April 17: School Governance weekly news wrap
Victorian private schools under financial scrutiny
The Herald Sun reports that the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) is meeting with private school principals in the background of the collapse of other independent colleges in the state. VRQA is aiming to ensure that ‘school governing bodies are aware of their legal obligations, and know what are appropriate governance and financial health standards’, authority director Lynn Glover said. The Government is also considering increasing the powers of the VRQA.
Federal Government considering the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum
The push to implement the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum across all Australian schools is being considered by the Federal Government, according to ABC News. The parents of Daniel Morcombe, a schoolboy who was abducted from a bus stop in Queensland, developed the curriculum, which is aimed at prep to year 9 students. The proposal is under consideration by the panel reviewing the Australian curriculum.
Sex abuse complaint at a Victorian Jewish school leaked
Anti-bullying approaches under the spotlight
The Sydney Morning Herald is examining the implementation of anti-bullying policies in independent schools. It reports that schools are taking active steps in intervening whenever bullying occurs. In one example, a school is teaching students to develop a ‘pathway to resolution’ to ensure that there is a long-term solution for both perpetrators and victims of bullying. Other students are being encouraged to ‘stop, state and support’ their experiences to learn conflict resolution and negotiation skills.
Bullying of teachers on the rise in Victoria
The bullying of teachers is also coming into prominence, as the Sydney Morning Herald reports that millions of dollars in compensation is being paid to teachers and principles under WorkCover claims. In some instances, staff have had to take out intervention orders against parents, whose disputes are making their way into schools. In response, the Victorian Government is introducing reforms including contracts between schools and parents, and increased support for teachers.
Over 500 staff and students at French school to be DNA tested
Following the rape of a 16 year old girl, the Guardian reports that over 500 male staff and students at a private Catholic school in France will undergo DNA testing. The students at the school will require parental consent in order to undergo testing. Controversially, authorities have stated that any person who refuses to take part will be considered a suspect.
Calgary private school targeting ‘immoral’ staff and students
In a Canadian private school, an agreement for students and staff to refrain from a ‘lifestyle of sexual immorality’ is under fire, according to the Calgary Herald. Although clauses such as the requirement to avoid ‘premarital relations, viewing pornography and homosexual behaviour’ would possibly breach the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Human Rights Act or the School Act, students and staff are still being required to sign the agreements.
Independent school in London forced to react to teacher’s anti-Semitic remark
An article in the Huffington Post has stated that a teacher told a Jewish student that she would be sent ‘to one of your gas chambers’ in response to jumping a lunch queue. The school has stated that after seeking legal advice, it took appropriate action, but it has been criticised for a lack of transparency over its handling of the issue.