Understanding bullying: Powerful conversations

The Powerful Conversations materials have been developed to trigger opportunities for casual and structured conversations on positive behaviours and actions. These materials use engaging imagery designed in response to evidence-based research.

The collection looks at preventing and addressing student bullying behaviours and building personal resilience to support schools in having meaningful conversations with students. They also include materials to stimulate conversations between students and their families.

The Powerful Conversations materials include four collections of resources for NSW schools:

  1. Poster conversations – whole-school
  2. Postcard conversations – families
  3. Classroom conversations – students
  4. Professional development resources – educators.

Information about this resource

This resource supports schools, families and students to engage in meaningful conversations that prevent and address student bullying behaviours and build personal resilience.

This resource supports teachers and school staff:

  • understand that bullying prevention is an important means of developing a positive school climate

  • engage in casual and structured conversations on positive behaviours and actions that prevent and address student bullying behaviours and build personal resilience

  • empower families to engage in conversations on bullying and cyberbullying.

This resource addresses a need identified through the Student Behaviour Strategy to provide schools and teachers with supports and resources to: 

  • implement teaching and behaviour management approaches and practices aimed at building positive behaviours and learning environments 

  • reduce the occurrence of challenging and unsafe behaviours through proactive and preventive approaches  

  • provide better options for managing challenging behaviours when they do occur. 

Professional audience

School leaders and teachers across all school settings.

This resource can be used without assistance, as a stand-alone resource and/or linked to professional learning. Optional support is available through a teacher resource manual, slides and booklet, as well as the postcard and poster resources on the website.

Student audience

All students P-12.

When to use

When schools and/or parents/carers are seeking to engage students in meaningful conversations to prevent and address student bullying behaviours and build personal resilience.


Can be used at any time in the school year.

System priorities and/or needs

This resource aligns with:

  • the Premier’s Priorities to improve outcomes in literacy and numeracy and HSC attainment
  • the NSW government’s commitment to hold anti-bullying roundtables during 2022 to understand bullying, gaps and identify actions
  • Our Plan for NSW Public Education’s direction and priorities of strengthening student wellbeing and development and advancing equitable outcomes, opportunities and experiences
  • need identified by Delivery Support, particularly Behaviour Specialists, to build in teacher capacity in bullying prevention.

School Excellence Framework

  • Learning domain – Wellbeing (Caring for students, A planned approach to wellbeing, Individual learning needs, Behaviour)
  • Leading domain: Educational leadership (Instructional leadership, High expectations culture, Community engagement) and School planning, implementation and reporting (Continuous improvement, School plan, Annual report)
  • Teaching domain: Effective classroom practice (Classroom management).  

Relevant frameworks

Existing resources


Consulted with: The information in this resource was developed as part of the NSW Government’s Anti-Bullying Strategy (2017-2020) in consultation with world-leading academic expert advisors Professor Donna Cross, Professor Rosemary Johnston, and Professor Ian Hickie. The Advocate for Children and Young People assisted with consultation with students.

The Department partnered with the NSW Association of Independent Schools, Catholic Schools NSW, eSafety Commissioner, Bullying No Way!, and the Kids Helpline in consultation with principal and parent groups to create an evidence-based resource package for students, teachers, parents and carers to identify, prevent and respond effectively to student bullying behaviours.

Professor Donna Cross, Professor Rosemary Johnston, and Professor Ian Hickie reviewed and endorsed all the materials for the website.

Reviewed by: Behaviour Services

Last updated: December 2023

Review date: December 2024

Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation. (2017). Anti-bullying interventions in schools - what works? Literature review. Department of Education. https://education.nsw.gov.au/about-us/educational-data/cese/publications/literature-reviews/anti-bullying-interventions-in-schools

Cross, D, Shaw, T, Hearn, L, Epstein, M, Monks, H, Lester, L & Thomas, L. (2009). Australian covert bullying prevalence study (ACBPS), Child Health Promotion Research Centre, Edith Cowan University, Perth.

Saarento, S, Karna, A, Hodges, E & Salmivalli, C. (2013). ‘Student-, classroom-, and school-level risk factors for victimisation’, Journal of School Psychology, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 421-434.

Salmivalli, C. (2014). ‘Participant roles in bullying: How can peer bystanders be utilized in interventions?’, Theory into Practice, vol. 53, no. 4, pp. 286-292.

Ttofi, M & Farrington, D. (2011). ‘Effectiveness of school-based programs to reduce bullying: A systematic and meta-analytic review’, Journal of Experimental Criminology, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 27-56.

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