Student Discipline in Government Schools Policy

Good discipline is fundamental to the achievement of Government priorities for the public school system. In line with this, schools must have a school discipline policy which is developed in consultation with school community members.

Changes since previous version

22 August 2019 - Updated contact details only.

Superseded Documents

Good Discipline and Effective Learning: Ministerial Statement, 1995

Document History

22 August 2019 - Updated contact details made to policy statement and implementation documents only.

September 2018 - Hyperlink for Bullying of Students – Prevention and Response Policy updated.

1. Objectives - Policy statement


Good discipline is fundamental to the achievement of government priorities for the public school system. In line with this, schools must have a school discipline policy which is developed in consultation with school community members. The policy must contain four components. These are:

  • the discipline code or school rules.
  • strategies and practices to promote positive student behaviour, including specific strategies to maintain a climate of respect.
  • strategies and practices to recognise and reinforce student achievement.
  • strategies and practices to manage inappropriate student behaviour.


The school discipline policy must:

  • be consistent with legislation and reflect government and departmental policy.
  • incorporate the principles of procedural fairness.
  • be developed within a strong student welfare context.
  • reflect the identified needs of the community.
  • grow from existing policies and practices.
  • outline expected standards of behaviour.
  • define the responsibilities of teachers, students and parents.


Consistent with the Education Act (1990) and Departmental policy, schools may develop additional components for their school discipline policy to meet local needs.

2. Audience and applicability


NSW Government schools.

3. Context


Schools and their communities work together to provide quality learning environments which are:

  • inclusive.
  • safe and secure.
  • free from bullying, harassment, intimidation and victimisation.


All students and staff have the right to be treated fairly and with dignity in an environment free from disruption, intimidation, harassment, victimisation and discrimination. To achieve this, all schools are expected to maintain high standards of discipline.


When parents enrol their children at public schools they enter into a partnership with the school. This partnership is based on a shared commitment to provide opportunities for students to take responsibility for their actions and to have a greater say in the nature and content of their learning. Collaboration between school staff, students and parent(s) or carer(s) is an important feature of discipline in government schools.


The aim of the partnership between school community members and schools is to develop socially responsible young people who are capable of making informed decisions. This is achieved through an effective social, cultural and academic curriculum which caters for the individual needs of students.


In implementing the school discipline policy, no student is to be discriminated against, harassed or victimised on any grounds as required by legislation.


This policy is to be implemented consistent with Work Health and Safety (WHS) Policy obligations for ensuring a safe and healthy working and learning environment for staff, students and visitors at schools.


All schools must develop and implement an Anti-bullying Plan consistent with the Bullying of Students – Prevention and Response Policy


The school discipline policy may apply outside of school hours and off school premises where there is a clear and close connection between the school and the conduct of students.

4. Responsibilities and delegations

4.1 Principals


Principals are accountable through their Directors, Public Schools for ensuring a safe, secure and harmonious work environment for students and staff.


Principals are responsible for the development, implementation and monitoring of the school’s discipline policy.


Principals are responsible for ensuring that the school’s policy is evaluated and reviewed by the school community at least every three years.


Principals must ensure that students, staff and parent(s) and carer(s) are provided with opportunities to contribute to the development of the policy and that staff are provided with training and development opportunities in behaviour management.


Principals must provide a copy of their school discipline policy to their Directors, Public Schools when the policy is developed or whenever it is reviewed. A copy must also be made available to the families of children enrolled at the school.


Parents and students are to be given a copy of the discipline code or school rules when the policy is developed or whenever it is reviewed.


Principals must ensure that all disciplinary actions involving suspension or expulsion from school are managed consistent with the Suspension and Expulsion of School Students Procedures.

4.2 Parents


Parents are expected to support the school in the implementation of the school discipline policy.

4.3 Teachers


Teachers are expected to participate in the development of the school discipline policy and to support its effective implementation.

4.4 Students


Students are expected to follow the discipline code or school rules and to comply with staff directions regarding discipline and appropriate behaviour.


Students will show respect for teachers, fellow students, other staff and school visitors and not engage in any form of harassment, victimisation or intimidation.

5. Monitoring, evaluation and reporting requirements


Directors, Public Schools will monitor the local implementation of this policy and will report to their Executive Directors, Public Schools.


The Director, Student Engagement and Interagency Partnerships will monitor the state-wide implementation of this policy.

6. Contact

Leader, Behaviour Services, (02) 7814 3809.

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