School discovers inappropriate material on former teacher’s computer: What’s on a hard drive?

Two Victorian non-government schools have been praised for their responses to the recent discovery of inappropriate material involving children on a teacher’s hard drive. The teacher in question has been charged and proceedings are due to commence in August.  The potential criminal actions by the teacher are fairly clear on the facts but his liability is ultimately a matter for a court.

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Queensland introduces Bill to replace school accreditation legislation

The Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Bill 2017 was introduced in the Queensland Parliament on 9 May 2017 as the result of a review by the Department of Education and Training of non-state education regulatory arrangements. The review commenced in 2014 with a view to modernising and streamlining non-state school accreditation in Queensland.

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Report shows 46 NSW teachers dismissed due to misconduct offences

In 2016, 46 NSW teachers faced allegations of misconduct.  Last week, the NSW Department of Education (DET) published the Teacher Conduct and Performance report (the Report).  The Report details the number of government school teachers who have undertaken improvement plans, undergone disciplinary action or have been convicted due to misconduct allegations or criminal offences.   Although the Report was only published recently, it was compiled in December 2016. It is updated annually.

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May 25: School Governance Weekly Wrap

AUSTRALIA Education Department accused of ‘whitewashing’ sexual abuse after editing parents’ submissions According to the Bendigo Advertiser, parents have accused the Victorian Education Department of “whitewashing” after they found out the Department deleted crucial information from parents’ submissions.  In one case, the Department changed a parent’s submission so it read that their child was bullied […]

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New Mandatory Notification of Data Breaches – What does the scheme mean for schools?

On 22 February 2018, changes to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Act) will take effect and a new Notifiable Data Breach (NDB) Scheme will be in force. This reform will affect the Privacy Programs of almost all non-government schools, and it is one of the most important reforms since the introduction of the 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) in 2014.

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‘Care when you share’- parents who post photographs on social media

During Privacy Awareness Week 2017, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is encouraging individuals to care about their privacy and to better inform themselves of what will or what might happen to their personal information before they share it online. There is also a concerted drive to educate adults, particularly parents and guardians, regarding how to safely share photographs of their children online or on social media accounts.

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Can your school be trustworthy while also being transparent?

The theme of this year’s Privacy Awareness Week is ‘Trust and Transparency.’ Timothy Pilgrim, Commissioner of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) stated that trust and transparency “speaks to the consumer and community trust that flows to organisations who handle personal information transparently, and with care, throughout the information life cycle. Privacy is rarely about secrecy, but is about transparency, security, and choice. It’s about organisations being up-front about their personal information handling practices so that individuals can make informed choices about how they share their information.”

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May 18: School Governance Weekly Wrap

AUSTRALIA Victoria Police to decide whether serious charges can be laid against Cardinal Pell According to The Daily Telegraph, the DPP have advised Victoria Police that charges can be laid against Cardinal Pell relating to historic child sex allegations.  The Sano Taskforce has been investigating allegations that Cardinal Pell committed “multiple ­offences” when he was […]

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New Principles for Child Safe Organisations in NSW and a Review of the WWC Act

In April 2017, the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) released a draft set of guidelines and principles for creating child safe organisations. The Principles for Child Safe Organisations are informed by the research and findings of the Royal Commission in to Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) regarding the 10 key elements of a child safe organisation. The Principles are not mandatory. There is currently an open invitation from the OCG for public comment on the Principles.  The release of the Principles coincides with the OCG’s statutory review of the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (WWC Act) and that review addresses the Principles and queries whether or not they should be mandatory.

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Whistleblowing Protection: Report shows schools need to improve

The release of a significant report Strength of Organisational Whistleblowing Process – Analysis From Australia (the Report) based on research by Griffith University’s Professor A J Brown is a reminder to schools of the importance of having a whistleblower policy and how it can enhance a school’s culture once implemented.  Nathan Luker, General Manager of  Your Call Whistleblowing Solutions, provides crucial insight for schools regarding what they can learn from the Report.

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