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The Preston South Primary School Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy demonstrates our school’s commitment to creating and maintaining a child safe and child-friendly organisation, where children and young people are safe and feel safe.
This policy provides an overview of our school’s approach to implementing Ministerial Order 1359 (PDF, 363KB) which sets out how the Victorian Child Safe Standards apply in school environments.
It informs our school community of everyone’s obligations to act safely and appropriately towards children and guides our processes and practices for the safety and wellbeing of students across all areas of our work.
The following terms in this policy have specific definitions:
· child safety
· child abuse
· child-connected work
· child-related work
· school environment
· school boarding environment
· school staff
· school boarding premises staff
· school governing authority
· school boarding premises governing authority
Preston South Primary School is a child safe organisation which welcomes all children, young people and their families.
We are committed to providing environments where our students are safe and feel safe, where their participation is valued, their views respected, and their voices are heard about decisions that affect their lives. Our child safe policies, strategies and practices are inclusive of the needs of all children and students.
We have no tolerance for child abuse and take proactive steps to identify and manage any risks of harm to students in our school environments.
We promote positive relationships between students and adults and between students and their peers. These relationships are based on trust and respect.
We take proactive steps to identify and manage any risk of harm to students in our school environment. When child safety concerns are raised or identified, we treat these seriously and respond promptly and thoroughly.
Particular attention is given to the child safety needs of Aboriginal students, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, international students, students with disabilities, those unable to live at home, children and young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) and other students experiencing risk or vulnerability. Inappropriate or harmful behaviour targeting students based on these or other characteristics, such as racism or homophobia, are not tolerated at our school, and any instances identified will be addressed with appropriate consequences.
Child safety is a shared responsibility. Every person involved in our school has an important role in promoting child safety and wellbeing and promptly raising any issues or concerns about a child’s safety.
We are committed to regularly reviewing our child safe practices, and seeking input from our students, families, staff, and volunteers to inform our ongoing strategies.
School leadership team
Our school leadership team are responsible for ensuring that a strong child safe culture is created and maintained, and that policies and practices are effectively developed and implemented in accordance with Ministerial Order 1359.
Principals and assistant principals will:
School staff and volunteers
All staff and volunteers will:
In performing the functions and powers given to them under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, school council members will:
Preston South Primary School has nominated a Child Safety Leader to support the principal to implement our child safety policies and practices, including staff and volunteer training. The responsibilities of the child safety leader are outlined at Guidance for child safety champions. In addition to these roles.
Our principal and child safety leader are the first point of contact for child safety concerns or queries and for coordinating responses to child safety incidents.
Our Principal and Child Safety Leader are responsible for monitoring the school’s compliance with the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy. Anyone in our school community should approach the Principal or Child Safety Leader if they have any concerns about the school’s compliance with the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy.
Our Principal and Child Safety Leader are responsible for informing the school community about this policy, and making it publicly available
Other specific roles and responsibilities are named in other child safety policies and procedures, including the Child Safety Code of Conduct, Child Safety Responding and Reporting Obligations (including Mandatory Reporting) Policy and Procedures, and Child Safety Risk Register.
Our school has also established a Child Safety and Wellbeing Team and a Student Reference Group on child safety. The Child Safety and Wellbeing Team meet regularly to identify and respond to any ongoing matters related to child safety and wellbeing. The Student Reference Group provides an opportunity for students to provide input into school strategies.
Our Risk Management Committee monitors the Child Safety Risk Register.
Our Child Safety Code of Conduct sets the boundaries and expectations for appropriate behaviours between adults and students. It also clarifies behaviours that are not acceptable in our physical and online environments.
We ensure that students also know what is acceptable and what is not acceptable so that they can be clear and confident about what to expect from adults in the school.
The Child Safety Code of Conduct also includes processes to report inappropriate behaviour.
At our school we identify, assess and manage risks to child safety and wellbeing in our physical and online school environments. These risks are managed through our child safety and wellbeing policies, procedures and practices, and in our activity specific risk registers, such as those we develop for off-site overnight camps, adventure activities and facilities and services we contract through third party providers for student use.
Our Child Safety Risk Register is used to record any identified risks related to child abuse alongside actions in place to manage those risks. Our school leadership team will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the actions in the Child Safety Risk Register at least annually.
At Preston South Primary School, we are committed to establishing an inclusive and culturally safe school where the strengths of Aboriginal culture, values and practices are respected.
We think about how every student can have a positive experience in a safe environment. For Aboriginal students, we recognise the link between Aboriginal culture, identity and safety and actively create opportunities for Aboriginal students and the Aboriginal community to have a voice and presence in our school planning, policies, and activities.
To support child safety and wellbeing at Preston South Primary School, we work to create an inclusive and supportive environment that encourages students and families to contribute to our child safety approach and understand their rights and their responsibilities.
Respectful relationships between students are reinforced and we encourage strong friendships and peer support in the school to ensure a sense of belonging through implementing our whole school approach to Respectful Relationships, our student Code of Conduct/ Expectations Matrix and our school values.
We inform students of their rights through whole school approach to Respectful Relationships and give them the skills and confidence to recognise unsafe situations with adults or other students and to speak up and act on concerns relating to themselves or their peers. We ensure our students know who to talk to if they are worried or feeling unsafe and we encourage them to share concerns with a trusted adult at any time. Students and families can also access information on how to report concerns on the school webpage or at the school office.
