Government responds to school bullying and violence reports

Released 23/10/2019

The ACT Government has today tabled the independent Safe and Supportive Schools Education Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee) report together with its government response, and the government response to the Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Youth Affairs report on its Inquiry in the management and minimisation of bullying and violence in ACT schools.

Both the Advisory Committee and Standing Committee reports arrive at similar conclusions. These committees have found that bullying and violence in ACT schools echoes wider societal challenges, is not frequent or systemic, and that the government has established a sound basis for maintaining safe, supportive ACT schools.

The Advisory Committee found that the positive culture of a school as well as engagement with and support from parents and the broader community are fundamental to reducing bullying and violence in schools.

The Advisory Committee has also found that the Positive Behaviours for Learning (PBL) approach is an effective framework for schools and communities to create safe and supportive learning environments.

PBL is currently being implemented across more than 50 ACT public schools and the Advisory Committee has found that schools actively implementing PBL had seen a positive change.

The Advisory Committee supports an ongoing commitment to the implementation of PBL including continued training, in-class mentoring and support across all ACT public schools.

The Advisory Committee also acknowledges the ACT Government’s demonstrated commitment and significant investment, particularly in recent years, in supporting, managing and responding to children with complex needs and challenging behaviours.

The Advisory Committee in its report made a series of observations, rather than recommendations, that aim to guide continued improvement in the government’s response to bullying and violence in government schools. The government is acting on this advice.

I would like to thank the members of the Advisory Committee and Sue Chapman as Chair for undertaking this body of work.

The Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Youth Inquiry into the management and minimisation of bullying and violence in ACT schools found that schools experience similar challenges as other parts of society in relation to bullying and violence. The Standing Committee also found that schools are safe places where incidents of bullying, cyberbullying and violence in ACT schools are not frequent.

The Standing Committee report released on 19 September made 23 recommendations. Of these, the government response agrees to 12 recommendations; agrees in principle to nine recommendations; and notes two recommendations.

Any instance of bullying or violence in a school is unwelcome. It is vital bullying and violence in schools is minimised to the extent possible and that these issues are properly dealt with when they arise.

The ACT Government is committed to providing positive and engaging learning environments where young people feel connected, respected, and are fully engaged in education, regardless of the complexities in their life.

The tabled School Education Advisory Committee report, the ACT Government response to that report is available on the School Education Advisory Committees page of the Education website. The ACT Government response to the Standing Committee report will be made available on the ACT Legislative Assembly website.

- Statement ends -

Section: Yvette Berry, MLA | Media Releases

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