Victorian schools will get the support they need to create a safe environment for students and teachers as part of a concerted response to tackle aggressive and violent behaviour in our schools.
Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the Protective Schools Package, a new initiative to support schools to better respond to incidents as they occur and address underlying issues to prevent future violence and aggression.
While incidents of violence and aggressive behaviour remain relatively rare in Victoria’s more than 1,500 government schools – this new package will address an increase in the number of reports of this behaviour. This increase is directly related to more stringent reporting requirements as well as an increased focus on this issue in regional offices.
The Protective Schools Package will deliver an $8.9 million funding boost for security and support. This includes:
- The establishment of a new operations centre later this year, where principals making reports will get additional immediate expert advice and support on how to respond to any incidents and fast-tracked access to additional social workers, behavioural experts and psychologists
- The creation of a new intelligence system using past reports to inform the deployment of regional response teams into schools when incidents occur
- Dozens of support staff will get new training in specialised behavioural assessment and practice so they can help schools across Victoria manage students displaying particularly challenging behaviours
- Principals and teachers will receive new training on how to respond to violent and aggressive incidents, as well as additional support to manage long-term and complex student cases to help address the risk of future violence and aggression.
- A 12-month task force will also be created to provide expert advice on the implementation of the package, bringing together educators, psychologists and child health experts.
The Protective Schools Package builds on the significant investment already made in programs and support to help schools create positive and safe environments for all staff and students, as part of the Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Victorian Anti Bullying and Mental Health Initiative.
The new package follows the engagement of KPMG last year to help develop a new school incident management system that would be a one-stop-solution for schools to report incidents involving staff, student or security issues.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino
“We’re taking action to ensure schools have the support they need to prevent aggressive or violent behaviour and intervene decisively when it occurs.”
“When a school reports aggression or violence, they should get immediate support – this is exactly what this package delivers.”
“We have zero tolerance for violence and aggression in schools but simply moving the child on doesn’t fix the problem. This is providing support to intervene earlier and stop aggressive behaviour occurring in the future.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020