Safety at school

Safety at school is a research-based measure from the Tell Them From Me surveys. It is a source of evidence linked to What works best and the School Excellence Framework.

What is it?

A safe school is one in which all students feel supported, where anti-social behaviour is minimised and staff, students, parents and community agencies work together to prevent bullying and exclusion.

The Tell Them From Me surveys ask parents about their child's experiences at school and their own perception of how antisocial behaviours are managed by the school. The results are reported as the average score for safe school.

Why is it important?

Safe schools help establish fair and supportive learning environments that allow students to develop to their full potential. Student perceptions of feeling unsafe are predictive of negative student outcomes and can impact behaviours, such as their willingness or likelihood of commuting to school by walking or cycling. Schools are safer when schools staff, students, parents and community agencies work together. Effective school safety programs involve clear school-wide guidelines, involvement from students, parents, and teachers, and increased monitoring in non-classroom areas. School staff must be able to recognise different forms of bullying and be willing to step in when they observe a student being bullied.

School improvement links

School Excellence Framework element What works best theme
Wellbeing Wellbeing

Evidence base

Astor, R. A., Meyer, H. A., Benbenishty, R., Marachi, R., & Rosemond, M. (2005). School safety interventions: Best practices and programs. Children & Schools, 27(1), 17-32.

Bowen, N. K., & Bowen, G. L. (1999). Effects of crime and violence in neighbourhoods and schools on the school behavior and performance of adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 14(3), 319- 342.

Cornell, D. G., & Mayer, M. J. (2010). Why do school order and safety matter? Educational Researcher, 39(1), 7-15.

Epstein, J. L., Sanders, M. G., Simon, B. S., Salinas, K. C., Jansorn, N. R., & Van Voorhis, F. L. (2002). School, family, and community partnerships: Your handbook for action (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Morrison G.M., Furlong M. J., & Morrison R. L. (1994). School violence to school safety: Reframing the issue for school psychologists. School Psychology Review, 23(2), 236-256.

Panter, J. R., Jones, A. P., Van Sluijs, E. M., & Griffin, S. J. (2010). Attitudes, social support and environmental perceptions as predictors of active commuting behaviour in school children. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 64(1), 41-48.

Pepler, Craig, Ziegler, & Charach (1994). An evaluation of an anti-bullying intervention in Toronto schools. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 13(2), 95-110.

Image: This explainer has been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar

Explainers of the Tell Them From Me measures have been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar. The Tell Them From Me measures are provided by, and remain the intellectual property of, The Learning Bar. The explainers can also be found online within the Tell Them From Me portal. Tell Them From Me and TTFM are trademarks of The Learning Bar.


  • Student engagement and wellbeing
  • Tell Them From Me

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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