Respectful Schools Resources and Support
3 October 2018
Ensuring that our students are safe and free from bullying, harassment and discrimination is a shared responsibility between the community, parents, schools and students. Inappropriate, bullying or violent behaviour is a whole-of-community issue and as a Department, we recognise the role schools have in promoting and teaching respectful behaviour. The Department, along with all Government schools and teachers, continue to work with their communities to combat unacceptable behaviours and promote respectful behaviour.
We are committed to supporting schools to combat bullying, particularly cyber bullying, and ensuring that all schools are safe, inclusive and supportive. Funding of $3 million over four years has been allocated to combat bullying and cyber bullying in schools, and the Department is currently in the process of finalising a range of externally developed resources, that will support all school communities. Valuing Diversity grants have also been allocated to A Fairer World and Working It Out for the last two years, with a tender process shortly underway for the next two years, recognising how valuable support programs are to our schools. The Alannah and Madeline Foundation program E-Smart Schools Cyber Safety is also available to all K-10 Government schools.
Alongside these initiatives, the Tasmanian Government is also committed to anti-bullying legislation and this is being progressed through work being done at a national level by the Education Minister’s Council. The Council’s work plan was endorsed by the Council in mid-September, and will go to COAG for approval later in the year. This work will inform Tasmania’s legislation which will proceed after this process is complete.
Schools are also supported with resources such as the Respectful Schools Support Team, the Respectful Schools Respectful Behaviour Resource and the dedicated Respectful Relationships website. These resources aim to support all school communities. Our teachers and staff have access to a wide range of professional learning opportunities to ensure they are equipped with the skills to manage issues, as well as access to the professional support staff in our schools including psychologists and social workers. There are also a number of flexible learning options and support programs available in our schools, as well as particular teaching resources that inform best-practice, including a specific resource centred around working with children who have been impacted by trauma. The Department also conducts annual surveys of students, parents and staff around school satisfaction, and this data is invaluable to inform and drive school improvement.
It is also important to note that changes as part of the recent review of Tasmania’s Education Act also assist schools to better support students and their families, with legislative provisions updated to ensure behaviour management approaches that reflect best practice. As a Department, we will continue to do all we can to ensure our school environments are safe for all of our students and our staff.