Student Engagement Professional Development

It is important for school leadership teams to ensure that school staff have the skills to identify, address and de-escalate behaviours of concern leading to harm to self or others and respond appropriately to a reportable incident.   It is strongly recommended that where such behaviours have occurred in a school, or students have been identified as being at risk of such behaviours, staff members working with those students undertake professional development to build their skills and confidence in this area.

Discussions regarding appropriate professional development should occur as part of individual Performance and Development Plans or as part of school-wide professional learning.

There is a range of professional development opportunities provided through the Department to build the capacity of school staff to de-escalate and manage challenging behaviours including:

Managing Challenging Behaviour (MCB) Course

This course is designed to support teachers to meet the diverse needs of their students and limit the incidence and impact of complex behaviours of concern in the classroom. It is available online to all schools. Participants can register for free and complete the online course independently and in their own time.

There is also a ‘train-the-trainer’ program available for school leaders and allied health professionals who wish to become MCB Champions. MCB Champions will be equipped to deliver the course and provide support to their school and/or networks on managing challenging behaviour.

Please read through further information here and take this short quiz to see if this course is right for you.

School Wide Positive Behaviour Support

School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SW-PBS) is an evidence-based framework for establishing safe, purposeful and inclusive school and classroom learning environments. SW-PBS promotes the use of data to tailor whole school strategies and individual interventions to support all students to reach their academic and social potential.

The Department will continue to develop tailored information to help mainstream and specialist schools implement SW-PBS.  This eduGate site provides schools with access to training modules, resources and additional information on SW-PBS.

Prevention and Responding to Extreme Behaviours in Special Schools

Principals’ Association of Specialist Schools in partnership with the Department offers a professional learning program for school leadership teams, teachers and education support staff working with students displaying extreme and challenging behaviours of concern associated with a disability.

For more information read the course overview.

The Department also provides professional learning sessions to help principals and teachers understand their legal obligations:

Training on Equal Opportunity, the Disability Standards for Education and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities

The Department’s Legal Division presents workshops and seminars throughout the year at the Bastow Institute and at regional and other forums. For more information contact the Legal Division, at

Online training module on the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities

The Department has an online training module for all staff on their obligations under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic). The training module can be accessed here.

Training in the use of physical interventions

Effective training will help staff to reduce the need for physical intervention, and to minimise the risks associated with its use. It is critical that teachers are provided with professional development in the area of identifying, addressing and responding to behaviours of concern, however emphasis should also be placed on training that focuses on prevention and de-escalation and promotes positive behaviours. 

The type and extent of training needed will depend upon the school context, the nature of behaviours children present with and the skills, experience and responsibilities of staff. 

When selecting a training program schools should look for providers who demonstrate a clear understanding of the Department's Guidance, Procedures and Resources and include in their program:

  • promotion of positive behaviours
  • prevention and early intervention strategies for managing behaviours of concern and reducing the need for physical interventions
  • an emphasis on avoiding physical interventions wherever possible
  • a focus on ensuring the health and safety of students and staff at all times
  • strategies for de-escalation of situations with behaviours of concern leading to harm to self or others
  • training in risk assessment
  • information on potential risks to staff and/or students associated with physical intervention/restraint
  • real life scenarios relevant to the school environment and particular behaviours school staff are dealing with
  • ample time for participants to practise techniques taught.

The Department does not deliver training in using physical intervention with students, but has identified a number of providers whose training programs are compliant with Department Guidance and reflect the elements listed above. It is recommended that schools contact the Regional Health, Wellbeing & Specialist Services Manager or the Inclusion, Access and Participation Manager to discuss their staff training needs and suitable training providers. For contact details, see Regions.

Record keeping

When schools access physical intervention or other behaviour management training for their staff, they should keep a record of:

  • which staff members have attended training
  • the type of training delivered
  • the date when the training was attended
  • any certificates that were awarded
  • dates for renewal of training (annual training or refresher courses are recommended for those staff who work with children with behaviours of concern leading to harm to self or others).