Over a third of the schools sampled were using the Bullying prevention and response guide by the second term after its release. Five schools accessed the guide because of their ERO review.

Less than 10 percent of the schools ERO spoke with did not know about the guide and only six of the schools were aware but did not intend to use it. These six schools believed their current systems were adequate or did not have policies relating to behaviour management or bullying.

Schools using the guide mainly did so as a tool to review their existing bullying prevention and response procedures. Many schools had integrated aspects of the guide into their existing policies and plans, or intended to do so in the future.

The guide was also used as a reference document for dealing with bullying incidents and as a resource for curriculum planning. Several schools were in the early stages of making changes based on the guide, and the value of these changes is yet to be seen.

Many schools mentioned using the guide to help them respond to bullying. However, not many talked about proactive actions to move their school towards a culture that minimises bullying. Schools that actively create inclusive, respectful environments experience less bullying than schools that simply respond to bullying incidents.

The schools in this investigation were overall representative of schools nationally. The schools that did not know about the guide were all primary schools, and many were small and further actions are needed to engage more primary school leaders and teachers.