The legal and regulatory expectations placed upon schools - and the education system generally - are greater than ever before.
As School Governance looks back over its most popular articles for the year, we reflect on what has been a very unique school year. With a global pandemic carried through most of the year, on top of regular obligations, schools have had to be both proactive and reactive in these last few months. Not surprisingly, many of our most-read articles this year were related to COVID-19 and the impact on teaching, learning, privacy and more. To see a list of the COVID-related articles for schools, click here.
Beyond COVID-19, one topic remained consistently popular for Australian schools - risk!
Here are the ‘Top Ten’ School Governance articles for 2020, with accompanying resources for further learning where relevant. Click on the article title to read the full article.
# 10Are Your Risk Controls Actually Working? Getting the Information You Need, So You Can Sleep At Night
Many schools have risk registers and provide reports on these registers to the school governing body or executive team. Sometimes, often due to schools focusing only on some components of their risk management system, these risk register miss crucial information that would assist schools to manage their risks much more effectively.
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: This topic was covered in-depth in a recent webinar from the School Risk Webinar Series from CompliSpace called “Reporting – Verifying that Your School Risk Controls are Working so you can Sleep at Night” (webinar 4). To access all webinars in this 5-part series, request access to the School Risk Webinar Series here.
# 9The Top Five Future Trends in Education - Can They be Considered Strategic Risks?
According to Mccrindle, in their recent blog and in their Education Future Report and Infographic (Report), the top five trends in education in 2020 are:
- rising parent engagement
- the wellbeing focus
- preparing students for an unknown future
- complexity in education
- attracting and retaining the emerging generation of teachers.
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: To read about the Top Strategic and Operational Risks for Schools, and request a checklist click here and download the paper.
# 8Panel Discussion Webinar: Preparing for 2021: Managing Incursion / Excursion Risk in Australian Schools
With all schools now back in the classroom, restrictions easing and borders reopening throughout Australia, schools around the country are getting back to excursions this term, and planning swimming carnivals, camps and excursions for 2021. And with a heightened risk lens due to COVID-19, school leaders and teachers have more considerations than ever before when planning.
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: CompliSpace and Operoo recently hosted educators to discuss how they are approaching safe planning of excursions and camps for 2021. This discussion was followed by a demonstration of a paperless excursion planning and risk assessment solution. Watch the recorded webinar, click here.
# 7Schools and Overseas Students: Government Announces Fee Exemptions for CRICOS Registration – Current and New Applications
Pre 2020, the overseas students education sector in Australia experienced substantial growth resulting in it becoming Australia’s third largest export industry. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected this industry substantially and the Commonwealth Government has recently released its Higher Education Relief Package.
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: CompliSpace has numerous resources about CRICOS registration and Overseas Students including video conversations between an experienced educator and risk expert discussing practical challenges of managing overseas students, a webinar recording about CRICOS registration requirements and a briefing paper called "Providing Education to Overseas Students". To access these resources, and learn more about how CompliSpace helps schools with overseas students, visit the CompliSpace Overseas Students Resource Page here.
# 6“Putting children first” for Child Protection Week (Part 1): Implementation of the National Principles by States and Territories
The National Principles are designed to embed a culture of child safety in all child-related organisations. Indeed, the first and foremost of the National Principles, National Principle 1, requires that child safety and wellbeing be embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture. All of the other National Principles hang off this first one: if National Principle 1 is not in place in a school, compliance with the rest will not be possible.
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: This article was the first in a 3-part series about the National Principles. The National Principles are covered in-depth in the free Child Safe Organisations Podcast. Learn how to listen to the free podcast here. Also, a webinar on Child Protection Risk was presented within the School Risk Webinar Series called “Child Protection Risk in 2021: Managing Risk Under the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations". To access all webinars in this 5-part series, request access to the School Risk Webinar Series here.
# 5Filming and Livestreaming School Events During COVID-19 - Managing Privacy and Safety
Livestreaming of graduation and award ceremonies with relevant students and teachers in attendance but family and friends watching on their devices, while not the kindest option, is probably the safest approach in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmissions.
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: This topic of Privacy was covered in-depth in a recent webinar from the School Risk Webinar Series called “The Forgotten School Risks (that could come back to bite you)” (webinar 2). To access all webinars in this 5-part series, request access to the School Risk Webinar Series here.
# 4Complaints in the COVID-19 Digital Teaching Environment: How Will Your School Handle Them?
Given that most schools are currently planning to, or have entered into, a new phase of education delivery through online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has your school contemplated how to deal with complaints that will be passed on solely by telephone or via a digital medium?
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: This topic of Complaints was covered in-depth in a recent webinar from the School Risk Webinar Series called “The Forgotten School Risks (that can come back to bite you” (webinar 2). To access all webinars in this 5-part series, request access to the School Risk Webinar Series here.
# 3Child Safety Begins at the Top - Governing Body Responsibilities
Principle 1 of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations requires that – to be child safe – all child-related organisations, including schools, must embed child safety and wellbeing in their leadership, governance and culture. In Victoria, how a “school governing authority” does this is clearly spelled out in Ministerial Order 870. But, as the National Principles become mandatory for schools across all states and territories, school governing bodies around Australia will have a significant role to play, and significant responsibilities, if they are to lead from the top in ensuring that their school is effectively implementing the National Principles.
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: The National Principles are covered in-depth in the free Child Safe Organisations Podcast. Learn how to listen to the free podcast here. Also, a webinar on Child Protection Risk was presented within the School Risk Webinar Series called “Child Protection Risk in 2021: Managing Risk Under the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations". To access all webinars in this 5-part series, request access to the School Risk Webinar Series here
# 2Staff and Student/Parent Friendship on Social Media-Some Guidance and Suggestions for Schools
As the use of social media increasingly becomes arguably the main way that most people (including schools and their communities) use to connect, communicate and disseminate information in our society, schools and their staff face a number of ethical issues. This article provides some guidance and suggestions for schools as to how to seek to navigate this constantly evolving area including in relation to ‘friend requests’ on social media between staff, volunteers, students, former students and parents.
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: CompliSpace published a white paper designed to assist school leaders with understanding and managing their social media risks. Request your copy of the white paper "Managing Social Media Risk in Schools" here.
# 1Vaccination of Staff against COVID-19- Can this be Mandated in a School?
There has been a great deal of ‘media chatter’ regarding the development of vaccines against COVID-19. The world is ‘holding its breath’ in anticipation of the impending release of these much-needed vaccines. However, will schools be able to insist that their staff are vaccinated when a viable vaccine becomes available?
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: Subscribe to School Governance to ensure you keep up with the latest governance, risk and compliance news for non-government schools. The weekly publication includes a feature article and Weekly Wrap (an aggregation of key news stories from the past week). Subscribe here.