School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support

​​​​​Promoting wellbeing at school can substantially improve social and emotional outcomes of young people.

School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) is a whole-school framework which provides school professionals with an approach to promote improved behaviour at their school.

SWPBS has been developed from evidence and data, demonstrating the most effective ways to prevent and respond to problem behaviour at school. Research has shown that SWPBS is successful in reducing problem behaviour, improving school culture, and increasing academic performance.


School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) is an approach to assist school professionals improve social behaviour and academic outcomes.

It provides guidance for adopting behaviour interventions into a single whole-school framework. The interventions are evidence based, with a focus on data-based decision making and preventing serious behavioural issues.

The Victorian Government has made a $5.9 million investment in infrastructure to support SWPBS across the state.

Introduction to School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support (docx - 248.63kb)

Introduction School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support (pdf - 294.81kb)

What's new in 2018

Statewide Coordinating Team

A manager, two state-wide practitioners, an administration coordinator, and an IT/AV technician will drive and coordinate SWPBS in Victorian government schools, providing a link from schools, through areas and regions, to the Department’s central office. This team will directly support the Coaches in their work with schools, assist regions to increase the uptake of SWPBS, align SWPBS with other school initiatives, and report to stakeholders on progress.

Telephone: 9935 3705


Seventeen SWPBS coaches will be employed and one assigned to each DET Area to support schools to implement SWPBS with fidelity. These coaches will undergo training consistent with international standards. They will utilise a scientifically valid and reliable tool to measure implementation of SWPBS as the school level to ensure that outcomes are maximised. Data from across Victoria will be analysed to ensure that schools are being supported by coaches effectively to achieve outcomes for students and the whole school community.

Coaches will work with schools to implement SWPBS beginning with tier I and progressing to tier III. Coaches aim to establish sustainable practices within schools that proactively support students rather than reactively responding to behaviour once it has already occurred.

Reimbursements to schools

Schools that have successfully completed tasks in each tier of the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) can apply for reimbursement to assist in developing the resources and systems required for implementing the next tier.

SWPBS School reimbursement process (pdf - 160.73kb)

Reimbursement application form (docx - 395.16kb)

A national conference

Victoria will host Australia’s first national conference on positive behaviour support in 2019. The conference will aim to attract delegates from other service systems such as disability services, youth justice, and out-of-home care, and provide opportunities for researchers, managers, clinicians, practitioners, teachers, principals, policymakers, advocates, and families.

Congratulations to these schools

The state wide coordinating team is now available to support your school to evaluate your implementation and action planning for SWPBS.  We are very pleased to announce the following schools have achieved a fidelity score on their first TFI (Tiered Fidelity Inventory). A school is considered to be implementing with fidelity when it scores above 70% on three successive TFI assessments. 

November 2017

Lilydale West Primary School.  
Manorvale Primary School
Moolap Primary School

SWPBS in your school

School-wide positive behaviour support (SWPBS) in Victorian government schools is using a coaching model supported by a central, state-wide unit. There is significant demand from schools for support to implement SWPBS, and the information on this page will help school staff to understand what SWPBS is, how schools go about securing adoption for SWPBS, what types of support for implementation is available, how the coaching model works, what commitment from a school for SWPBS entails, and how schools are recognised as “PBS schools”.  

A coaching model has been adopted to maximise the outcomes of a school’s investment in SWPBS. Research tells us that school staff learn better when training consists of coaching and feedback. Using a coaching model helps school staff to develop the practical skills for implementing SWPBS at their school, as opposed to only attending a lecture or seminar about the theory of SWPBS. 

Using a coaching model results in better outcomes through better fidelity of implementation. 

​Frequently asked questions from Principals and school leaders ​

The central unit often receives similar questions, so this document explains the following common questions:

  • How to receive support for SWPBS implementation 
  • Situations when schools are already receiving SWPBS training
  • Situations when schools are already implementing SWPBS 
  • How schools are formally recognised for their implementation of SWPBS 
  • The collaboration agreement between schools and Coaches 
  • How staff commitment for SWPBS is obtained  
  • Establishing a school SWPBS implementation team 
  • Team training requirements 

Frequently asked questions about SWPBS (docx - 382.21kb)

Frequently asked questions about SWPBS (pdf - 128.85kb)

Process to join the Victorian SWPBS initiative ​

​This is a summary flowchart of the steps for a school, from initial contact with the Central Unit through to achieving tier I fidelity.​

SW​P​BS Flowchart    SWPBS Flowchart

xpression of interest for a school to begin SWPBS

There are over 1,500 government schools in Victoria, and we already have a big demand for SWPBS. In order for resources to be allocated fairly and consistently, schools are asked to complete an expression of interest in SWPBS. This document asks the following questions to help the Central Unit evaluate applications:

What does the school hope to achieve through SWPBS?

