States

NSW

Significant New Child Protection Legal Reform Proposed in NSW: Schools Must Reduce or Remove the Risk of Child Abuse

The introduction of a new Bill in NSW Parliament proposing to significantly amend the Crimes Act 1900 NSW signals that the NSW Government is finally catching up to Victoria and other states in getting serious on child protection legal reform. Amongst other proposed changes are the creation of an offence of failing to reduce or remove the risk of child abuse and new grooming offences. If passed, these reforms will require organisations engaging in child related work to, at a minimum, update their child protection policies and procedures to comply with the new laws and, in further steps of good governance, provide serious motivation to adopt the NSW Principles for Child-Safe Organisations and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission),10 Child Safe Standards. The introduction of the Bill before the Federal Government’s response to the Royal Commission is also timely.

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Teacher Accreditation Shake-up: NESA Publishes Revamped TAA Guidelines

A new version of the Guidelines for the Regulation of Teacher Accreditation Authorities for Non-Government Schools and Early Childhood Education Centres is now in effect, and will require all schools and teacher accreditation authorities (TAAs) to manually check their compliance with the updated requirements.

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Queensland

Cyber Bullying in Schools Costs Teachers $85 Million in Lost Productivity

After the tragic suicide of Amy “Dolly” Everett at the start of January this year as a result of cyber bullying, the states and territories in Australia have reinforced the message from COAG that bullying on any medium has no place in Australia, and can be especially harmful to children and young people.

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Armani, Socks and Shoe Heels – Why School Uniforms Continue to Attract Debate

Every year as children prepare themselves for their year at school, the issue of school uniforms rears its ugly head. Recently, debate has shifted from altering school uniform policies to accommodate student comfort. How strictly a school applies its policy and whether or not a school should have a uniform at all, are now issues for debate.

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Western Australia

WA Registration Guidelines Update: Focus on Child Protection, Governance and Staff

On 4 April 2018, the Department of Education in Western Australia released the updated Guide to the Registration Standards and Other Requirements for Non-Government Schools (the Guide). The requirements of the Guide will have effect from 1 July 2018, meaning that all non-government schools, not just those due for renewal of registration this year, need to be compliant with the requirements of the Guide.

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Education and Care Services National Law changes commence

On 1 October 2017, changes to the Education and Care Services National Law (National Law) and Regulations (National Regulations) came into effect. The amendments were made after federal and state and territory Education Ministers agreed to changes to the National Quality Standard (NQS) at the last Council of Australian Governments (COAG). These changes are intended to strengthen […]

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Victoria

New Draft Victorian Information Sharing Regulations – Supporting the Child Information Sharing Scheme

New draft Victorian Information Sharing Regulations (the Regulations) have been released to support the establishment of the Child Information Sharing (CIS) Scheme. The new CIS Scheme responds to recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission), and supports the operation of the Children Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Act 2018 (the Act).

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New Victorian Bill to Require WWC Declarations from All Registered Teachers

A new Bill has been introduced in Victoria to better align the State’s teacher registration and working with children check schemes, resulting in new obligations for all teachers.

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South Australia

New laws on bullying: Schools under increased pressure to do more

Even if you subscribe to the controversial school of thought that bullying is an ‘inevitable’ interaction, that it is ‘part of growing up’ and ‘builds character’, it is uncontested that being bullied, particularly at a young age, can have very serious consequences for a child’s wellbeing, development and overall mental health. It is hence little […]

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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 […]

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Tasmania

2017: The year of registration change: Is it time for national reform?

With just over a week to go until the curtain falls on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission), schools around Australia will likely remember 2017 as the year of child protection debate – marked by public criticism of organisations including schools, for their handling of allegations of child abuse […]

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‘Stronger Communities, Safer Children’ – Do your students consider that your boarding community is a safe place?

This is National Child Protection Week – ‘Stronger Communities, Safer Children’.  This week, NAPCAN want to emphasise the value of connected communities in keeping children and young people safe and well. This article examines the role of boarding schools as a ‘community’ and how boarding schools are legally required to create child safe environments in those communities, […]

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Australian Capital Territory

Registration Authorities Under Scrutiny: What Do They Expect and How Does This Impact Schools?

To be registered and maintain registration, schools are required to continuously comply with certain regulatory requirements, which vary by jurisdiction, school sector and school type. School registration authorities differ in how they manage school registration and their expected evidence of compliance, but they may collectively be taking on a more active role in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

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ACT Requests Feedback on its Response to the Royal Commission

The ACT Government will soon deliver its formal response to the Final Report from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

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Northern Territory

Registration Authorities Under Scrutiny: What Do They Expect and How Does This Impact Schools?

To be registered and maintain registration, schools are required to continuously comply with certain regulatory requirements, which vary by jurisdiction, school sector and school type. School registration authorities differ in how they manage school registration and their expected evidence of compliance, but they may collectively be taking on a more active role in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

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2017: The year of registration change: Is it time for national reform?

With just over a week to go until the curtain falls on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission), schools around Australia will likely remember 2017 as the year of child protection debate – marked by public criticism of organisations including schools, for their handling of allegations of child abuse […]

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New Zealand

Teachers and alcohol abuse: lessons from NZ

A New Zealand teacher has been suspended for two years after being caught smelling of alcohol at school.  Although the incident occurred across the Tasman, the lessons from this case are definitely a helpful reminder for Australian schools and teachers. Mr C and the Teacher Disciplinary Tribunal Mr C was suspended for misconduct after a […]

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New Zealand develops new national Code and Standards for Teachers: Is Australia next?

The Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (the Council) is calling for submissions on a draft Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession, entitled ‘Our Code, Our Standards,’ which is intended to reflect what it means to “be a teacher” in New Zealand. The new Code and Standards are to be implemented and […]

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