Measuring school safety and inclusion: survey results

School climate and safety are important components of student success. The Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) conducts an annual School Climate Survey. The survey helps us evaluate how caring, safe and connected students, parents and staff feel their school is. It also provides a basis for plans for improvement.

In the past, this survey was only conducted with students. In 2016, parent and staff surveys were added. The 2016 survey was specific to secondary schools. It was completed by 9,029 students, 927 staff and 564 parents. The survey included questions about the tone of the school, safety, inclusion, activities and more.

The infographic below summarizes highlights of the survey results. They are listed following the infographic along with additional highlights.

The SCDSB results were shared at the Program Standing Committee meeting on May 11. The results will inform decisions on programming and initiatives delivered in our schools. Individual school results were also given to principals for sharing with staff, students and parents. They will also be used to inform School Learning Plans.

The survey results show that our schools are positively impacting many of our students. They also show that there is room for improvement. The report presented to the Board of Trustees includes some key areas of opportunity as well as actions we can take to improve our school climate.

The School Climate Survey will alternate between elementary and secondary schools each year. The next survey of secondary schools is expected in fall 2017. To learn more about the School Climate Survey, contact Deb Scharf, Research and Evaluation Services at

This infographic summarizes highlights of the data from the 2016 school climate survey.

Highlights of the results include:

  • Climate score of 2.9 out of 4. This increased slightly from the 2013 survey.
  • Eighty-one percent of students agree or strongly agree that “I am accepted for who I am at school.”
  • Ninety per cent of students believe that there are many opportunities for them to get involved in activities at school.
  • Ninety-three per cent of students agree or strongly agree that “I have at least one friend that cares about me.”

The survey also identified areas of opportunity. Some are:

  • Students and parents identified the same three top issues.
    • smoking/chewing tobacco
    • marijuana use
    • stress/anxiety
  • Staff also identified stress/anxiety and marijuana use, but bullying/harassment rounded out their top three.
  • Twenty-one per cent of students reported belonging to a visible minority. Of these, only 52 – 59% see themselves in:
    • materials used in class (58%)
    • special events/celebrations at school (52%)
    • class discussions/presentations (59%)
  • Thirty-two per cent of students have felt out of place or unwelcome at school this year.
  • Fifty per cent of students have witnessed bullying or harassment at school this year.
  • Fifty-one percent of students have experienced bullying/harassment in the past four weeks.


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