The 2019 Wellbeing and Engagement data for Unley Primary School makes fascinating reading! It reveals areas of which the school can be justifiably proud and also identifies areas where the school community can focus its attention to ensure the best possible wellbeing for our young people as they navigate today’s world.

It is gratifying to see from the data that overall, Unley Primary School students report high levels of wellbeing and engagement, consistently higher than the average of students across South Australia (click here for details).

It is also pleasing to see a steadily improving trend in the data on students’ engagement with school, with more children indicating that they have an important adult at school (77% in 2019 compared to 52% in 2015), feel connected to the school (78% indicating high wellbeing in 2019 to 70% in 2015) and have positive emotional engagement with teachers (85% high wellbeing in 2019 to 73% in 2015).

Emotional engagement with teachers

Emotional engagement with teachers at UPS is excellent, with 85% of students reporting high levels of wellbeing in terms of their belief that there is a teacher or another adult at school who believes in them, listens to them and with whom they feel connected and emotionally engaged. Not only has this consistently risen over the last four years at UPS, the result is significantly higher than the state-wide statistics.

Important adult at school

Students were also asked Are there any adults who are important to you at your school? While we celebrate the strong connections students have with their teachers, it is important to note that 20% of the surveyed UPS children have reported that they do not feel they have an important adult at school. Although UPS performs better in this area than public schools more broadly, this is an area which we are keen to address, including encouraging students to understand that their strong sense of connection with their teacher means they have an important adult at school.


The time series data indicates a consistent drop in incidents of reported bullying over the 5 year period across all sub areas (physical, verbal, social and cyber).

The proportion of students reporting bullying has declined since 2015, but the number of students identifying weekly and monthly instances of bullying for 2019 (28 and 104 respectively) indicates that there is still some scope to improve in this area.

In recent years, the school has been working to empower students to be part of the solution when addressing bullying. Student leaders have facilitated a series of age-appropriate workshops for their peers, organised guest speakers to provide student information sessions and supported our school to participate in the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence.

Cohort trends 

Comparison of year level cohorts also reveals interesting observations, one of the most striking being that girls at UPS report higher levels of worry in all year groups than boys, particularly in Years 6 and 7. This is consistent with state-wide data but the gender gap is wider at Unley, with an 8% and 9% difference between boys and girls in Years 6 and 7 respectively. A greater number of Year 7 girls at UPS reported high levels of worry (31%) than the average across the state (26%).  Likewise, low optimism was reported by 22% of Year 7 girls at UPS, compared with 17% of year 7 girls more broadly across the state.  The Year 5 girls also report having marginally lower optimism (15%) than their peers in other public schools (11%). This suggests that girls need greater support in managing their worries, particularly in the upper primary years, something which the school will look into.

On the positive side, 11% fewer Year 7 boys at UPS than state-wide Year 7 boys reported high levels of worry. However, this statistic might also be indicative of the need to monitor emotional literacy among upper primary boys, and to put in place strategies to help them enhance their emotional literacy.

Learning readiness

UPS students report significantly greater than state average percentages of high levels of learning readiness. High levels of wellbeing are 13% greater at UPS than state-wide with regard to perseverance, 23% higher with regard to cognitive engagement and 12% higher with regard to academic self-concept.

Some final reflections

The data also highlights areas where UPS and families can focus efforts to increase wellbeing in our students. For example:

  • At UPS, high levels of wellbeing with regard to sleep have dropped by 8% since 2015. This echoes state-wide data.
  • Similarly, high levels of wellbeing with regard to general satisfaction with life is down by 9% both at UPS and across the state since 2015.
  • At UPS, high levels of friendship intimacy and peer belonging have dropped by 7% and 11% respectively, a trend echoed across the state.

While we are looking forward to working on identified areas for improvement, this data reminds us that Unley Primary School is committed to continually improving children’s wellbeing and learning. For the full report, click here. Follow this link to learn more about the Wellbeing and Engagement collection.

If you are interested in discussing this further, please feel free to contact the Education and Wellbeing Committee by emailing