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Ministry of Education.

Promoting positive behaviour

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Common practice ways of thinking

A safe and caring school works well at four levels:

  • the whole-school – where school values, policies, and practices are clearly defined and communicated to everyone
  • the classroom – that supports  social, emotional, and life skills
  • the individual child – who receives support when it’s needed
  • parents, families, whānau, and the wider community – who are well connected with, and involved in, the school.

Ko te oranga taiao, he oranga tangata – environmental health is personal health. 

Child wellbeing depends on:

  • individual wellbeing (spiritual, mental, and physical health and relationships) being in balance
  • whānau having capacity for care, guardianship, and long-term planning
  • vibrant communities that have a secure cultural identity.

To address bullying behaviours, we can think of the whole school, social and family environment as a system. 

Approaches should be aimed at changing the culture of the wider system and need to bring students, schools, families, and communities together, to build the skills and capabilities of everyone involved.

Prevention strategies should include intentional support for the development of ākonga social and emotional skills and competencies.

Common practice ways of working

Prepare and plan 

  • Establish leadership commitment
  • Set up a diverse team to support the implementation of a bullying prevention plan ideally led by a school leader. This work can also be incorporated into an existing team focused on student wellbeing/behaviour e.g. PB4L-SW team
  • Decide on a self-review planning process and planning tools to support a strategic approach
  • Work in partnership with students to identify, develop and monitor bullying prevention solutions
  • Plan to consult with parents, whānau and the wider community and work with them to establish a shared view about what bullying is.

Gather evidence 

  • Gather data about safety, inclusive school environments and bullying behaviour from staff, students, parents, whānau and the community. You can make use of the free Wellbeing@School survey toolkits. Other methods include discussion groups, parent and whānau surveys and the school’s administrative data e.g. attendance, SMS data related to behaviour.
  • Ensure the Board of Trustees and School Leadership have access to summaries of data in a form that is accessible.
  • Collecting data on an ongoing basis and using the data to inform change makes it useful.

Plan action 

  • Establish your school’s priorities for bullying prevention based on the data you have gathered
  • Review each of the nine elements of the Bullying-Free NZ School Framework to establish clear goals that fit with your school’s vision. Review and update bullying-prevention policies and procedures as part of this process.
  • Look for leveraging goals that can have a positive impact on a number of areas.
  • Seek feedback from parents, whānau, students and the wider community on the plan and refine as needed. 

Take action

  • Implement the action plan. Include steps to that enable student voice and agency, build capability (professional learning and development), work with parents and whanāu, and implement teaching and learning activities that support social and emotional wellbeing e.g. emotional literacy, self-regulation, negotiation, and conflict-resolution skills.
  • Monitor and report on plan to school leaders, Board of Trustees and school community at regular intervals. 

Review and sustain

  • Set up processes to regularly check and review actions and outcomes. Use data to monitor the impacts of your actions, determine what is working well and whether any changes are needed. 
  • Review the plan annually with a major review every 3-5 years.

Additional resources and websites


Inclusive Education guides

For parents

For students

Useful programmes

Ministry of Education

Community agencies

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