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.

SWPBS in Victoria

School-wide positive behaviour support (SWPBS) in Victorian government schools is using a coaching model supported by a central, state-wide unit.

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.

SWPBS Coaches do not support schools in regards to individual students. Coaches help establish whole-school processes.

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

Step 1. Expression of interest for a school to begin SWPBS

  1. The school completes a SWPBS Expression of Interest and emails it to Central Unit. Please ensure that SWPBS Expression of Interest is in the subject line.
  2. The SWPBS Central Unit determines Area Coach capacity to effectively support a school on their caseload, or if another form of support is appropriate, for example, through existing Networks, FISO groups, or PLCs.
  3. If Coaching is determined to be appropriate, the Principal/designee meets with the SWPBS Coach or Central Unit representative to discuss the appropriateness of SWPBS for their school.
  4. The school leadership team learns of the process, training and support required for successful implementation. If the school leadership team decides to progress, they will then begin the process of establishing staff commitment.
  5. The SWPBS Coach or a Central Unit representative makes a presentation to school staff about SWPBS and the commitment required from staff. The school arranges how to gauge staff ‘buy-in’ to commence SWPBS. If at least 80% of school staff agree to implement SWPBS, the Principal signs a SWPBS Collaboration Agreement.
  6. If 80% is not achieved, the Coach works with the leadership team to increase the understanding of and commitment to SWPBS.

SWPBS Expression of Interest Form (docx - 390.99kb)

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

Step 2. Application to join to Victorian SWPBS initiative

This document is completed after a school has submitted an expression of interest and have achieved 80% buy-in from school staff.

Expectations

  • Student behaviour/wellbeing is identified as one of the school’s priorities
  • The Principal (or Assistant Principal) actively participates in the implementation of SWPBS
  • The school identifies and resources a SWPBS Coordinator who attends training and guides the school team in the implementation of SWPBS. It may be appropriate to consider the Professional Practice Days to support the work of the Coordinator. 
  • The school establishes an implementation team to implement SWPBS
  • The Principal (or designee) and SWPBS implementation team members attend team training
  • The school collects data to assist with decision making
  • The school facilitates ongoing coaching of the SWPBS Coordinator, which will be provided by the Area Coaches and the Central Unit
  • The Principal (and leadership team) provide ongoing leadership and signalling to support the work of the SWPBS implementation team
  • The school commits to SWPBS implementation with fidelity using the Self-Assessment Survey (SAS) and the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) which can take 3 to 5 years.

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

Recognising school implementation of SWPBS (when a school is a "PBS school”​)

Acknowledgement

Many schools report that they are implementing SWPBS, so it is important to have the same standards for all schools.

Schools will receive formal recognition for implementing each tier of SWPBS. This recognition is valid for a maximum of one year, to ensure that a school’s SWPBS practices remain valid. This then permits a school to accurately and confidently say they’re a “PBS school”. 

 How is PBS evaluated?

  1. The Self-Assessment Survey (SAS) is used by all school staff to assess their perception of behaviour support systems in their school. It examines the status and need for improvement across the whole school, non-classroom settings, classrooms, and for individual students.
    To access an electronic version of the SAS, please email the SWPBS Central Unit for a link to the relevant sections of the survey to be completed online.
    To read more about the validity of the SAS, see Examining the Reliability and Validity of the Effective Behaviour Support Self-Assessment Survey.
  2. The Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) is used to measure the extent to which school staff are applying the core features of SWPBS.
    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

How are schools acknowledged?

The SWPBS Central Unit will assess school progress through the implementation stages. When a school achieves the criteria to qualify for one of the recognition levels, the SWPBS Central Unit will issue a certificate and register the school’s achievement. This recognition will be provided to the Department’s leadership and schools will be formally recognised as implementing SWPBS at the corresponding level.

