Safe Schools: What is Positive School Climate?

What is Positive School Climate?

A positive school climate may be defined as:

“The sum total of all of the personal relationships within a school. When these relationships are founded in mutual acceptance and inclusion, and modelled by all, a culture of respect becomes the norm.”

Definition from Safe Schools Action Team report,
Safe Schools Policy and Practice: An Agenda for Action
(June 2006), p. 6

Building a positive school climate

Promoting a Positive School Climate resource (PDF, 80 KB) supports and complements the work schools are doing in numerous areas. It brings together ideas from various initiatives that schools are already working on, including:

  • Character Development
  • Equity and Inclusive Education
  • Leadership Development
  • Parent Engagement
  • Student Voice
  • Safe and Healthy Schools.

Characteristics of a Positive School Climate

The following are some of the characteristics associated with a positive school climate:

  • Healthy and respectful relationships are promoted among all members of the school community.
  • Students are encouraged to be leaders and positive role models in their school; for example, to speak up about issues such as bullying.
  • Parents and community members are actively engaged.
  • Positive behaviour is reinforced, and students are given opportunities to develop relationships that are free from racism, discrimination and harassing behaviour.
  • There is a culture of high expectations which emphasizes the improvement of learning outcomes for all students.
  • Schools ensure that all cultures are respected and valued, and as a result, students, parents and staff feel safe, comfortable and accepted.
  • Everyone feels accepted and included in the school community. In this environment, disrespectful and inappropriate behaviour, such as racist, sexual, sexist or homophobic comments, is not acceptable.