States

NSW

NSW Proposes New WWCC Changes to Complement Existing Child Safe Principles

Reforms to the Working with Children Check system in NSW have been proposed, and further amendments are expected later this year in connection with the voluntary Principles for Child-Safe Organisations. This impetus for child protection reform in NSW will clearly have an ongoing impact on schools.

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NSW Closes Legal Loophole: Will other states follow?

The NSW Parliament has now closed a legal loophole that potentially enabled teachers to engage in a sexual relationship with a student, and avoid conviction, if they were not teaching the student at the time of the relationship. Concerningly, this loophole may still exist in other states and territories.

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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 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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VIC School Registration on the Radar: VRQA Seeking Public Opinion about Evidence Requirements

The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) is reviewing the evidence requirements all schools (both government and non-government) produce as part of their review and/or registration and asking the public, schools and education providers for feedback on how relevant the evidence is to proving their compliance with the Minimum Standards. This is a national first; an education authority asking for feedback on education registration requirements.

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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

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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ACT Enacts New Grooming Offences: What do They Mean for Schools?

The ACT has ushered in 2018 by passing substantial amendments to its child protection legislation, which have now become law. These changes come at a time when incidents of teachers abusing students is increasingly in the news. Some of the changes directly address teacher conduct that breaches the teacher/student duty of care relationship.

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Northern Territory

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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Systemic failures in child protection and youth justice: NT Royal Commission releases its final report

With less than a month to go until the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission), the Northern Territory has given us a teaser of what could be expected from the Royal Commission’s Recommendations. On 17 November, the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children […]

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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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