Award Level - Blue

This award recognises schools that have:

  • a current Action Plan
  • an established team
  • formally administered the Self-Assessment Survey (SAS) to all school staff in the last 12 months and collated the results, and incorporated this into the action plan
  • informally (without an external facilitator) administered the TFI within the last 12 months

Award Level - Bronze

This award recognises schools that have:

  • a current Action Plan
  • formally administered the Self-Assessment Survey (SAS) to all school staff in the last 12 months, scored at least 80%, and incorporated this into the action plan
  • achieved 70% or more fidelity at tier I on three consecutive administrations according to the TFI, with an external facilitator (must include scoring 2 on item 1.8)
  • demonstrate the collection and analysis of major behavioural incidents and students exited from class, and include this in the action plan

Award Level - Silver 

This award recognises schools that have:

  • a current Action Plan
  • formally administered the Self-Assessment Survey (SAS) to all school staff in the last 12 months, scored at least 80%, and incorporated this into the action plan
  • achieved 70% or more fidelity at tier I on three consecutive administrations according to the TFI and according to Bronze level criteria
  • achieved 70% or more fidelity at tier II on three consecutive administrations according to the TFI, with an external facilitator (must include scoring 2 on item 2.3)
  • demonstrate the collection and analysis of major behavioural incidents and students exited from class, and include this in the action plan

Award Level - Gold 

This award recognises schools that have:

  • a current Action Plan
  • formally administered the Self-Assessment Survey (SAS) to all school staff in the last 12 months, scored at least 80%, and incorporated this into the action plan
  • achieved 70% or more fidelity at tier I on three consecutive administrations according to the TFI and according to Bronze level criteria
  • achieved 70% or more fidelity at tier II on three consecutive administrations according to the TFI and according to Silver level criteria
  • achieved 70% or more fidelity at tier III on three consecutive administrations according to the TFI, with an external facilitator (must include scoring 2 on item 3.13)
  • demonstrate the collection and analysis of major behavioural incidents and students exited from class, and include this in the action plan

Acknowledgements are valid for one year

Because SWPBS is an ongoing process of implementation and evaluation, schools must demonstrate that they are maintaining or improving SWPBS implementation. This means that a school must formally evaluate their implementation using the TFI at least annually and submit their results to the SWPBS Central Unit. A school must achieve fidelity in the tier(s) each year according to the TFI and submit their results to be considered a “PBS school”. 

Schools will be acknowledged

Schools which achieve Blue, Bronze, Silver, and Gold acknowledgements will be listed on the SWPBS webpage. The relevant Department Area and Region will be notified, and the achievement will be recorded in state-wide data produced by the Central Unit.

Reimbursements to schools

Schools which achieve the Bronze, Silver, and Gold acknowledgements are eligible to apply for financial reimbursements.

To apply, complete the Reimbursement application form.

Reimbursement application form (docx - 395.16kb)

Schools which are already receiving training for SWPBS

We know that some schools are receiving a variety of forms of training for SWPBS. This demonstrates a commitment to SWPBS and schools should not necessarily discontinue. Such training is introductory, and complements coaching well, however the statewide SWPBS initiative has standards for implementation and evaluation.

For a school to be considered to be implementing SWPBS correctly (a “PBS school”), their practices must be evaluated using the Self-Assessment Survey (SAS) and the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI). Staff from the Central Unit, Coaches, and select Regional and Area staff, as well as some experienced staff from schools are able to conduct this evaluation. Evaluations are recognised when they are conducted in conjunction with persons with the necessary training and experience. This ensures a level of quality assurance. Please contact the Central Unit or your Coach (if you have one) if you have any questions about evaluation using the TFI.

It is important that evaluations are conducted correctly so that schools can be formally recognised for their achievements, and can apply for financial reimbursement.

Schools which are already implementing SWPBS

Fantastic! We know that many schools have been implementing SWPBS prior to 2017, however we don’t know if their current practices meet the minimum standards for each tier of SWPBS. Such schools should contact the Central Unit to arrange an evaluation using the Self-Assessment Survey (SAS) and the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI).

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

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

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.

Resources for implementing SWPBS

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

​Contact Us 

SWPBS Unit
Telephone: 7022 1383
Email: positive.behaviour@edumail.vic.gov.au