Child Protection Legislation
New laws pertaining to Child Protection are now in effect in all N.S.W. schools as a result of recommendations from the Wood Royal Commission. Our school, like all schools, must comply with this new legislation, which helps make St Edward’s Primary School a safer place for our children. The Child Protection (Prohibited Employment) Act 2013 requires any employee in a child-related organisation to gain a Working With Children Check Number before they are allowed to work with children. Parents and volunteers, who help in any school related activities, must complete the Working With Children Declaration for Volunteers Form. Even if parents are only able to assist once per year (e.g. School excursions), a declaration must be signed.
Use of Children’s Photos
From time to time St Edward’s School will place photos of your child/children who are enrolled at the school in newspaper, newsletter, Facebook, Diocesan Website and local paper distributions to mark their successes in various aspects of school life. If you have any objection to this practice, please contact the Principal to discuss the matter, otherwise the school will presume it has your permission to publish the photos and names of your child/children.
Child Protection Information
We take our responsibility to protect children seriously. All staff are expected to promote child safety by having a clear understanding of their legal child protection responsibilities and act in accordance with those responsibilities. In particular, the school will:-
- Maintain professionalism in our interactions with children at all times by exercising appropriate duty of care and maintaining appropriate professional boundaries.
- Follow an established process to address allegations of inappropriate behaviour by staff towards children.
- Ensure all people working in our school who are required to undertake a Working With Children Check have a valid clearance.
- Respond appropriately when we suspect a child is at risk of significant harm due to possible abuse or neglect by a parent/carer or other adult.
Parents/Helpers & Volunteers
The participation, involvement and help of parents, close relatives and other volunteers are welcome and appreciated for various activities both in school and on excursions.
It is important that all volunteers are aware that they are subject to child protection legislation. This means all volunteers must:-
- sign on at the front office, be inducted and get a visitor’s badge from the office as per school procedure.
- check with the school what the current requirements are for the Working with Children Check (WWCC). Parents are usually exempt from needing a WWCC, however any parents attending overnight excursions are required to hold a valid Working With Children Check.
- not engage in any inappropriate behaviour towards any children. Although volunteers are technically not employed by the school, they are considered to be ‘staff’ for legal purposes and need to be aware that complaints about inappropriate behaviour towards any child or young person must be investigated (see Child Protection).
All staff/volunteers/parents are expected to act professionally and in accordance with the school’s expectations regarding staff conduct toward children. Members of staff receive guidance and professional development in relation to appropriate interactions with students, how to exercise duty of care and how to maintain professional boundaries.
We understand that staff have a duty of care to:-
- ensure no child is exposed to foreseeable risk of harm
- take action to minimise risk
- supervise actively and be aware of neighbouring roads
- if we see others acting inappropriately with children, report concerns to the Principal or seek further advice
School staff also understand that they are in a position of trust, authority and influence in relation to children and that it is important that we do not take advantage of that position to mistreat or misguide students either intentionally or inadvertently. Staff demonstrate appropriate relationships with students that cannot be misinterpreted as overly personal or intimate. Staff follow the school’s policies and procedures relating to child welfare and wellbeing including serious incidents and reporting risk of significant harm and serious wellbeing concerns. Staff will:-
- remain within the responsibilities of their roles and allow those appropriately trained to deal with student welfare concerns
- minimise physical contact with children unless it is necessary to exercise appropriate duty of care
Further information on the Working With Children Check can be found on the website for the Office of the Children’s Guardian at this website:
If you would like further information regarding any of the above please speak to your Principal first or feel free to contact the CEDB Child Protection Officer on: Phone: 6338 3000
Responding to Risk of Harm
All school staff are mandatory reporters. This means that if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is at risk of ‘significant harm’ from abuse or neglect, then a report must be made to the Community Services Child Protection Helpline (CP Helpline).
School staff are expected to inform the Principal if they are concerned that a child may be at risk. It is the role of the Principal (or delegate) to make the report to the CP Helpline.
In making a report the Principal will consider all of the information and seek appropriate advice from the CEDB Education Officer: Wellbeing and Safeguarding. Any information about a child at risk is kept confidentially by the Principal.
In situations where a child is considered to be at risk the school will work with the child and family to assist them as much as possible.
If you have concerns about a child who you consider may be at risk, please discuss your concerns with the Principal as soon as possible and maintain confidentiality.