Featherbrook College is committed to providing a safe and respectful learning environment where bullying will not be tolerated. Every member of the Featherbrook College community has the right to feel safe from bullying at school (this includes digital learning environments). The college promotes positive behaviour that encourages respect, compassion and cooperation. The college strongly discourages anti-social behaviour.

1. The purpose of this policy is to:

1.1. explain the definition of bullying

1.2. make clear that all forms of bullying at Featherbrook College will not be tolerated

1.3. ask that everyone in our school community be alert to signs and evidence of bullying behaviour,

and accept responsibility to report bullying behaviour to school staff

1.4. ensure that all reported incidents of bullying are appropriately investigated and addressed

1.5. ensure that support is provided to students who may be affected by bullying behaviour (including

victims, bystanders and perpetrators)

1.6. seek parental and peer group support in addressing and preventing bullying behaviour at

Featherbrook College

2. When responding to bullying behaviour, Featherbrook College aims to:

2.1. be proportionate, consistent and responsive

2.2. find a constructive and positive solution for everyone

2.3. stop the bullying from happening again

2.4. restore the relationships between the students involved

3. Featherbrook College acknowledges that school staff owe a duty of care to students to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of reasonably foreseeable harm, which can include harm that may be caused by bullying behaviour.


4. This policy addresses how Featherbrook College aims to prevent and respond to student bullying behaviour. Featherbrook College recognises that there are many other types of inappropriate student behaviours that do not meet the definition of bullying which are also unacceptable at our school. These other inappropriate behaviours will be managed in accordance with the following:

4.1. Featherbrook College School Wide Positive Behaviour framework

4.2. Student Engagement and Wellbeing Policy

4.3. Equal Opportunity Policy

4.4. Duty of Care Policy

4.5. Child Safe Policy

4.6. Parent Feedback – Grievance Policy

4.7. Philosophy and Statement of Values Policy

4.8. Inclusion and Diversity Policy

4.9. Digital Technologies (Internet, Social Media and Digital Devices) Policy

5. This policy applies to all school activities, including camps and excursions


6. Bullying is an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that intends to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group (perpetrator/s) misusing their power, or perceived power, due to their age, size, status or other reasons, over one or more persons (victim/s) who feel unable to stop it from happening e.g. upset, harass, intimidate, threaten or hurt another person or damage their property, reputation or social acceptance.

7. Bullying can happen in person or online, via various digital platforms and devices and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert). Bullying behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time (for example, through sharing of digital records – E.g. messages, audio, video, photos)

8. Bullying may be direct or indirect, physical or verbal. Bullying is not a one-off disagreement between two or more people or a situation of mutual dislike. In this policy any reference to ‘bullying’ includes all forms of bullying.

9. Bullying of any form or for any reason can have immediate, medium and long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders. Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.

10. Bullying has three main features:

10.1. It involves a misuse of power in a relationship

10.2. It is ongoing and repeated, and

10.3. It involves behaviours that can cause harm

11. Forms of Bullying:

11.1. Physical bullying includes hitting, pushing, shoving or intimidating or otherwise physically hurting another person, damaging or stealing their belongings or threats of violence

11.2. Verbal and Written bullying includes name-calling, homophobic or racist remarks, verbal abuse or insulting someone about an attribute

11.3. Social bullying (sometimes called relational or emotional bullying) includes deliberately excluding someone, spreading rumours, playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate, mimicking, encouraging others to socially exclude a person and/or damaging a person’s social reputation or social acceptance, sharing information that will have a harmful effect on the other person

11.4. Harassment can also constitute bullying if it amounts to a pattern of behaviour or course of conduct towards another person – language or actions that are demeaning, offensive or intimidating to a person. It can take many forms, including sexual harassment and disability harassment.

Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated at Featherbrook College and may have serious consequences for students engaging in this behaviour. Featherbrook College will use its Student Engagement and Wellbeing Policy to guide a response to students demonstrating harassing behaviour, unless the behaviour also constitutes bullying, in which case the behaviour will be managed in accordance with this Bullying Prevention Policy.

