Safe Schools are Smart Schools
- Minister for School Education
- Minister for Early Childhood and Youth
Schools across the country are taking action against bullying and the Gillard Government wants to recognise their hard work by finding the safest, smartest schools in the country.
School Education Minister Peter Garrett today launched a new competition for schools to highlight what they are doing to make their school a safe and supportive place in which bullying, violence, harassment and discrimination are prevented.
Mr Garrett announced the ‘Safe Schools are Smart Schools’ Competition at Melbourne High School in South Yarra today and said it would spotlight the great work schools are doing to stop bullying, as well as share examples of what works with the wider community.
“We know bullying is a huge issue and it happens not just in our schools but in our communities,” Mr Garrett said.
“Sadly, there are still instances of bullying - be it in the playground, on the way to or from school or online.
“I know how crucial this issue is. Under the National Plan for School Improvement, every school will be required to have a Safe Schools Plan. The National Safe Schools Framework is recognised as the first of its kind in the world and offers guiding principles that can help school communities develop positive and practical student safety and wellbeing policies.
“The Safe Schools are Smart Schools Competition is a chance for primary and secondary schools across Australia to share how they are creating a safe environment that aligns with the National Safe Schools Framework.
“By highlighting and recognising the positive work a number of schools are doing to stop bullying, we want other schools to take notice and start implementing these great initiatives.”
Melbourne High School is was chosen for today’s launch for its whole of community approach to preventing bullying. They believe in the common principle of ‘bystander activism’ which involves educating and preparing young people not only to act respectfully themselves but to challenge bullying and discriminatory behaviour when they witness it in others.
It is the first Victorian secondary school to undertake e-Smart accreditation through the Allanah and Madeline Foundation e-Smart program and is a founding member of the Victorian Safe School’s Coalition.
It is also a founding partner of the Racism It Stops with Me campaign, an initiative of the Australian Human Rights Commission and part of the Commonwealth Government’s National Anti Racism strategy, and one of the first Victorian Schools undertaking accreditation through the White Ribbon ‘Breaking the Silence’ program, a whole of school initiative aimed at promoting respectful and equal relationships between women and men and challenging attitudes that may encourage misogyny and violence towards women and violence generally.
“Melbourne High School is a leader in its attitude and responsibilities to promoting a safe and respectful environment for all its students. Melbourne High School shows it is a safe school by being a smart school,” Mr Garrett said.
“The Safe Schools are Smart Schools Competition is a chance for primary and secondary schools across Australia to share how they are creating a safe environment that aligns with the National Safe Schools Framework,” Mr Garrett said.
Schools can register their interest in the Safe Schools are Smart Schools Competition, download the entry form and find out more at www.safeschools.deewr.gov.au.
To enter, schools will be encouraged to form a working group of students, led by a teacher, to answer a series of questions related to how their school’s initiatives align with the National Safe School Framework.
They can choose to focus their entry on activities that address any one of the following issues: bullying, cyberbullying, violence, discrimination, harassment or mental health.
One primary school and one secondary school in each state and territory will win a $5000 voucher for school resources.
Winning entries will be announced on the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence on 15 March 2013.