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, which 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.

The 2017 survey was specific to elementary schools. In the past, this survey was only conducted with students. In 2017, parent and staff surveys were added to the elementary panel survey.  It was completed by 11,986 students (from Grades 4-8), 1,553 staff and 3,285 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 March 8. 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/winter 2018. To learn more about the School Climate Survey, contact Deborah Scharf, PhD, Research and Evaluation Services at

School Climate Survey Highlights

Highlights of the results include: 

  • Climate score of approximately 3 out of 4. This is consistent with previous results.
  • Eighty-three percent of students agree or strongly agree that “I am accepted for who I am at school.”
  • Eighty-two per cent of students reported participating in organized sports, clubs or 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, parents and staff identified bullying and stress/anxiety as top issues.
  • Parents and staff also identified lack of outdoor shade as a top issue.
  • Twenty-six per cent of students reported belonging to a visible minority. Of these, 71-77% reported learning about different cultures, including their own, in:
    • books or videos used in class (79%)
    • special events/celebrations at school (71%)
    • what they are learning about in class (77%)
  • Thirty-one per cent of students have felt out of place or unwelcome at school this year.
  • Forty-nine per cent of students have experienced at least one form of bullying in the past four weeks.
  • Forty-nine per cent of students have witnessed bullying or harassment at school this year.

One thought on “Measuring school safety and inclusion: survey results

  1. Doug Mein

    Very interesting survey results. It may useful for future surveys to consider school accessibility for students and staff who may have various physical and mental disabilities.

    Doug Mein
    Vice Chair
    Accessibility Advisory Committee – SCDSB

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