​​​School policy

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

When developing school policy relevant to bullying, it is important to consider and include:

  • plain language definitions of terms – this may include student wellbeing, aggression, violence, bullying  and harassment
  • schools expectations about students' positive behaviour towards others in the school, including outside school hours and off school grounds
  • the rights to and responsibilities regarding safety and wellbeing for everyone in the school community
  • how the school will manage behaviours that are not consistent with school policy
  • the school's procedures for reporting incidents
  • roles and responsibilities of specific staff members
  • how critical incidents that impact on the effective operation of the school or create a danger/risk to individuals, either at the school or on a school related activity will be managed
  • 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
  • acceptable and responsible use of technology by staff and students, including staff interaction with students via social media 
  • record keeping and communication between strategies for safety and wellbeing issues
  • information on school data collection and analysis, especially in relation to:
    • student connectedness and satisfaction with school
    • student, parent and teacher perceptions of student safety and wellbeing (e.g. frequency of bullying (including online), and harassment incidents) and the effectiveness of the school's responses
  • information regarding regular risk assessments of the physical school environment, (including off-campus and outside school hours related activities), and the development of effective risk management plans
  • protocols for the induction of new staff (including casual staff), and for informing new students and families on the school's safety and wellbeing policies and procedures.

This information was adapted from the National Safe Schools Framework that has now been superseded by the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework. 

Read more in the Educators section of the Student Wellbeing Hub​​.