a collaborative process that aims to develop, monitor, disseminate, and evaluate a plan of action to enable students with support needs to function to the best of their ability and circumstances within and beyond the school system

Case manager – the person responsible for the case management process (convening, briefing, referring, communicating, monitoring, adjusting, reporting)

Health – more than the absence of illness. Involves striving towards optimal social, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being

Health Promoting Schools (HPS) – Schools which recognise that health and learning are inextricably linked, and endeavour, by using a whole school approach, to create a school environment where students feel safe, valued, and engaged

Individual behaviour management plan (IBMP) – a detailed plan devised to support a student and his/her environment to modify his/her behaviour

Individual education plan (IEP) / Individual learning plan (ILP) / Learning development plan (LDP) / Negotiated educational plan (NEP) / Documented plan (DP) – a learning program designed to meet the specific learning needs of an individual

Mental health and well-being – includes thoughts, feelings and relationships, along a continuum ranging from a state of optimal health, to having an illness which might affect the latter (Hunter Institute of Mental Health, 2001, p. 1).




* ”At risk” is a problematic label which has been contested by young people in the “student voice” literature. They do not see it as being applicable to them, nor a useful descriptor, and consider it as being based on externally imposed criteria. Further, the term tends to emphasise a deficit approach to mental health which much of educational literature suggests can reinforce student alienation and thus impact negatively on learning outcomes (Holdsworth, 2005). This term is still used quite widely in Australian educational resources and literature. However, it is not used in this kit. The notion of “students with support needs” is applied instead. As a new emerging concept, this term is not widely used in the literature, and as a label is perhaps not entirely satisfactory either. The intention, though, is to use language that is more inclusive.