Maree Stanley

Manager Schools Programs (Better Buddies)

Career highlights

  • Founder of the Foundation's Better Buddies Framework - a prevention program to help schools create friendly and caring environments where bullying is reduced.
  • A teacher for more than 20 years, she has considerable first-hand experience of bullying in schools.
  • In 2002, a group of experts on bullying came together to form the National Centre Against Bullying and Maree was instrumental in this development.
  • Worked closely with government education departments and communities to raise awareness of the seriousness of bullying and preventative measures.
  • Continues to develop the Better Buddies Framework to enrich buddy systems to schools across Australia.

Question and answer

Why is the issue of bullying of particular interest to you?

As an educator for more than 20 years, I could see the effects of bullying on individuals and the impact this has on the school community. It was clear the issue of bullying needed to be dealt with from a whole-school perspective to be successful. Schools need to address a myriad of issues and the complexities of bullying, making it a hard issue to solve. My interest is to help manage and prevent bullying, including sharing knowledge with other educators of what bullying is, how it can be managed and ways to reduce incidents within the school community.

Where do you believe you have made a difference in your field?

Through working in the Foundation's Children Ahead program, in the program's early days, I saw the need to have a proactive focus, as well as a reactive focus, for our children. Prevention became my main focus. I founded the Foundation's Better Buddies Framework and assisted in the adaptation of the Framework into schools in Denmark. The Framework provides schools with a program to help build unique relationships between older and younger students and promote a positive culture to reduce bullying behaviours. The creation of NCAB has also meant we have been able to bring national and international attention to the issue of bullying. Working in schools and with schools, means we are able to provide a focused and practical approach to the issue of bullying.

How has your area of expertise helped you to contribute to NCAB over the years?

I was instrumental in helping to establish NCAB and through my networks, have helped provide another 'voice' for bullying in the community. NCAB members were selected to bring latest research to the issue of bullying and ways to manage and reduce the incidences of bullying. I helped to shape the concept of NCAB holding national, biennial conferences and am a member of the Executive and Advisory Committee, to support NCAB's work with schools. I have been involved in research projects working with leading NCAB members and managed these projects on behalf of the Foundation. My goals are to widen our networks to build positive relationships that will benefit NCAB and the Foundation.