Teacher receives six-figure payout for being bullied at school

It’s not only students in the school yard being caught bullying at school. Bullying also affects school staff.  In recent news, a NSW primary school teacher has received a six-figure settlement after claiming she attempted suicide as a result of being bullied by her principal and isolated by her colleagues for more than a year.  Although the facts of the case are not publicly available, the details reported by the media serve as an important reminder for schools to have clearly documented bullying policies.

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Uniforms and disability only the start of a school’s anti-discrimination policy

A new NSW Parliamentary report on students with a disability in NSW schools and two recent reminders in the news about uniform policies and disability have brought the issue of harassment and disability discrimination in schools into sharp focus. Despite there being a complicated mixture of state, territory and federal laws relevant to these topics, it is essential for schools to understand their obligations and have appropriate methods in place for dealing with occurrences of harassment or discrimination with clear and relevant policies.

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South Australia’s revolutionary approach to child abuse and forced marriage

As reported in the news, a Melbourne man is set to be the first person convicted under Federal forced marriage laws despite the practice being criminalised in 2013. Because the laws make it extremely difficult to get a conviction (as they generally rely on victims testifying), South Australia has taken an unprecedented step of introducing a child marriage offence as part of its new raft of child protection changes.

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First NFP national risk assessment finds fraud and theft of resources in schools

On 28 August 2017 the Federal Government released the first national risk assessment for the not-for-profit (NFP) sector. AUSTRAC’s Australia’s non-profit organisation sector: money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessment (the Report) focused on fraud and theft especially in NFP organisations involved in providing services like education. The Report is a reminder that schools and NFP organisations generally require the same fraud and corruption prevention and accountability controls as other businesses. And given that the viability of a school can depend on its reputation in the community or its relationships with funding providers, there is a case to be made that fraud and corruption prevention programs are even more important in schools than in other organisations.

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New ESOS Code has been released

Previously in School Governance, we have reported and extensively monitored the status of the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students (ESOS National Code).  Over the last seven months, the National Code has been in a constant state of flux during consultation processes, the repeal of the National Code 2007 and the introduction of the interim National Code 2017.

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New Queensland non-state school accreditation legislation receives assent

The non-state schooling sector in Queensland educates approximately one-third of Queensland’s school students (approximately 266,000 students) through 504 schools. Non-state schools must be accredited to operate under the Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2001 (Qld) (the 2001 Act).  In May, School Governance reported on the Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Bill 2017 (Qld) (the Bill) and the changes it proposed to make to the 2001 Act. In August, the Queensland Parliament assented to the Bill making the proposed changes law by repealing the 2001 Act and replacing it with the Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2017 (Qld) (the 2017 Act).  Although the 2017 Act is still yet to commence schools should be conscious of its affects on registration.

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Health and Safety Month and OHS updates in Victoria

On 5 October 2017, Health and Safety Month commences across Australia.  As a part of Health and Safety Month, WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork Australia will be hosting events on WHS/OHS topics. Schools and other workplaces are also encouraged to host their own events to inform their workplace about WHS/OHS requirements and improvements.  In the lead-up to this national event, schools should review their workplace safety policies and procedures.

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