Anti-bullying support for NSW Public Schools
Principals must ensure that their school implements an anti-bullying plan that is developed collaboratively with students, school staff, parents, caregivers, and the community, and is reviewed every year.
Anti-bullying support and advice
The NSW Department of Education brings together evidence-based resources and information to support NSW schools, parents and carers, and students to effectively prevent and respond to bullying.
Information on the current research can be found in the NSW Department of Education's literature review, Anti-bullying interventions in schools - what works?
What is bullying?
Bullying has three main features – it:
- involves a misuse of power in a relationship
- is ongoing and repeated, and
- involves behaviours that can cause harm.
Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert).
Bullying can have a lasting impact on everyone involved, including those who witness it. That is why it is important to work together to create safe school communities for everyone.
Some behaviours, while not bullying, are conflicts that still need to be addressed and resolved. Examples include:
- mutual arguments and disagreements (where there is no power imbalance)
- not liking someone or a single act of social rejection
- one-off acts of meanness or spite
- isolated incidents of aggression, intimidation or violence.
How do I know if a young person is being bullied?
Some signs that a young person may be being bullied include:
- not wanting to go to school
- have falling school grades
- changing their route to school or become frightened of walking to school
- changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- frequent tears, anger, mood swings and anxiety
- having unexplained bruises, cuts and scratches
- missing or damaged belongings or clothes
- asking for extra pocket money or food
- arriving home hungry.
What can parents do if their child is being bullied?
- Do not directly approach any other student or their family.
- Contact the school and make an appointment to discuss the issue.
- Ask the school for a copy of their Anti-bullying Plan.
- Work with your child’s school to solve the problem by establishing a plan for dealing with the current situation and future bullying incidents.
For more information and resources, visit the NSW anti-bullying website.
The Bullying of Students - Prevention and Response Policy sets out the requirements for preventing and responding to student bullying in NSW government schools. In accordance with this policy, principals must ensure that the school implements an Anti-bullying Plan that is developed collaboratively with students, school staff, parents, caregivers, and the community.
The school’s anti-bullying plan is to include strategies for:
- developing a shared understanding of bullying behaviour that captures all forms of bullying including cyberbullying
- developing a statement of purpose that outlines individual and shared responsibilities of students, parents, caregivers and teachers for preventing and responding to bullying behaviour
- maintaining a positive climate of respectful relationships where bullying is less likely to occur
- developing and implementing programs for bullying prevention
- embedding anti-bullying messages into each curriculum area and in every year
- developing and implementing early intervention support for students who are identified by the school as being at risk of developing long-term difficulties with social relationships
- empowering the whole school community to recognise and respond appropriately to bullying, harassment and victimisation and behave as responsible bystanders
- developing and publicising clear procedures for reporting incidents of bullying to the school
- responding to incidents of bullying that have been reported to the school quickly and effectively
- matching a planned combination of interventions to the particular incident of bullying
- providing support for any student who has been affected by, engaged in or witnessed bullying behaviour
- providing regular updates, within the bounds of privacy legislation, to parents or caregivers about the management of the incidents
- identifying patterns of bullying behaviour and responding to such patterns
- monitoring and evaluating of the effectiveness of the plan
- reporting annual to the school community on the effectiveness of the plan.
Note: These resources do not currently meet WCAG 2.0 accessibility requirements. Please contact 02 7814 2829 to request an alternative copy.
- Anti-bullying plan template (PDF 480.4KB)
- Legal issues bulletins
- Legal issues bulletin 35: The use of mobile phones, portable computer games, recording devices and cameras in schools.
- Legal issues bulletin 42: Legal issues arising for staff subject to cyber bullying and related behaviour.
- Legal issues bulletin 55: Transgender students in schools legal rights and responsibilities.