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Building a Safe and Supportive School Environment

There are many things schools can do to create an environment which is safe and supportive for the whole school community. The benefits of creating a positive culture within the school are wide spread and can include a reduction in problematic and violent behaviour. Some of the options available to schools are outlined below.

Schoolwide Positive Behaviour Support

Schoolwide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) is a whole school system to support appropriate student behaviours to create positive learning environments. SWPBS is a capacity-building program that builds school environments in which positive behaviour is more successful than problem behaviour, therefore allowing academic success to be achieved.

National Safe Schools Framework

The National Safe Schools Framework is a collaborative effort by the Australian Government and State and Territory government and non-government school authorities that provides an agreed national approach to help schools and their communities address issues such as bullying, harassment and violence. The Framework consists of a set of nationally agreed principles for a safe and supportive school environment and includes appropriate responses which schools can adopt to address these issues.

The Framework recognises the need for sustained positive approaches that encourage all members of the school community to:

MindMatters External Link

MindMatters is a national mental health initiative which is available for secondary schools. It uses a whole school approach to mental health promotion and considers a range of mental health and wellbeing determinants, including the significance of cultural context.

Positive mental health and wellbeing have been strongly linked to improving schooling outcomes for young people.

Schools can use MindMatters to build an environment where young people feel safe and valued. It can also help to develop social and emotional skills that enhance resilience and resourcefulness to make good decisions.

Restorative Practices

Restorative Practices is about the range of practices used to facilitate the process of:

Its objective is to replace punitive disciplinary processes with restorative alternatives.

Restorative practices give schools the skills to:

Schools may obtain further information on Restorative Practices by contacting the regional Senior Guidance Officer.

Functional Behaviour Assessment

Functional Behaviour Assessment (FBA) is an evidence based process for addressing student problem behaviour. FBA looks beyond the form of the behaviour itself (how it looks and sounds) and focuses on identifying significant and specific environmental factors associated with the occurrence of problem behaviour. Data is collected and analysed in order to accurately identify the purpose or "function" of the problem behaviour, and a "function based" individual student support plan is put in place.

Some schools may already have trained staff able to conduct FBA. Other schools should contact their regional behaviour services, the Senior Guidance Officer or their regional Student Services for information about referring for FBA.

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