Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety
Federation member school councils are committed to taking a preventive and proactive approach to maintaining a safe environment for all students. We are continually reviewing our activities, responsibilities, policies and procedures to ensure child safety underpins all that we do.
The Federation has developed a Child Safe Strategy which outlines:
- What action has been taken by member school to comply with the Child Safe Standards
- Recommended actions for 2019
A Child safety policy or statement of commitment to child safety
Wodonga Federation of Government Schools (The Federation) is committed to the child safety standards and promoting and protecting the interests and safety of children. We have developed a Child Safe Policy. The purpose of this policy is:
- To facilitate the prevention of child abuse occurring within The Federation.
- To work towards a school culture of child safety.
- To prevent child abuse within The Federation.
- To ensure that all parties are aware of their responsibilities for identifying possible occasions for child abuse and for establishing controls and procedures for preventing such abuse and/or detecting such abuse when it occurs.
- To provide guidance to staff/volunteers/contractors as to action that should be taken where they suspect any abuse within or outside of the school community.
- To provide a clear statement to staff/volunteers/contractors forbidding any such abuse.
- To provide assurance that any and all suspected abuse will be reported and fully investigated.
Wodonga Federation of Government Schools Child Safe Policy
Member schools recognise the importance of, and a responsibility for, ensuring our school is a safe, supportive and enriching environment which respects and fosters the dignity and self-esteem of children and young people, and enables them to thrive in their learning and development.
Member schools have worked collectively to write a Code of Conduct that aims to protect children and reduce any opportunities for child abuse or harm to occur. All school staff sign the Code of Conduct annually.
Member schools have implemented Passtab (online visitor management software) to ensure visitors, contractors, volunteers sign the Code of Conduct upon entry to the school.
Staff selection, supervision and management practices for a child safe environment
Member schools within the Wodonga Federation of Government Schools ensure that the employment of any staff, external contractors and providers and the involvement of volunteers in school activities is consistent with The Ministerial Order 870.
Each member school can provide an outline of these policies, procedures and practices.
Procedures for responding to and reporting allegations of suspected child abuse
The Federation and its member schools are committed to the protection of all children and young people from all forms of child abuse. We have a zero tolerance of child abuse. The Federation has clear policies and procedures for responding to allegations of suspected child abuse. School staff participate in Mandatory Report training annually.
All government and non-government schools are covered by the Victorian Reportable Conduct Scheme. This scheme is administered by the Commission for Children and Young People. It seeks to improve organisations’ responses to allegations of child abuse and neglect by their workers and volunteers. The scheme is established by the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act (2005).
All Principal’s within the Federation are aware of their new obligations within the scheme.
Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse
Member schools within the Wodonga Federation of Government Schools (The Federation) will develop, implement, monitor and evaluate risk management strategies to ensure child safety in their school environment.
A child safety risk management strategy is a formal and structured approach to managing risk associated with child safety. The strategy outlines how risk is managed, including who is responsible for the process (member school councils), and a description of the process itself. The process includes risk assessment, implementation of controls, and monitoring and review process to ensure the currency of risk management approach.
Member schools will:
- Identify child safety risks using The Federations child safety risk assessment (e.g. what are the areas of concern, what could go wrong). These will take into account all aspects of the school environment.
- Identify any existing risk mitigation measures or internal controls (e.g. what strategies, practices, or procedures are in place to control the risk, have they been fully implemented, is everyone aware of them, how effective are they).
- Assess the rate the school’s child safety risks given the existing controls in place, taking into account the likelihood of risk, and the likely consequence of the risk (e.g. what are the consequences, what is the likelihood of those consequences)
- If the risk rating is more than the ‘acceptable level’, identify further risk management strategies through additional controls or other prevention, detection or mitigation strategies and then re-assess the risk (e.g. what is the ‘acceptable level’ of risk, – for child safety there should be little or no tolerance of risk, what strategies, practices, or procedures could be in place to control or manage the risk).
- The risk management process will be documented, recorded, monitored and reviewed periodically.
- Appropriate guidance and training will be provided to the individual members of school councils and school staff on an annual basis about:
- Individual and collective obligations and responsibilities for managing the risk of child abuse
- Child abuse risks in the school environment
- The Federation’s current child safety standards
- Risk Management strategies will be endorsed by each member school council.
Strategies to promote child empowerment and participation
Student Engagement Policy
Each member school has a Student Engagement Policy. The policy outlines the member school’s student engagement strategies and behavioural expectation. Contact our member schools for a copy of their Student Engagement Policy.
All member schools have actively participated in the Department of Education and Training program Respectful Relationships – A Whole School Approach. This program supports schools to promote and model respect, positive attitudes and behaviours. It teaches child and young people how to build healthy relationships, resilience and confidence. To read more about the Federation’s approach to Respectful Relationships click here.
Wodonga Federation of Government Schools has a strong commitment to student voice and student leadership. The Federation and its member schools believe that student voice / student leadership can have a positive impact on optimising student outcomes as well as improving schooling and society.
When students believe teachers are listening to them mutual trust and respect are likely to flourish (Quaglia, R & Corso, J 2014). Student voice fosters improved self-worth, engagement, self-efficacy and purpose in school (Quaglia, R & Corso, J 2014).
When students have a voice in their school and are heard they are more likely to see the school as serving their needs, have a sense of school pride and connection. Engaging students in student voice at school also enhances the development of skills that established a foundation for children and young people to express their views and participate in wider active citizenship in their community.
Please contact our member schools to find out more about their student leadership program. As a Federation Teach the Teacher has become an integral part of our core work. Click here for more information on student leadership within the Federation.
Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business
Annually the Federation and its member schools participate annually in National Child Protection week and Children’s Week. The Federation has a stall at the City of Wodonga’s Children’s Fair which is held during Children’s Week to celebrate families and children.