How do schools respond to behaviours of concern?

  • Schools aim to reduce or remove harms and risks, and to restore relationships. These aims guide the way in which schools respond to student behaviour. Schools also consider what impact a behaviour response might have on student learning.
  • Your child’s school will have a range of responses and strategies in place to:
    • develop an understanding of why a student has behaved in a particular way
    • resolve or address issues, including providing extra support to students where appropriate
    • consider the impact on student learning of any response to the behaviour
    • ensure the school environment is safe and supports learning and attainment.

When do schools use sanctions?

  • A sanction is a consequence that can be used to respond to behaviour that is unacceptable.
  • Some examples of unacceptable behaviour include bullying, illegal behaviour, and causing damage to property. The full list of unacceptable behaviours at school and school activities appears in the Education Act 2016 (Tas).
  • The Student Behaviour Management Policy details how schools will respond to unacceptable behaviour.
  • As a last resort, schools may use responses that result in time away from school (such as suspension). Sometimes these responses are necessary to ensure the safety of students and staff.
  • In the most serious cases, schools may refer the matter to a relevant authority (such as the police).

What are the school’s responsibilities?

  • Schools have a duty of care towards students, staff, and visitors to school sites. This means that schools must respond when unacceptable behaviour occurs:
    • at school
    • at, or travelling to, a school activity at another site
    • at a location close to school where staff are supervising students (for example at a bus stop). The Principal communicates duty locations and times in each school.
  • When a student is suspended or excluded, the school must provide appropriate work for the duration of the sanction.
  • Schools must arrange a re-entry process for transition back to school. This will include a conference for you, your child, and staff to develop an agreed plan for the successful return to school.

What are my responsibilities as a parent?

  • You play a key role in supporting your child to behave respectfully. This includes assisting your child to understand that schools are guided by the Student Behaviour Management Policy.
  • Contact the school early if you have concerns about your child’s behaviour or the behaviour of other students at the school. Staff can work with you to find solutions to the problem.
  • If your child is suspended or excluded it is your responsibility to look after them at home until they are allowed to return.
  • You must attend the re-entry conference after a suspension or exclusion. This way all parties understand how to support safe and positive re-entry.
  • Sometimes behaviour occurring outside of school impacts learning or wellbeing at school. Inform the school if you are aware of this happening. Schools can work with you and your child on solutions. (Note that schools cannot sanction students for unacceptable behaviour outside of school, school activities, or school supervised duty hours.)

Where can I get more information?

  • General information: contact your school. Staff there can access DECYP’s resources to provide specialist support for your child.
  • Specific behaviour responses: you can discuss any behaviour responses applied with your child’s teacher or the Principal.
  • Sanctions: if your child has been given a sanction this might be
    • a suspension (up to 10 school days and applied by the Principal)
    • or a further sanction:
      • further suspension (up to an additional 10 days and applied by a Student Support Leader)
      • exclusion (applied by Student Support Leaders or the Director Student
      • Support)expulsion (applied by the Deputy Secretary Schools and Early Years)
      • prohibition (applied by the Deputy Secretary Schools and Early Years).

You may disagree with the sanction. If so, you can request a review of any further sanction by completing the appropriate form and returning it to DECYP. These forms are available here: Forms for wellbeing, behaviour, and safety. You can also contact DECYP on 1800 816 057.