Is there a goal in the school’s Annual Implementation Plan (AIP) or Strategic Plan which would be supported by SWPBS?

Which other school-wide change initiatives are being undertaken?

What is the school’s current approach to supporting student wellbeing and promoting positive behaviour?

What is the s​​chool’s current involvement with Networks, FISO groups, PLCs, and other professional learning initiatives?

SWPBS Expression of Interest Form (docx - 390.99kb)

Expressions of interest will be reviewed each term by the SWPBS Central Unit. 

lication to join to Victorian SWPBS initiative ​

This document is completed after a school has submitted an expression of interest (see above) and have discussed their interest in SWPBS with the Central Unit. The document asks the following information to help the Central Unit make a decision about how to support a school to implement SWPBS:

  • School demographics 
  • How SWPBS is aligned to the school’s strategic goals and existing procedures
  • Membership of the school implementation team 

The document also contains:

  • The Readiness Checklist 
  • The Collaboration Agreement 

Application to join Victorian SWPBS Initiative (docx - 405.38kb)

gnising school implementation of SWPBS (when a school is a PBS school”​

Many schools report that they are implementing SWPBS, so it is important to have the same standards for all schools. These standards are evaluated using the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI). More information about the TFI is available on this webpage and in its documents. 

It is necessary for schools that are already implementin​g SWPBS to have their practices and processes evaluated according to the TFI.

This is explained further in the Frequently Asked Questions document. See: Frequently Asked Questions (pdf - 128.85kb)

Schools that are beginning SWPBS this year will also be required to complete an evaluation using the TFI. 

The results of the TFI are used to formally recognise schools for their achievement in implementing the different tiers of SWPBS. 

The criteria for the recognition levels for schools are: ​

  • Blue: Commenced implementation of tier I and undertaken an evaluation 
  • Bronze: Achieved fidelity in tier I
  • Silver: Achieved fidelity in tiers I and II
  • Gold: Achieved fidelity in tiers I, II and III

Each recognition will only be valid for one year, consistent with the requirements of the TFI which requires, at a minimum, annual evaluation. 

These new recognitions replace recognitions issued in previous years. 

SWPBS School Implementation Acknowledgment Guide (docx - 378.06kb)

SWPBS School Implementation Acknowledgment Guide (pdf - 118.61kb)

SWPBS in detail

​The key​ attributes of SWPBS include preventive activities, data-based decision making, and a problem solving orientation. SWPBS is a technology with four core, defining features:​​

  • Outcomes: Supporting social competence and academic achievement
  • Systems: Supporting staff behaviour
  • Data: Supporting decision-making
  • Practices: Supporting student behaviour

Tiered intervention framework

SWPBS uses a tiered intervention framework which invests in:

  • Primary prevention (tier 1): School and classroom-wide systems for all students, staff and settings (approximately 80% of students)
  • Secondary prevention (tier 2): Specialised group systems for students with at-risk behaviour (approximately 15% of students)
  • Tertiary prevention (tier 3): Specialised, individualised systems for students with high-risk behaviour (approximately 5% of students)

School principals play a pivotal role in adopting, implementing and sustaining SWPBS. Principal support such as agreeing with SWPBS principles, allowing teacher release time for training and team meetings and allocating resources for implementation are significant towards the sustainability of SWPBS.

Evaluating SWPBS in Victorian government schools

Victoria is adopting the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) to measure the extent to which school staff are applying the core features of SWPBS. The TFI is a reliable and valid tool to assess fidelity of implementation. The monitoring, evaluation, and reporting of SWPBS implementation is consistent with the Department’s Evaluation Strategy.

For more information about the TFI, see: SWPBS Tiered Fidelity Inventory
To read more on the validity of the tool, see: Technical Adequacy of the SWPBS Tiered Fidelity Inventory

Resources for implementing SWPBS

There are many sources of information and resources online about SWPBS. We suggest: