​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​School leaders​​School leaders

School leaders, particularly principals, play a powerful role in bullying prevention. This role ​includes inspiring others and fostering a positive school climate which features respect and inclusion.

You can:

  • Establish, though collaboration, comprehensive school policies which cover preventing and responding to bullying, including rules that clearly describe how students are expected to treat each other. Ensure your staff apply the policy and rules consistently and fairly.
  • Ensure you have a clear understanding of what bullying is and what it is not. 'Bullying' is a word that is used for lots of things that are not actually bullying. These other behaviours may be just as serious, such as violent conflict, but may require different responses.
  • Promote a safe and supportive school climate where all students are accepted.
  • Promote a culture of inclusion where diversity is celebrated and all students, families and staff are welcomed.
  • Harness the experience and social standing of your student leaders to promote a positive school climate.
  • Talk with your staff about how to use elements of the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework (PDF, 2.7MB) ​in your school.
  • Visit the Student Wellbeing Hub​ for information and resources to implement the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework.
  • Make sure teachers and other staff are trained and well-informed about how to respond to bullying.
  • Run a professional learning session using Professional learning: Bystanders to student bullying to provide staff with practical skills, knowledge about bystanders, and an opportunity to discuss the school's approach to fostering a positive school climate.
  • Let staff know they will have your support in managing bullying. Research shows that teachers' confidence that they will receive the support of the principal is a key factor in how they respond to students.
  • Clarify with your staff the role of the school in bullying that happens outside the school gate, especially online bullying.
  • Engage with parents and carers before there is an issue; ensure the whole school community understands what bullying is and how the school works to prevent and respond to it. Set up or use an existing committee focused on student safety and wellbeing as a way to ensure you have everyone involved – parents, students and members of the wider community, as well as school staff.
  • Assess bullying in your school through a comprehensive audit process.
  • Ensure all students know what to do when bullying happens.
  • Ensure students with disability are supported and provided with additional strategies and explicit teaching, if needed, that is tailored to their needs.
  • Establish safe reporting channels for students and ensure respectful responses and management of any reports.
  • Make it clear that all adults need to provide a positive model of how to behave and how to deal with interpersonal conflict; manage any staff whose behaviour may not provide a suitable example to students.
  • Be aware of relevant state and national laws related to bullying.
  • Invest time and energy into examining and selecting the most appropriate evidence-based approach for your school.
  • Be cautious about untested approaches and avoid misdirections that research shows have had little or no success for countering bullying.
  • Register with the annual National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence to promote your school's anti-bullying work within the school and to the wider community.

Read more about what the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework suggests about the role of school leaders.