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Information and guidance on implementing a Whole School Approach

Please use the menu at the top to navigate through the different sections or use the buttons at the bottom of pages to follow the suggested route through the toolkit.

Welcome! This comprehensive toolkit has been developed to support educational professionals to implement and embed a Whole School Approach (WSA) to preventing gender-based violence (GBV). GBV isn’t inevitable but the attitudes that underpin abusive behaviours have become normalised. A WSA seeks to challenge these norms, whilst promoting healthy relationships based on equality and respect. We hope the information and guidance provided within the toolkit supports you to create environments where all young people feel safe to learn and are able to thrive.  

What is a Whole School Approach?

The Background 

A Whole School Approach (WSA) to preventing gender-based violence (GBV) is rooted in research and direct work undertaken in schools. In 2013 AVA published a report documenting key learning points from a two-year long project, delivered by six specialist organisations, into preventing GBV through secondary education. Our findings demonstrated the effectiveness of a WSA, involving the whole school community in creating positive change, for and alongside young people. 

To be effective a WSA must recognise not all young people’s experience of abuse will be the same. The specific needs of Black and global majority, LGBTQIA+ and disabled young people have often been overlooked and unmet. This has led to a higher incidence of abuse and a lack of access to support for racialised and marginalised groups. 

If we want to achieve safety for all, we have to be proactive in making this right. Prevention through education provides us with an opportunity for change. Guidance around ensuring your approach is intersectional and inclusive will be provided throughout the toolkit.

The Whole School Approach (WSA) Model  

The WSA model represents a comprehensive Prevention programme and contains six core components, which form the basis of the toolkit: 

Image of Whole School Approach Model

LearningUnderstanding and Learning about gender-based violence and its impact. 

InstitutionalisingChanging the Culture throughout the school, sustainably. 

SafeguardingKeeping Children Safe by taking a holistic and needs-led approach to safeguarding. 

ParticipatingInvolving Young People actively and meaningfully in the process. 

Campaigning Raising Awareness of gender-based violence and its causes. 

Localising Including the Wider Community by working alongside external partners. 

These components can be adapted and implemented in a range of educational settings, including in secondary and primary schools, SEND schools, colleges and Pupil Referral Units (PRUs). Guidance and further information around settings can be found here.

If you still have any questions, please get in touch info@avaproject.org.uk