Interventions and supports

Understanding and addressing the underlying factors that influence and trigger behaviour is key to supporting students to be happy, connected and engaged in education. Where students repeatedly demonstrate behaviours of concern, schools should implement structured intervention strategies as part of a staged response to address the behaviours.

Interventions and supports implemented at the school-level may include:

  • whole school strategies to build a positive culture and professional learning to build the capacity of school staff, for example through school-wide positive behaviour support and Respectful RelationshipsExternal Link
  • individualised interventions and supports, for example supports developed and delivered by allied health professionals, including Student Support Services, and modifications to routine and learning environments
  • targeted intervention and supports for vulnerable students, for example students in out-of-home care, students with a disability and Koorie students

Where behaviours escalate or are very complex, principals should seek support through the department’s area team and regional staff who can advise on, and facilitate access to, evidence-based interventions, expert supports and services, particularly for vulnerable students and students with complex needs.

Refer to Student Engagement for further advice on developing positive student behaviours and available interventions and supports.

Interventions and supports should be implemented and thoroughly documented well before an expulsion is considered by a principal. Expulsions are a serious disciplinary measure in Victorian government schools and should only be used as a last resort when all other disciplinary measures, interventions, supports and options have been exhausted.

In instances where there is no history of behavioural issues and an expulsion is being considered, principals may consider implementing interventions and supports rather than expelling a student.

Developing a behaviour support plan

Principals should ensure a behaviour support plan has been developed and implemented for all students who have a history of behavioural issues.

An effective behaviour support plan contributes to building respectful relationships, resilience, and well-adjusted students who are able to learn effectively, and may prevent behaviours from escalating. Templates and advice are available to assist schools to develop an effective behaviour support plan.

A behaviour support plan should be regularly revisited and updated to ensure it remains current.

For guidance on developing behaviour support plans refer to: Behaviour – Students: Behaviour Support Plans.

Support for resolving conflicts

Schools are encouraged to consider making use of conflict resolution supports to assist in resolving conflicts that may arise from behavioural incidents or conflicts. Conflict resolution can assist in de-escalating situations and help all parties to develop flexible and creative solutions to difficult situations. The process emphasises building positive relationships between all parties.

Conflict resolution supports should be explored for a range of conflicts that arise within a school environment, irrespective of whether a suspension or expulsion is being considered. It is important to recognise that conflict resolution will not be appropriate to use in all situations and should not be used when there are threats or violence, or where there is unwillingness from either party to participate.

The department has many internal avenues to help principals manage a conflict. Local area teams can advise principals on available supports and direct them to the relevant part of the department, the Central Complaints Team or the Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution.

Local area teams can also provide advice on, and access to, suitable third party conflict resolution services.

For further information on interventions and support for students refer to:

Chapter in Expulsion Guidelines and Procedures for Victorian Government Schools providing information on interventions and supports that can be offered to students demonstrating behaviours of concern

Reviewed 19 March 2024

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