When the school is gathering information in relation to a complaint about alleged misconduct or abuse of a child, we will listen to the complainant’s account and take them seriously, check our understanding of the complaint, support the student and keep them (and their parents and carers, as appropriate) informed about progress.
Our families and the school community have an important role in monitoring and promoting children’s safety and wellbeing and helping children to raise any concerns.
To support family engagement, at Preston South Primary School we are committed to providing families and community with accessible information about our school’s child safe policies and practices and involving them in our approach to child safety and wellbeing.
We will create opportunities for families to have input into the development and review of our child safety policies and practices and encourage them to raise any concerns and ideas for improvement.
We do this by:
As a child safe organisation, we celebrate the rich diversity of our students, families and community and promote respectful environments that are free from discrimination. Our focus is on wellbeing and growth for all.
We recognise that every child has unique skills, strengths and experiences to draw on.
We pay particular attention to individuals and groups of children and young people in our community with additional and specific needs. This includes tailoring our child safety strategies and supports to the needs of:
Our Student Wellbeing and Engagement Policy provides more information about the measures we have in place to support diversity and equity.
At Preston South Primary School, we apply robust child safe recruitment, induction, training, and supervision practices to ensure that all staff, contractors, and volunteers are suitable to work with children.
When recruiting staff, we follow the Department of Education and Training’s recruitment policies and guidelines, available on the Policy and Advisory Library (PAL) at:
· Suitability for Employment Checks
When engaging staff to perform child-related work, we:
Staff also collect and record:
All newly appointed staff will be expected to participate in our child safety and wellbeing induction program. The program will include a focus on:
All staff engaged in child-connected work will be supervised appropriately to ensure that their behaviour towards children is safe and appropriate.
Staff will be monitored and assessed to ensure their continuing suitability for child-connected work. This will be done by regular performance reviews.
Inappropriate behaviour towards children and young people will be managed swiftly and in accordance with our school and department policies and our legal obligations. Child safety and wellbeing will be paramount.
All volunteers are required to comply with our Volunteers Policy which describes how we assess the suitability of prospective volunteers and outlines expectations in relation to child safety and wellbeing induction and training, and supervision and management.
Ongoing training and education are essential to ensuring that staff understand their roles and responsibilities and develop their capacity to effectively address child safety and wellbeing matters.
In addition to the child safety and wellbeing induction, our staff will participate in a range of training and professional learning to equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary to maintain a child safe environment.
Staff child safety and wellbeing training will be delivered at least annually and will include guidance on:
Other professional learning and training on child safety and wellbeing, for example, training for our volunteers, will be tailored to specific roles and responsibilities and any identified or emerging needs or issues.
School council training and education to ensure our school council is equipped with the knowledge required to make decisions in the best interests of student safety and wellbeing, and to identify and mitigate child safety and wellbeing risks in our school environment, the council is trained at least annually. Training includes guidance on:
Preston South Primary School fosters a culture that encourages staff, volunteers, students, parents, and the school community to raise concerns and complaints. This makes it more difficult for breaches of the code of conduct, misconduct or abuse to occur and remain hidden.
We have clear pathways for raising complaints and concerns and responding and this is documented in our school’s Complaint Policy.
If there is an incident, disclosure, allegation or suspicion of child abuse, all staff and volunteers (including school council employees) must follow our Child Safety Responding and Reporting Obligations Policy and Procedures. Our policy and procedures address complaints and concerns of child abuse made by or in relation to a child or student, school staff, volunteers, contractors, service providers, visitors or any other person while connected to the school.
As soon as any immediate health and safety concerns are addressed, and relevant school staff have been informed, we will ensure our school follows:
Our Student Wellbeing and Engagement Policy and Bullying Prevention Policy cover complaints and concerns relating to student physical violence or other harmful behaviours.
Preston South Primary School is committed to communicating our child safety strategies to the school community through:
We acknowledge that good records management practices are a critical element of child safety and wellbeing and manage our records in accordance with the Department of Education and Training’s policy: Records Management – School Records
At Preston South Primary School, we have established processes for the review and ongoing improvement of our child safe policies, procedures, and practices.
This Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy is to be read in conjunction with other related school policies, procedures, and codes. These include our:
· Bullying Prevention and Response Policy
· Child and Family Violence Information Sharing Schemes
· Contractor OHS Management Policy
· Digital Learning in Schools Policy
· Protecting Children: Reporting Obligations Policy
· Policy and Guidelines for Recruitment in Schools
· Student Wellbeing and Engagement Policy
· Supervision of Students Policy
· Volunteers in Schools Policy
· Working with Children and other Suitability Checks for School Volunteers and Visitors
· Identifying and Responding to All Forms of Abuse in Victorian Schools
· Four Critical Actions for Schools
· Identifying and Responding to Student Sexual Offending
· Four Critical Actions for Schools: Responding to Student Sexual Offending
· Recording your actions: Responding to suspected child abuse – A template for Victorian schools
The School Principal is responsible for reviewing and updating the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy at least every two years. The review will include input from students, parents/carers and the school community.
Created date: 03/08/2022
Consultation with: School Council
Endorsed by: School Council and Principal
Endorsed on: 29/08/2022
Next review date: August 2024
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