An approach must be suitable to your school in order to be effective. Schools need to start with their needs and aims in mind in order to select the most appropriate anti-bullying approach.

Why is suitability important?
Your school's strength, needs and aims
Dimensions and aspects covered by different approaches
Prompt questions

Why is suitability important?

No one approach will work for every school.

Equally as important as the evidence base, a match for your school's specific situation is essential.

The selection of an appropriate anti-bullying approach is based on all the relevant information about your school, particularly your strengths, needs and aims.

Your school's strengths, needs and aims

Identifying your school's strengths and needs:

  • raises the school community's awareness about bullying
  • provides a benchmark for measuring progress
  • helps you identify what you want to achieve in your school
  • involves all stakeholders in discussion about the need for change
  • allows you to select the most appropriate approach.

A comprehensive school audit to answer the following questions is necessary before you can select an appropriate anti-bullying approach:

  • Do we have a comprehensive picture of the school's strengths and needs?
  • What other approaches and programs are already in place in the school?
  • What are our school's aims and specific goals related to bullying or related areas (e.g. student wellbeing, behaviour)?
  • Do we need to investigate further or refine our goals so that we can select an approach to match?

Dimensions and aspects covered by different approaches

With clearly stated, specific and agreed goals for your school, you will be well placed to consider the available approaches to select the most suitable. You can then examine approaches with the various dimensions and aspects that will help you to achieve your aims, including whether the approach incorporates:

  • a focus on preventing or responding to bullying, or both
  • a whole-school focus or a specific topic/skills focus
  • the participants you have identified
  • the age range of students relevant to your aim
  • the relevant types of bullying for your aim
  • the relevant personal and social skills
  • the relevant social understandings or issues related to social diversity.

Prompt questions for Suitability

Key question: Does the approach address the target students and needs that the school has identified?

To ask about the approach

  • What is the main purpose of the approach: prevention or response (or response as prevention)?
  • Is the approach whole-school, multi-faceted or single issue focused?
  • Which elements in the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework (PDF, 2.7MB) are addressed?
  • What does this approach aim to achieve and who does it target?
    • Who are the direct participants (targets)?
    • What student age range does the approach address?
    • What types of bullying are directly addressed (if relevant)?
    • What personal and social skills are addressed (if relevant)?
    • What social understandings/social diversity issues are addressed (if relevant)?

To ask about your school

  • Do we need to further clarify our school's needs and aims so that we can select an approach to match?
  • Does this approach target who we want to target and aim to achieve what we have identified as our goals?
  • Which of the school's identified goals and target areas does the approach NOT address?
  • Can we integrate this approach with existing approaches in the school?​

Use the STEPS form for schools (PDF, 651KB) to record your answers.