Western Sydney schools implement a proactive Beyond Bullying program with the help of NSW Police and UWS
Researchers from the University of Western Sydney are working with NSW Police to implement and evaluate a new, research-supported, positive psychology approach to preventing bullying and violence in western Sydney schools.
Professor Rhonda Craven, Director of the Centre for Positive Psychology and Education (CPPE) at UWS, says ‘Beyond Bullying’ is an Australian anti-bullying initiative that has been demonstrated to reduce bullying and associated behaviours in secondary schools.
“Beyond Bullying is a curriculum-based, whole-school approach to the prevention and management of bullying,” says Professor Craven.
“What sets Beyond Bullying apart from other anti-bullying interventions is that it has been developed by researchers and evaluated in line with research evidence.
“What research shows us is that whole-school approaches are the most effective means of decreasing bullying. It also shows that bullying thrives in secrecy, so the Beyond Bullying program works to place bullying at the forefront of each school’s policy and ensure that the anti-bullying measures are integrated into the daily life of the school.”
Granville South Creative and Performing Arts High School is one of six schools implementing the Beyond Bullying program in 2012.
Granville South Principal, Mr Warren Finn, says the school is pleased to assist UWS in rolling-out this innovative Beyond Bullying program which takes a proactive approach toward tackling the issue of bullying in schools.
“Bullying, whether it be on the playground, online, physical or emotional, is a problem that is faced by each and every school today,” says Mr Finn.
“Through this program, Granville South has been given the opportunity to send a clear message to teachers, parents and students and the community alike that, an explicit, proactive whole-school approach to managing bullying issues is important.”
In 2011, four teachers from Granville South participated in a full-day Beyond Bullying training program with UWS researchers and were provided with an anti-bullying intervention to implement with the school as well as lesson plans and an educational DVD which can be viewed on the CPPE website.
As part of the Beyond Bullying program, students and teachers are given the knowledge that allows them to action three distinct strategies:
- STOP: The first step of the Beyond Bullying program is to ensure that the bullying stops. Students who are being bullied, or who see an act of bullying occur, are encouraged to say ‘stop’ as a way of conveying to others that what they are doing is hurtful.
- HELP: In the second step, students are encouraged to provide assistance to the person who is being bullied or to seek help from other students or from teachers.
- TELL: The third step is to ensure that students tell a trusted person who can make a difference – a teacher, another student, their parents, or another staff member.
The Beyond Bullying DVD – which features interviews from special celebrity guests including Hazem El Mazri, Casey Donovan and Faustina Agolley and features clips from Kate Miller-Heidke’s anti-bullying song ‘Caught in the Crowd’ – aims to communicate the serious reality of bullying to high school students and to give teachers a resource for starting useful conversations about how students can help address bullying issues.
The Beyond Bullying program has been rigorously evaluated and has been shown to result in positive outcomes in enhancing pro-social behaviours in schools and in fostering a safer school environment.
Following research evaluations, the Beyond Bullying program has been found to:
- Significantly decrease bullying behaviours in schools.
- Improve the general self-esteem of students.
- Increase students’ sense of belonging and attachment to their school.
- Increase students’ levels of advocacy against bullying behaviours.
As part of the implementation of Beyond Bullying in six western Sydney schools, CPPE researchers will continue to research on the effectiveness of the program. The next phase of the research will involve surveys of high school students and group interviews with teachers, students and principals.
The UWS research project is funded by the Australian Attorney General's Department.
10 August 2012