What is Friendly Schools?
Friendly Schools is the first anti-bullying initiative for schools developed through extensive research with Australian children and adolescents. It is recognised nationally and internationally as a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that can reduce bullying behaviour. The Friendly Schools initiative has been designed to align with both the Australian Curriculum and the National Safe Schools Framework.
By promoting positive, sustainable, whole-school improvement, Friendly Schools helps school communities to build their own capacity for change. It enables schools to assess the social and emotional wellbeing of their students, examine their existing strategies for bullying prevention, identify areas in need of improvement and then address these gaps using widely tested strategies. This process is supported by a range of evidence-based products that have been tested and proven effective in real Australian schools.
Friendly Schools aims to increase understanding and awareness of bullying; improve communication about bullying; foster adaptive responses to bullying; encourage peer and adult support for students who are bullied; and promote peer and adult discouragement of bullying behaviour. The initiative also addresses research suggesting that the development of qualities like resilience, positive self-esteem, empathy, social skills, self-management skills, decision-making skills and conflict resolution can help to protect students from the harmful effects of bullying.
Although school leaders, teachers, students and parents will all find unique benefits in the initiative, the central goal of Friendly Schools implementation is to bring the entire school community together in order to create and maintain a friendly and safe school culture.