The key evaluative question for this evaluation was:

To what extent are schools working towards an environment in which students feel safe and free from bullying?

ERO drew on the research‑informed and evidence‑based BPAG Bullying‑Free NZ Schools Framework to identify elements of effective prevention practice, considered alongside the domains of ERO’s School Evaluation Indicators.

Figure 1. Bullying‑Free NZ Schools Framework

This large circle is made up of four curved arrows which link up to form the outer circle.  The title at the top is Whole school vision.  The next section inside is made up of eight coloured pie wedges they are from top right to left: Wedge 1 is light green it reads Universal approach/curriuclumn to promote social & emotional learning and support resilience, Wedge 2 is light teal blue it reads Enabling student leadership, agency & voice, Wedge 3 is medium teal blue it reads Staff PLD to support student wellbeing, Wedge 4 is dark teal blue it reads Data - identifying need, guiding decision making & monitoring results, Wedge 5 is light orange it reads Working with parents, carers, whanau & the wider community, Wedge 6 is dark orange it reads Targeted support & early response, Wedge 7 is dark green it reads A positive school climate & culture that promotes respect & values diversity and lastly Wedge 8 is medium green and reads Effective & supportive policies & procedures.  The leads to the inner circle which reads Strong leadership that supports & champions efforts to promote bullying prevention & wellbeing.

Source: BPAG

The evaluation team then used a simple rubric derived from the Bullying‑Free NZ Schools Framework to judge each school’s performance on each of the domains as either good, satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Guided by these domain judgments, we made a holistic overall judgment as to whether the school was working towards a bullying‑free environment to a great extent, to some extent, or to a limited extent. The full rubric can be found in Appendix 1, and further detail about the domains of the framework can be found on the BPAG website.

ERO collected data for this evaluation from 136 primary, secondary and composite schools scheduled for their regular review in Terms 1 and 2, 2018. Review officers collected data while onsite, drawing on interviews and meetings with school leaders, trustees, teachers and students, as well as conducting observations and document analysis. Demographic characteristics of the schools can be found in Appendix 2.

Additionally, students in Year 4 and above from these schools were invited to complete an online survey on their experiences of bullying. The survey was provided in both te reo Māori and English. Students were identified by asking for their school name, and the location of their school for data cleaning purposes and to match ERO’s onsite data collection to the reported experiences of students. Students provided their current school year level, how long they had been going to their current school, gender and ethnicity.

We received 11,085 valid responses from 66 of the schools visited. The survey questions can be found in Appendix 3. ERO is also publishing a companion report, focused specifically on student experiences of bullying and what they have learned at school about bullying prevention and response, as shown in the student survey results.