“They’re coming to us and we don’t have any training” - Professional learning approaches for secondary Australian school year advisors: a call for support

Publication Name

Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education


Secondary school year advisors fulfil an important relationship-building, middle leadership position in schools. Although responsible for supporting the wellbeing of students with a range of academic, social, and emotional needs, there is limited research into year advisor’s role and the support provided for these educators. This qualitative study provides insight into year advisors’ perceptions of professional learning that prepared them to support student wellbeing. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with secondary school year advisors in New South Wales, Australia, investigating their training experiences and views on navigating the expectations of their role. Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis revealed key themes capturing the limited provision of formal training for year advisors and the perception that training was insufficient for responding to students’ mental health needs. Year advisors reported relying on self-sourced informal training methods including collaborative partnerships, practice-based learning and independent investigation, to manage situations encountered when supporting students. Findings reveal a disparity in formalised professional learning opportunities across schools and year advisors’ desire for systematic, role specific, formalised training, especially for supporting students’ mental health.

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