Student Behaviour Strategy

The NSW Government is committed to supporting the learning and wellbeing of every student in NSW public schools. Behaviour support is critical to promoting engaging and effective classrooms and lifting student performance. The public consultation on the draft Student Behaviour Strategy closed on 11 October 2020.


We know behaviour support plays a critical role in a student’s education. Supporting positive student behaviour requires a proactive, preventive, student-centred approach. The draft strategy aims to create engaging classrooms and safe and inclusive school communities.

Immediate focus areas

The draft Student Behaviour Strategy is informed by the findings and recommendations of independent inquiries into student wellbeing, best practice evidence reviews and stakeholder consultation. We need a new approach to meet the needs of students and improve the support we offer teachers and school staff.

We are focusing on four areas of change:

  1. integrating student behaviour within our broader approaches to learning and wellbeing
  2. providing targeted support to vulnerable student cohorts through evidence-based interventions and a dedicated expert workforce
  3. building capacity across the workforce to better manage complex needs through professional learning
  4. commissioning services for improved outcomes.

Providing support across the spectrum of student need

An integrated system of learning and wellbeing

Student behaviour is influenced by a wide range of factors. The draft Student Behaviour Strategy adopts a strengths-based approach to behaviour support, setting out a framework of best practice and evidence-based student behaviour support and management. It will provide comprehensive guidance to schools and clearly define the roles and responsibilities of school leaders, staff, parents, carers and students.

Targeted support for vulnerable student cohorts

Currently, vulnerable students are disproportionately likely to be suspended and experience disengagement from education as a result. A revised Student Behaviour Policy will introduce additional considerations of student circumstances, and increased flexibility in principal and school leader decision making in the use of suspension.

We will:

  • reduce suspensions for students from Kindergarten to Year 12
  • support vulnerable student cohorts through early intervention and targeted support
  • develop a new model of complex behaviour support to meet the learning and wellbeing needs of all students, including students with complex, challenging and unsafe behaviours
  • establish a dedicated workforce comprising specialist staff
  • improve access to behaviour specialists in regional and remote locations
  • provide new assessment tools that are evidence-based and co-designed with key stakeholders.

Building capacity across the workforce through professional learning

New evidence-based professional learning, advice and guidance will be developed to enhance workforce skills to respond to changing student behavioural needs. The department will partner with universities and experts to design this program of support. Professional learning will be available at all career stages for teachers, specialist and school staff.

Increasing specialist support to schools

The department will strengthen existing support structures by providing wraparound support measures focused on prevention, early, targeted and individual interventions, strategies and practices.

We will:

  • support evidence-informed interventions and enable local decision making to address specific community needs
  • explore co-commissioning opportunities with other parts of government, in particular the Department of Communities and Justice
  • establish a panel of pre-qualified behaviour service providers schools can engage to obtain the best solutions and support in their school.

Next steps

The public consultation on the draft Student Behaviour Strategy closed on 11 October 2020. We are continuing to work with stakeholders throughout the next phases of detailed design and implementation.

For more information

For more information please contact the Student Behaviour Strategy team at

Return to top of page Back to top