A coordinated whole-school approach to preventing bullying may be encompassed within a broader policy for the school.
The policy relevant to bullying may be focused on student wellbeing, student safety or student behaviour.
It is not necessary to have a separate policy document about bullying.
Involving the school community in policy development
Schools can use the development and implementation of policy as a way to involve everyone in the school and to take a whole-school approach to preventing and responding to bullying.
A school's policy related to safe and supportive learning environments should be collaboratively developed and expressed in clear language.
To create a 'living' document, the school's policies on safety and wellbeing should be developed, refined and reviewed in collaboration with teachers, parents, carers and students. School policy relevant to bullying needs to be understood by all members of the community.
For practical suggestions about how to engage students and families with the school's bullying prevention policy refer to Bullying prevention is everyone's responsibility: a guide to engaging students and families (PDF, 1.1 KB), Word version (DOCX, 1.4MB). This Guide focuses on the stages of developing a school bullying prevention plan or policy, helping schools make engaging students and families
with their bullying prevention plan a reality.
Students should have opportunity to contribute and to voice issues and concerns on emerging safety and wellbeing policies.
School policies on safety and wellbeing can be communicated to all members of the school community at regular intervals (e.g. through assemblies, house meetings, school website, diaries).
What to include
National Safe Schools Framework (PDF, 2.7MB) suggests that policy should include:
- clear plain language definitions of terms including student wellbeing, aggression, violence, bullying (including online bullying/cyberbullying), harassment and acceptable use of technology
- the school's expectations about students' positive behaviour towards others in the school, including when outside school hours and off school grounds
- all school community members' rights to and responsibilities for safety and wellbeing
- the school's role in managing any behaviours that occur that are not consistent with school policy
- documented procedures for reporting incidents
- roles and responsibilities allocated to identified staff members and/or formal school structures
- procedures for dealing with critical incidents that impact on the effective operation of the school or create a danger or risk to individuals at the school or on school related activities (i.e. a critical incident management policy)
- clearly communicated procedures for staff to follow when they become aware of possible incidents or situations of child maltreatment, harassment, aggression, violence, bullying or misuse of technology
- agreements for responsible use of technology by staff and students
- policies in relation to staff communication with students in social networking sites
- strategies for record keeping and communication between appropriate staff about safety and wellbeing issues
- how the school will collect and analyse data about:
- student connectedness and satisfaction with school
- students' perceptions of their safety (e.g. frequency of bullying (including online), and harassment incidents) and the effectiveness of the school's responses
- parents and carers' perceptions of student safety and wellbeing
- teachers' perceptions and observations of student safety and wellbeing
- the schedule for regular risk assessments of the physical school environment, (including off-campus and outside school hours related activities), leading to the development of effective risk management plans
- protocols for the induction of new staff and casual staff, and for informing new students and families on the school's safety and wellbeing policies and procedures, made aware of where they can find appropriate information on the school's website, diaries and induction packages.
Read more at the Educators section at the Student Wellbeing Hub.