11.5. Covert Bullying can be very difficult for someone outside of the interaction to identify. It can include hand gestures and threatening looks, whispering, excluding or turning your back on a person, restricting where a person can sit and who they can talk with. Social bullying (spreading rumours, manipulation of relationships, excluding, isolating) is often covert Ratified by College Council 16th September 2020 3 | P a g e Bullying.

11.6. Cyberbullying includes any form of bullying behaviour that uses digital technology and occurs online or via a mobile device. It can be verbal or written, and can include threats of violence as well as images, videos and/or audio e.g. via a mobile phone, tablets, computers, chat rooms, email, social media, etc.

12. Bullying can be:

12.1. direct physical bullying – e.g. hitting, tripping, and pushing or damaging property

12.2. direct verbal bullying – e.g. name calling, insults, homophobic or racist remarks, verbal


12.3. indirect bullying – e.g. spreading rumours, playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate, mimicking, encouraging others to socially exclude a person and/or damaging a person’s social reputation or social acceptance

13. Other distressing behaviours

Many distressing behaviours may not constitute bullying even though they are unpleasant. Students who are involved in or who witness any distressing behaviours should report their concerns to school staff and our school will follow the:

13.1. Featherbrook College School Wide Positive Behaviours framework

13.2. Student Engagement and Wellbeing Policy

13.3. Equal Opportunity Policy

13.4. Duty of Care Policy

13.5. Child Safe Policy

13.6. Parent Feedback – Grievance Policy

13.7. Philosophy and Statement of Values Policy

13.8. Inclusion and Diversity Policy

13.9. Digital Technologies (Internet, Social Media and Digital Devices) Policy

Single-episode acts of harassment, nastiness or physical aggression are not the same as bullying. If someone is verbally abused or pushed on one occasion, they are not being bullied. Harassment, nastiness or physical aggression that is directed towards many different people is not the same as bullying. However, single episodes of harassment, nastiness or physical aggression are not acceptable behaviours at our school. Featherbrook College will use its Student Engagement and Wellbeing Policy to guide a response to single episodes of nastiness or physical aggression.

Mutual conflict involves an argument or disagreement between people with no imbalance of power. In incidents of mutual conflict, generally, both parties are upset and usually both want a resolution to the issue. Unresolved mutual conflict can develop into bullying if one of the parties targets the other repeatedly in retaliation.

Social rejection or dislike is not bullying unless it involves deliberate and repeated attempts to cause distress, exclude or create dislike by others.


1. Featherbrook College has a number of programs and strategies in place to build a positive and inclusive school culture. We strive to foster a school culture that prevents bullying behaviour by modelling and encouraging behaviour that demonstrates our values of:

1.1. Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing

1.2. High Expectations for All

1.3. Respect, Inclusiveness and Trust

1.4. Safe and Secure Learning Environment

2. Bullying prevention at Featherbrook College is proactive and is supported by research that indicates that a whole school, multifaceted approach is the most effect way to prevent and address bullying. at our school:

2.1. We have a positive school environment that provides safety, security and support for students

and promotes positive relationships and wellbeing

2.2. We strive to build strong partnerships between the school, families and the broader community

that means all members work together to ensure the safety of students

2.3. In the classroom, our social and emotional learning curriculum teaches students what constitutes

bullying and how to respond to bullying behaviour assertively. This promotes resilience,

assertiveness, conflict resolution and problem solving

2.4. Teachers ensure that Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships are explicitly taught in all

year levels according to the devised scope and sequence

2.5. Explicit teaching of School Wide Positive Behaviour Systems SWPBS behaviour expectations is

undertaken regularly in all Learning Communities

2.6. The SWPBS Behaviour Matrix and Featherbrook Flowchart form the basis of acknowledgement

and correction of student behaviour

2.7. The Student Wellbeing Team meets regularly and time is allocated for teachers to support

student individual and group wellbeing needs

2.8. The Student Leader program encourages positive relationships between students in different

year levels. We seek to empower students to be confident communicators and to resolve conflict in a

non-aggressive and constructive way

2.9. Students are encouraged to look out for each other and to talk to teachers and older peers about

any bullying they have experienced or witnessed

2.10. We participate in the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence

For further information about our engagement and wellbeing initiatives, please see our Student Engagement and Wellbeing Policy.

