Mobile Devices in Schools: Is Banning Connected Devices the Key?

The New South Wales Education Department will look to a French schoolyard ban on connected devices as it considers age restrictions­ on smart phones, iPads and even digital watches in the classroom, as part of a landmark review. But, despite incidences of distraction in the classroom, social isolation and cyber bullying, experts have said that mobile phones can also play a part in supporting the digital literacy of students in schools, not to mention their health and welfare outside the classroom.

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Whistleblower Protections: Complementary to a Child Safe Culture

Whistleblower protections in a school can be the first of many steps that are complementary to creating a child safe culture. While mandatory reporting of child abuse is mandated by law in all Australian jurisdictions, schools with a formal whistleblower policy or program can also create the cultural change required to keep children safe, with an environment that encourages and welcomes staff to make disclosures about any kind of inappropriate behaviour.

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Catholic Church Responds to Royal Commission: National Standards and Addressing Celibacy, Conviction and Confession

Almost nine months after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) handed down its findings, the Catholic Church has delivered its formal reply. Of particular interest is the response of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) to the Royal Commission recommendations addressing celibacy, convictions for child sexual abuse and the sacrament of confession.

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School Violence: The Delicate Balance Between Staff Safety and Student Duty of Care (Part Two)

Staff and student wellbeing is a shared responsibility across the school community. Violence perpetrated by parents and by students only serves to undermine the school’s duties to staff (for a safe and healthy workplace) and to students (for a safe and supportive environment where they can thrive).

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Photographing and Filming Students: Is Your School Getting it Right?

Photographing or filming students at school or at weekend sport has become a highly sensitive issue. With the rise in online abuse such as sexting and cyber bullying, schools have been required to rethink and reinforce protections for their students online, including the consent of students and their parents when taking photographs or producing videos at school events. But has your school maintained the right balance between privacy and common sense when photographing and filming students?

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Student Welfare for Boarders – Far From Home and Culture

Boarding schools (and schools in general) are under pressure to focus more on the pastoral care of their boarders, as part of the boarding community. Part of this focus is to take account of the unique challenges involved with rural students and indigenous students, both far from their homes and cultures.

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School Violence: The Delicate Balance Between Staff Safety and Student Duty of Care (Part One)

This is the first part of a two part series exploring violence in schools. Part One focuses on violence against principals and teachers, and the results of the Principal Wellbeing Survey 2017. Part Two will focus on violence perpetrated by parents and students and how discipline and behaviour management policies impact a school’s reaction.

After the recent stabbing of a student at an Adelaide school and a wild brawl resulting in a broken jaw outside a school in Western Australia, schools would be forgiven for thinking that the current rise in violence is out of control. Most schools, however, are safe environments and shape young people’s positive development. But there is a fine line to walk between principal, staff and school community safety and balancing the duty of care to students.

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Gender-Neutral School Uniforms: Queensland and New South Wales Join the Push for Pants

First Western Australia, then Victoria, then Queensland, now New South Wales. In the space of less than a year, four states have decided that girls at public schools should have the option to wear shorts and pants as part of the school uniform. The motivation behind these changes varies with Queensland pushing for pants as they are less restrictive during active play and classroom activities, while New South Wales is pushing for pants as part of a major overhaul of government school uniform policy. But the Girls’ Uniform Agenda group, which has been campaigning for school uniform changes for the past year, states that it is simply a matter of sex discrimination.

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Students Sending Nudes: One School’s Response to Cyber Wellbeing

Loreto College, in Ballarat, is the first school in Australia to put their students through a new program about the dangers of image-based bullying. The school developed the program in conjunction with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation in response to statistics indicating a “staggering increase” in sexting complaints involving teenage girls.

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