A school that engages their whole school community to address the problem of bullying is much more likely to succeed in preventing bullying.
School leaders and leadership teams have a vital role in shaping the culture of a school and ensuring that effective policies, procedures and strategies are in place for responding to bullying and unacceptable behaviour.
Empowering students to help prevent bullying is essential and opportunities should be provided to ensure students have both a voice and meaningful involvement in school based activities that address and respond to bullying.
Research suggests that the use of evidence-based bullying prevention programs reduces experiences of all forms of bullying perpetration (cyber, traditional, and relational aggression) and schools that address family conflict and provide student academic support also report reduced incidents of bullying.
Characteristics of safe and respectful schools
Safe and respectful environments
Safe and respectful schools:
- have a whole school approach to student safety and wellbeing
- develop and promote bullying prevention policies and programs
- have a leadership team that understands duty of care requirements
- have staff that model pro-social behaviour and intervene when they see bullying or anti-social behaviour
- value the expertise of student wellbeing staff
- have clearly defined roles for responding to bullying
- ensure all staff have access to regular professional learning
- address bullying incidents swiftly and consistently.
Bullying prevention policy
Schools are required to have a specific policy that addresses student engagement, and more specifically bullying prevention.
Responding and intervention
Responding and intervention methods are clearly understood and consistently applied by all staff and are modified depending on type, severity and extent of the bullying behaviour. The whole school community is aware of these methods.
Monitoring and evaluation
Monitoring and evaluation of school policies and approaches are conducted on a regular basis, supported by detailed record-keeping and information gathering about the effectiveness of school approaches to address bullying and enable reflective practice and improvement.
Professional learning is valued and staff have access to a range of professional learning opportunities including online training, formal courses, mentoring, supervision and access to the leadership team.