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Nikki Bonus, Founder and CEO of Life Skills Group and Hon. Sarah Mitchell, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, discussed the many roles we are all currently playing, from parents to leaders, and a discussion around what are the critical areas in education today concerning schools, teachers, students, and their communities that we need to address.

This 30-minute fireside chat with two female leaders, both mothers and both committed to making a difference in the lives of families, schools and our young people in education will provide a unique opportunity to hear and be heard by a national voice in education. Thoughts and opinions were shared via interactive polls throughout, as well as an opportunity to send in questions via a survey before the night.

In this webinar, our experts discussed:

  • The biggest issue's facing school communities today
  • How we prioritise SEL and wellbeing in education
  • What we can do to provide more support for schools, teachers, students and communities
  • A recognition of the role of teachers and families during the pandemic



The Life Skills Group team have been working with over 850 schools for over 12 years. In the past few months alone we have witnessed a surge in educators reaching out, and have connected with thousands of teachers and leaders in schools and governments across Australia. The message shared has been one of frustration, grief and weariness as they try to respond to the ever-growing hidden pandemic of the worsening mental health of our students, educators and communities in the face of the ever-changing restrictions, lockdowns and personal disconnect we are all struggling to navigate. This, coupled with the lack of expertise, tools, resources and support for educators and families to address this has led to calls for extreme measures: “Mental health screening has been recommended in all schools after research found one-quarter of young Australians experienced psychological distress during 2020.” (Sydney Morning Herald, 8 September 2021).

We have heard our community, and feel that this voice must be amplified. To this end, we are running events such as this to ensure your voice is heard at the highest levels to support our communities in whatever way we can. This is a call for the attention and resources needed to support Social Emotional Learning, the measuring of emotional literacy and wellbeing that’s so urgently required, today. We thank you for lending your support.




Sarah Mitchell was born and raised in Gunnedah and has spent most of her life living in North-West New South Wales. She continues to live in Gunnedah with her husband Anthony and their daughters Annabelle and Matilda. Since entering parliament in 2011, Sarah has served on numerous committees and as Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health and Western NSW. In 2017, Sarah was appointed Minister for Early Childhood Education, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Assistant Minister for Education. In 2019, Sarah was appointed as Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning. Sarah is a graduate of Gunnedah High School and is passionate about education, particularly in regional and remote parts of NSW. As Minister, she is committed to ensuring every child – no matter where they are from – has access to top-quality education. Since becoming Education Minister, Sarah has lead evidence-based reform with student outcomes at heart. Introducing mandatory phonics and creating the School Success Model to bring more transparency into the system to ensure students receive the support they need to succeed. Regional, rural and remote students are a focus. A revitalised regional strategy backed up with on-the-ground support is a big step to address the regional divide that Sarah is dedicated to closing. Sarah is an active supporter of local community organisations and has been involved with several local charities, including the Gunnedah Family and Children’s Services and Gunnedah Paediatric and Maternity Support (PRAMS). Sarah’s eldest daughter is in year two at their local public school, and her youngest daughter started preschool this year. Sarah has a deep love for the regions she represents. A young Minister who is invested in the public education system both personally and professionally, Sarah is committed to making NSW the best education system in the southern hemisphere.


Nikki Bonus is an experienced Edtech founder and CEO of Life Skills Group, harnessing more than 20 years of deeply personal and professional experience in the development and delivery of social-emotional literacy programs for individuals, organisations, and most importantly, teachers and students. Nikki’s work has helped give voice to more than 850 schools, connecting with 20,000 teachers and 500,000 primary school children to build a continuing evidence base of what works to measure, report and implement real improvements in wellbeing for school communities.She was one of a 100 CEOs that was invited to participate in the Google - Engage - Search Inside Yourself leadership program, San Francisco, training her to deliver Transformational Professional Development experiences backed by world experts in neuroscience, leadership, mindfulness and emotional intelligence.She epitomises resilience having been out of home by the age of 16. The tragedies of mental health contributed to her brother taking his life at a young age. Her intrinsic motivation is the belief that no matter where you were born, no matter what family you were born into, anything is possible. Her commitment is to work in collaboration with governments, school communities to see Social Emotional and Physical Literacy as valued as academic performance.