Submission: Senate Inquiry into Disruption in Australian School Classrooms

31 March 2023

This submission provides an overview of the impact of classroom disruption in the Independent school sector and the responses of the sector to support schools experiencing classroom disruption.

Classroom disruption can negatively influence teacher and student wellbeing and safety. Creating a positive school environment is a priority for all Independent school leaders and staff. Whole-school approaches, policies and strategies that are implemented consistently by all staff and are communicated to the school community can promote positive student behaviour, safe school and classroom environments and foster healthy relationships.

It is also recognised that even with whole school approaches, policies and support, there can be instances when significant disruptive behaviours can impact a class, causing both student and teacher distress and poor mental health and wellbeing.

Reasons for disruptive student behaviours can be diverse and complex and individual support and approaches that may be required can impact on school resources and teacher workload.

The loss of teacher instructional time in managing classroom disruption can affect student learning and engagement, resulting in lower academic outcomes. The Independent sector therefore places great value on proactive strategies to minimise class disruption, create positive class climates and support student learning and engagement.

Many Independent schools turn to the Assocation of Independent Schools in their state or territory to access advice, professional development and policy support to implement practices that minimise classroom disruption and improve student behaviour.