The legal and regulatory expectations placed on 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 another unique school year. With a global pandemic still progressing, on top of their regular obligations, schools have had to be both proactive and reactive in 2021. Not surprisingly, many of our most-read articles this year were related to COVID-19 and its impact on teaching and learning.
Beyond COVID-19, many topics remained consistently popular for Australian schools including risk and compliance and child protection.
Here are the ‘Top 10’ School Governance articles for 2021, with some accompanying resources for further learning where relevant. Click on the article title to read the full article.
Australia recently reached a COVID-19 double-dosed vaccination rate of 80 per cent. As COVID restrictions ease, it is important that schools keep track of regulatory changes to manage their excursion risks.
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: CompliSpace recent held a webinar showcasing their SafeExcursion Solutions and how to manage better excursion risk assessments in your school. To learn more and request your copy, click here - https://www.complispace.com.au/ses-state-of-play-2021
The governments of each state or territory are now at varying stages in their process of implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations and the National Principles. This article will discuss in detail these developments with particular reference to Tasmania and Western Australia.
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: The National Principles are covered in-depth in the free Child Safe Organisations Podcast. Listen to the free podcast here.
# 8This is the first article in a three-part series on the three registration ‘pain points’ felt by schools. In this article we discuss school re-registration. Why don’t schools practise continual compliance so that they can reduce the burden in the lead up to re-registration?
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: CompliSpace presented on this topic earlier this year. To access a copy of the recording, click here.
In a recent judgment, the High Court of Australia confirmed that an organisation or person may be liable for allegedly defamatory comments made by third parties in response to the organisation or person’s content on their Facebook page. This decision should serve as a warning to schools to take particular care in monitoring third party comments on social media platforms.
📚 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.
Compliance is what you do for today and risk is how you manage tomorrow. This concept has probably been stated many times before, in many different forums. However, let’s look at it from a different perspective-one that reflects the respective roles of the principal and the deputy principal of a school.
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: This topic of was covered in the School Risk Webinar Series. To access all webinars in this 5-part series, request access to the School Risk Webinar Series here.
There have been numerous reports of personal information obtained through COVID sign-in requirements being misused, such as information being used for criminal purposes, unsolicited marketing, or even phoning people for dates. Disclosing the personal information of students in these circumstances is of particular concern as a child safety risk. So how should a school manage the public health benefits as well as the child protection risks?
There is no one correct answer to the question “Which policies should a school board approve?” However, there are three broad categories that we discuss in the article, together with the sorts of policies that schools would most likely expect to be within each of the three categories.
📚 HELPFUL RESOURCE: CompliSpace recent held a webinar showcasing how a school achieved ‘Policy to Culture’ by switching to online policy management. To learn more and request your copy, click here.
The effects of the COVID-19 Delta variant are placing increasing pressure on schools as some states begin the return to face-to-face learning. Schools are eager to have their staff return to work in the most safe and effective way possible. However, COVID-19 vaccination requirements for workers across all industries are at the forefront of discussions as states and territories try to get back to ‘normal’ life post lockdown. Employers are grappling with questions around mandatory vaccination requirements for their workers. Under what circumstances is it reasonable and lawful for an employer to require its staff to be vaccinated?
Most schools have policies or rules that strictly forbid student (and staff) smoking at school, at school events and whenever students are in uniform. Schools also ban students from carrying and using smoking products such as cigarette lighters and matches, cigarette rolling papers and other smoking devices. However, have schools contemplated including the use of e-cigarettes, or similar non-tobacco smoking products, by either students or staff in their rules and policies?
Over the past month, schools all across Australia have demonstrated that they are listening to the concerns of young people about safety, consent and respect and are taking this issue seriously. This article discusses the important role that schools could play in shifting the way that young people understand and think about sexual consent through a thoughtful and formal approach to consent education.
📚 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.