School leaders and teachers foster genuine involvement of students through:
- supporting positive relationships between teachers and students
- fostering and maintaining positive, caring and respectful peer relationships (both same-age and cross-age).
In a safe and supportive school community, students feel a sense of belonging, consider their school to be a good school, care for and support other students in their school community, and contribute to the school's positive reputation.
Authentic student participation is one of the five key elements of the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework, with the key principle being that 'students are active participants in their own learning and wellbeing, feel connected and use their social and emotional skills to be respectful, resilient and safe'. These effective practices for authentic student participation are based directly on content from the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework (PDF, 2.7MB):
- Provide opportunities for authentic student decision-making over matters that affect them
- Create and maintain inclusive and interactive learning environments to encourage active student participation to foster a sense of connectedness
- Actively engage students through the use of evidence-informed, strengths-based approaches to enhance their own learning and wellbeing
- Explicitly teach social and emotional skills using evidence-informed practices related to personal safety, resilience, help-seeking and protective behaviours across the curriculum
- Collaborate with students to develop strategies to enhance wellbeing, promote safety and counter violence, bullying and abuse in all online and physical spaces.
Opportunities to actively engage students are also embedded across the remaining four elements of the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework:
- Actively seek and incorporate students' perspectives about safety and wellbeing in order to promote positive learning outcomes (LEADERSHIP)
- Recognise and value the role and contribution of staff, students and families in building and sustaining school connectedness (INCLUSION)
- Actively seek the involvement of school staff, students and families in the promotion and recognition of positive behaviour (SUPPORT)
Student leaders play a central role in creating a positive school climate in which bullying is not acceptable.
Schools can harness experience and status of student leaders, both formal and informal, through:
discussing with senior students (and others) the importance of modelling appropriate behaviour in resolving conflict and responding to bullying
fostering peer support by older students for younger students
delegating responsibility to students for teaching anti-bullying and cybersafety messages to others (e.g. peers, younger students, teachers, parents and families)
encouraging students to participate in activities that build empathy with others
formalising student leadership roles that focus on student wellbeing and fostering a safe and supportive school.