3. The role of students is to:

3.1. Promote and support safe and respectful learning environments where bullying is not tolerated

3.2. Respect the rights of others and demonstrate behaviours and attitudes that promotes and

supports the wellbeing of all members of the school community

3.3. Understand and know that bullying, including cyber-bullying, is unacceptable and inappropriate

and when necessary, sanctions, will be put in place

3.4. Report incidents/concerns in a timely manner

3.5. Understand that the Acceptable use of Digital Technologies Parent and Student Agreement

applies i.e. Appendix A (Prep-2) and Appendix B (Years 3-9)

4. The role of staff is to:

4.1. Promote and support safe and respectful learning environments where bullying is not tolerated 4.2. Explicitly teach and model pro-social behaviours through curriculum content, pedagogical

approaches and engagement with students;

4.3. Be aware of and responsive to behaviours that constitute bullying; this may include drawing on

relevant staff, contacting parents/carers, involving other student members

4.4. Work in partnership with parents/carers to reduce and effectively manage incidents of bullying

4.5. Establish and build a collegiate atmosphere with all staff and share strategies to support each

other as well as reflect on one’s own behaviour, interactions and approaches in this process

5. The role of parents/carers is to:

5.1. Promote and support safe and respectful learning environments where bullying is not tolerated

5.2. Model positive interactions and engage in timely and constructive communication with the school

regarding their child’s behaviour and/or behaviours toward other students

5.3. Work co-operatively and actively with the school in responses designed to address incidents of

bullying to promote more positive behaviours

5.4. Understand that the Acceptable use of Digital Technologies Parent and Student Agreement

applies i.e. Appendix A (Prep-2) and Appendix B (Years 3-9)

Reporting concerns to Featherbrook College

6.1. Bullying complaints will be taken seriously and responded to sensitively at our school

6.2. Students who may be experiencing bullying behaviour, or students who have witnessed bullying behaviour, are encouraged to report their concerns to school staff as soon as possible

6.3. In most circumstances, we encourage students to speak to the home group teacher. However, students are welcome to discuss their concerns with any trusted member of staff including: Teachers, Education Support Staff, Team Lead, Principal Class Officers

6.4. Parents or carers who may develop concerns that their child is involved in, or has witnessed bullying behaviour at Featherbrook College should firstly contact the child’s home group teacher. If after discussing the incident with the home group teacher the parent/carer needs to take further action, contact should be made in the following order: Home Group Teacher, Team Lead, Principal Class Officer

6.5. Our ability to effectively reduce and eliminate bullying behaviour is greatly affected by students and/or parents and carers reporting concerning behaviour as soon as possible, so that the responses implemented by Featherbrook College are timely and appropriate in the circumstances


7. When notified of alleged bullying behaviour, school staff are required to:

7.1. record the allegations

7.2. inform the Team Lead who will refer the matter to the Student Wellbeing Team

8. Teachers are responsible for investigating allegations of bullying in a timely and sensitive manner. To appropriately investigate an allegation of bullying, the teacher may:

8.1. speak to the students involved in the allegations, including the victim/s, the alleged perpetrator/s

and any witnesses to the incidents

8.2. speak to the parents of the students involved

8.3. speak to the teachers of the students involved

8.4. take detailed notes of all discussions for future reference

8.5. obtain written statements from all or any of the above

9. All communications in the course of investigating an allegation of bullying will be managed sensitively. Investigations will be completed as quickly as possible to allow for the behaviours to be addressed in a timely manner.

10. The objective of completing a thorough investigation into the circumstances of alleged bullying behaviour is to determine the nature of the conduct and the students involved. A thorough understanding of the alleged bullying will inform staff about how to most effectively implement an appropriate response to that behaviour.

11. Serious bullying, including serious cyberbullying, is a criminal offence and may be referred to Victoria Police. For more information, see: Brodie’s Law.

Responses to bullying behaviours

12. When the Teacher or Principal Class Officer has sufficient information to understand the circumstances of the alleged bullying and the students involved, a number of strategies may be implemented to address the behaviour and support affected students in consultation with the Student Wellbeing Team and Principal Class Officers.

