St Stephen’s one of the safest schools in the country

St Stephen’s School, a Uniting Church school with campuses in Duncraig and Carramar WA, has been recognised as one the safest schools in the country.

School Education Minister Peter Garrett invited schools across the nation to highlight what they are doing to make their school a safe and supportive place in which bullying,  violence, harassment and discrimination are prevented as part of the National Day of action Against Bullying and Violence.

St Stephen’s Principal Tony George praised the efforts of staff and students for this initiative, commenting that it is the people who make a school and St Stephen’s School has  long been recognised for the quality of its people.

“The contribution the School is making towards education in Australia through providing a safe school has been a sustained characteristic of the school over its 30 years.  While we are one of the largest schools in Western Australia we are also one of the safest schools.” Tony said.

This recognition follows on from the Schools Carramar Secondary campus Mind Matters national award in 2012 for the development of the website www.bullyssstoppers.com.

While St Stephen’s School has been implementing these safe school programs right across its campuses, this award recognises the efforts of the Duncraig Secondary campus.

The CyberPlus program, implemented by Year 10 student cyber leaders and staff covers a range of initiatives including peer-support and mentoring, a playground buddies  system, a wellbeing and mental health forum, an after-school support program, and cyber disco.

The School is continuing to seek ways of improving and will be launching the St Stephen’s Institute, a research and development centre of the school, which includes a  well-being coach to promote health and well-being amongst staff and students.

Leeanne Shanks, one of a team of staff members involved in the CyberPlus program said the School was using a two prong integrated approach across the Secondary School.

“At the Year 10 level, Cyber leaders have been involved in disseminating information at assemblies for the entire Secondary School, Year 9s have been involved in the Rite  Journey program, and the Year 7 Health program has been developed to support education with practical assessments, one of which included the making of a movie about ‘not being a bystander’ where students develop bullying scenarios and ways to combat bullying,” Leeane said.

“In addition to this program the cyber disco and mural initiative where each student  pledges they are not going to be bystanders of bullying at our School has been the primary focus of the program. Our focus is on the bystander as it has been proven to be more  productive and more empowering.”

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.

“Everyone has a role to play in keeping our schools safe and these schools are leading the way in showing the wider community what it means to stand together against bullying  and violence,” Peter Garrett said.

For more information on the competition and winning entries, visit: http://deewr.gov.au/news/safe-schools-are-smart-schools-competition-winners-announced. The Safe Schools Hub can be accessed at http://safeschoolshub.edu.au/.

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