Bullying, School Liability and the Relationship with Student Wellbeing and Learning

Bullying is no longer confined to the school premises before the final bell of the day rings. Since the internet is everywhere, we have entered a new frontier where bullying has the potential to happen anywhere at any time in the form of cyberbullying. A new report released by the Federal Government in November 2018 has found that bullying severely affects the learning and wellbeing of students, particularly young students in primary school.

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The Cost of Being Compliant is Minimal Compared to the Costs of Being Caught Out!

For many organisations, especially those in highly regulated industries such as financial services, education and healthcare, ensuring compliance with a growing number of government and industry regulations can be a nuisance and a drain on already strained resources. However, the costs of not complying can be extremely steep. Recent research indicates that failures to comply have become more costly than ever for schools, far exceeding the costs of compliance. In other words, it makes good business sense to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations.

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Canteens and Tuck Shops – Promoting Healthy Food in Australian Schools

Schools around Australia have an important role as a source of information surrounding student’s health according to the World Health Organisation Framework for Action for health-promoting schools. There have recently been calls in the media to improve the quality of canteen or tuck shop food and new initiatives to reduce waste and eat more fresh food. A health-promoting school is one that constantly strengthens its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working, and it seems Victoria, Queensland and South Australia are definitely on board with this practice in their initiatives for healthy food in their schools.

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Religious Freedom and Inclusion: Challenges for Schools

On 19 November 2018, the Federal Senate Inquiry into “Legislative exemptions that allow faith-based educational institutions to discriminate against students, teachers and staff” had its first public hearing. Throughout the submissions, frequent reference was made to the Federal Religious Freedoms Review, whose report, despite being given to the Prime Minister on 18 May 2018, has not yet been publicly released. Non-government schools established for religious purposes are in the crosshairs of both reviews and their policies on enrolment, recruitment and pastoral care have come under close scrutiny as a result.

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Cyber Attacks in Schools Surge as OAIC Releases Third Quarter Notifiable Data Breach Report

Recent international media reports have highlighted a significant increase in cyber attacks against schools, with six schools in New Zealand having their websites targeted in the first week of the term. However, this does not seem to be isolated to overseas incidents, with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) releasing their Third Quarter Notifiable Data Breach Report (OAIC Report) showing an increase in data breaches with 57 per cent attributed to malicious or criminal attacks, similar to the ones described in New Zealand.

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The Australian Student Wellbeing Framework: Safe, Supported, Included and Connected

On 19 October 2018, the Federal Minister for Education launched the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework (Wellbeing Framework). Following extensive consultation and review in 2017, the Wellbeing Framework focuses on contemporary issues facing Australian school communities and identifies ways to support schools to build learning environments where students feel safe, supported, included and connected. The Wellbeing Framework is also committed to improving educational outcomes for all Australian students and recognises that children do better when respectful relationships are developed and maintained between home and school.

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Child Safety Curriculums (Part Two): Schools Face Curriculum Compliance Issues Relating to Child Abuse Prevention and Respectful Relationships

While no school registration authority has yet taken the formal step of revising their registration compliance expectations in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, by providing child safety and respectful relationships education, and by documenting how this education is provided, a school will be taking significant steps to demonstrating that it is relevantly meeting the Child Safe Standards and associated registration requirements.

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