There are a number of factors that will be considered when determining the most appropriate response to the behaviour. When making a decision about how to respond to bullying behaviour, Featherbrook College will consider:

12.1. the age and maturity of the students involved

12.2. the severity and frequency of the bullying, and the impact it has had on the victim

12.3. student

12.4. whether the perpetrator/s has/have displayed similar behaviour before

12.5. whether the bullying took place in a group or one-to-one context

12.6. whether the perpetrator/s demonstrates insight or remorse for their behaviour

12.7. the alleged motive of the behaviour, including any element of provocation

13. All, or some of the following responses to bullying behaviours may be implemented:

13.1. Offer counselling support to the victim student or students, including referral to Department of

Education Student Support Services

13.2. Offer counselling support to the perpetrator/s, including referral to Department of Education

Student Support Services

13.3. Offer counselling support to affected students, including witnesses and/or friends of the victim

student/s, including referral to Department of Education Student Support Services

13.4. Facilitate a restorative practice meeting with all or some of the students involved. The objective

of restorative practice is to repair relationships that have been damaged by bringing about a sense of

remorse and restorative action on the part of the person who has bullied someone and forgiveness

by the person who has been bullied

13.5. Facilitate a mediation between some or all of the students involved to help to encourage

students to take responsibility for their behaviour and explore underlying reasons for conflict or

grievance. Mediation is only suitable if all students are involved voluntarily and demonstrate a

willingness to engage in the mediation process

13.6. Facilitate a process using the Support Group Method, involving the victim/s, the perpetrator/s

and a group of students who are likely to be supportive of the victim(s)

13.7. Implement a Method of Shared Concern process with all students involved in the bullying

13.8. Implement disciplinary consequences for the perpetrator students, which may include removal

of privileges, detention, suspension and/or expulsion consistent with our Student Engagement and

Wellbeing Policy, the Ministerial Order on Suspensions and Expulsions and any other relevant

Department policy

13.9. Facilitate a Student Support Group meeting and/or Behaviour Support Plan for affected


13.10. Prepare an Individual Management Plan restricting contact between victim/s and perpetrator/s

13.11. Provide discussion and/or mentoring for different social and emotional learning competencies

of the students involved, including Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships

13.12. Monitor the behaviour of the students involved for an appropriate time and take follow up

action if necessary

13.13. Implement year group targeted strategies to reinforce positive behaviours, for example

Student Wellbeing Support

14. Assistant Principal – Student Wellbeing is responsible for ensuring that up to date records of the investigation of and responses to bullying behaviour are maintained.

15. Featherbrook College understands the importance of monitoring and following up on the progress of students who have been involved in or affected by bullying behaviour. Where appropriate, school staff will also endeavour to provide parents and carers with updates on the management of bullying incidents.

Related Policies/Information:

Related Policies/Information:

This policy should be read in conjunction with the Featherbrook College School Wide Positive Behaviour framework and the following school policies:

 Student Engagement and Wellbeing Policy

 Equal Opportunity Policy

 Duty of Care Policy

 Child Safe Policy

 Parent Feedback – Grievance Policy

 Philosophy and Statement of Values Policy

 Inclusion and Diversity Policy

 Digital Learning (Internet, Social Media and Digital Devices) Policy


The following websites and resources provide useful information on prevention and responding to bullying, as well as supporting students who have been the target of bullying behaviours:

Bully Stoppers

Kids Helpline


Student Wellbeing Hub

Australian Student Wellbeing Framework

Bullying. No way!

Office of the eSafety Commissioner


This policy will be reviewed on a 2 year basis, or earlier as required, following analysis of school data on reported incidents of, and responses to bullying to ensure that the policy remains up to date, practical and effective. Data may be collected through:

 Discussion with students

 Student Attitudes to School Survey

 Staff Opinion Survey

 Staff feedback

 Assessment of school based data, including the number of reported incidents of bullying in each year group and the effectiveness of the responses implemented

 Compass Chronicle entries Proposed amendments to this policy will include consultation with Staff, Student Leaders, Student Wellbeing Team, SWPBS PLT, College Council.

Review Cycle

This policy was last updated on 12th of August 2020 and is scheduled for review in 2022. Review Date: 12th of August 2022