News, media releases

Time for Liberals to act on social and emotional learning in schools

  • Labor committed to social and emotional learning in schools
  • Government has been too slow to act
  • Policy would give teachers more support to deal with mental health and trauma

Labor recognises the importance of providing social and emotional learning in schools to help address trauma and reduce bullying.

“Labor announced compulsory social and emotional learning (SEL) programs in Tasmanian schools in 2015 and took this policy to the election. It stands part of our commitment today,” said Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell.

The policy was the result of extensive consultation with educators and Labor’s education platform committee and is a strong example of Labor’s commitment to evidence based policy.

“Introducing SEL programs into the classroom of every Tasmanian public school will help give all children the opportunity to develop personal and social competence, manage their emotions and behaviours, perceive and understand other people’s emotions and viewpoints and form positive relationships.

“It is widely acknowledged that early intervention and prevention during childhood and adolescence is the most effective way to address mental health issues, and supports the health and wellbeing of our young people” Ms Lovell said.

“Under Labor, Social and Emotional Learning programs would be introduced into primary and high schools to compliment work already being done in classrooms.”

Shadow Minister for Education Michelle O’Byrne acknowledged the work of Tasmania’s teachers and support staff.

“As leaders, we need to make sure there is appropriate support in schools for students,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“We know teachers are desperate for help to support kids with trauma. They argue it’s the biggest challenge.

“Labor will work with educators to support them to deliver SEL programs and provide the appropriate professional learning and resourcing required for their success.

“This includes teachers, the AEU, school social workers and psychologists in determining how SEL programs can help provide a holistic, pedagogical approach to improved mental health and emotional wellbeing for Tasmania’s young people.

“Labor is committed to addressing the fundamental importance of supporting childhood development and healthy adult relationships, and working to support those children with trauma.”

Labor also took a policy to the election to introduce cyber bullying laws.

Despite its promises, the Liberal Party has been too slow to act on these issues.


Michelle O’Byrne, MP
Deputy Leader
Shadow Minister for Education

Sarah Lovell, MP
Shadow Minister for Health