Child Safety

 

Statement of Commitment

 

The Avondale Primary School community is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people. This will be the primary focus of our care and decision-making.

 

Avondale Primary School has zero tolerance for child abuse.  

 

The Avondale Primary School community is committed to providing a child safe environment where children and young people are safe and feel safe, and their voices are heard in relation to decisions that affect their lives. Particular attention will be paid to the cultural safety of Indigenous children and children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, as well as the safety of children with a disability.

 

Every person involved in the Avondale Primary School community has a responsibility to understand the important and specific role he/she plays individually and collectively to ensure that the wellbeing and safety of all children and young people is at the forefront of all they do and every decision they make.

 

In its planning, decision making and operations Avondale Primary School will:

  1. Take a preventative, proactive and participatory approach to child safety;
  2. Value and empower children to participate in decisions which affect their lives;
  3. Foster a culture of openness that supports all persons to safely disclose risks of harm to children
  4. Respect diversity in cultures and child rearing practices while keeping child safety paramount;
  5. Provide written guidance on appropriate conduct and behaviour towards children;
  6. Engage suitable people to work with children and have high quality staff and volunteer supervision and professional development;
  7. Ensure children know who to talk to if they are worried or are feeling unsafe, and that they are comfortable and encouraged to raise such issues;
  8. Report suspected abuse, neglect or mistreatment promptly to the appropriate authorities;
  9. Share information appropriately and lawfully with other organisations where the safety and wellbeing of children is at risk
  10. Ensure a risk prevention and minimisation approach
  11. Take the legislative requirements seriously and ensure implementation
  12. Value the input of and communicate regularly with families and carers

 

Code of Conduct

 

This Code of Conduct aims to protect children and reduce any opportunities for child abuse or harm to occur. The Principal and school leaders of Avondale Primary School will support implementation and monitoring of the Code of Conduct, and will plan, implement and monitor arrangements to provide an inclusive, safe and orderly school and other learning environment.

 

All staff, volunteers, contractors, visitors and any other members of the school community involved in child related work at Avondale Primary School are required to comply with the Code of Conduct by observing expectations for appropriate behaviour. The Code of Conduct applies in all school situations, including schools camps, excursions and in the use of digital technology and media.

 

Click here to view a copy of our Code of Conduct

 

Child Safe Standards

 

At Avondale Primary School there is a school-wide approach towards ensuring the safety of all children. The school follows the Department of Health and Human Service’s seven Child Safe Standards, which are:

  1. Strategies to embed an organisational culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements
  2. A child safe policy or statement of commitment to child safety
  3. A code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children
  4. Screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel
  5. Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse
  6. Strategies to identify and reduce or remove the risk of abuse
  7. Strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children

The school actively implements policies and procedures to cover all areas of the standards, including:

  • You Can Do It Social and Emotional Learning program
  • KidsMatter Framework
  • From 2019 Working With Children Checks for all visitors and workers at the school, including contractors
  • Risk assessments for all major activities and events as well as a whole-school risk assessment 
  • Regular review of procedures and schedules to ensure best practice in matters relating to supervision and duty of care in all school activities
  • VIT Registration for all teaching staff (which includes regular National Criminal Record Checks)
  • Up-to-date policies for Child Safe and the school’s Child Safe Code of Conduct, as well as related policies such as First Aid and Medications, Supervision and Duty of Care and Working With Children Checks
  • Cybersafety and bullying presentations
  • Bravehearts Personal Safety Education program
  • Student Safety Week and establishing a help seeking network

 

Avondale Primary School is committed to ensuring the safety of all students in its community. The school achieves this by developing a culture of safety through risk management to identify and remove risks of child abuse, policy development and implementation, code of conduct screening, supervision and training, processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse and strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children. In order to ensure the safety of children, the school has appointed a Child Safety Leader (Assistant Principal) and developed policies and procedures in conjunction with the Child Safe Standards. 

Identified Child Safety leader: Joe Scarfo (Assistant Principal) 

The role of Child Safety Leader includes leadership support and the ability to direct other staff (where appropriate) to undertake the role effectively.

 

Key Activities of a Child Safety Leader at Avondale Primary School

Broad areas of the role are to:

 

Provide authoritative advice

  • act as a source of support, advice and expertise to staff on matters of child safety
  • liaise with the principal and school leaders to maintain the visibility of child safety
  • lead the development of the school’s child safety culture, including being a child safety champion and providing coordination in communicating, implementing, monitoring, enhancing and reporting on strategies to embed a culture of child safety.

Raise awareness

  • ensure the school’s policies are known and used appropriately
  • ensure the school’s child safety policy is reviewed in the context of school self-evaluation undertaken as part of the school accountability framework
  • ensure the child protection policy is available publicly and parents are aware of the fact that referrals bout suspected abuse or neglect may be made and the role of the school in the school in this
  • be alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs and young carers
  • encourage among all staff a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings in any measures to protect them.

Train

Being authoritative in providing advice by:

    • keeping their skills up to date with appropriate training carried out every two years
    • having a working knowledge of how the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Community Service Organisations conduct a child protection case conference to be able to attend and contribute to these effectively when required to do so,

Protect

  • be able to keep detailed, accurate, secure written records of concerns and referral
  • ensure each member of staff has access to and understands the school’s child safety policy and procedures, especially new and part time staff
  • make sure staff are aware of training opportunities and the latest DHHS and DET policies and guidance.


The school’s policies can be viewed on-line under the policies tab or at the bottom of this page.

 

As part of meeting the Child Safe Standards, the school pays special attention to at-risk groups, to promote:

  • Cultural safety of Indigenous children
  • Cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Safety of children with a disability

The school also implements specific DET strategies to support any students who are deemed as being in out-of-home care and has a designated Child Safety Leader (Assistant Principal/ Welfare Coordinator) with the responsibility to oversee the safety and wellbeing of these students.

 

The school has a strong focus on Cybersafety to ensure that students are aware of potential risks when using digital technologies and how to manage and avoid these risks. Student learn about appropriate, positive behaviours through in class activities, online webinars and visiting presentations.

 

Further information about Child Safe Standards can be found at :http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/health/protect/Pages/default.aspx 

Click here to view a copy of our Child Safety Responding & Reporting PolicyRisk Management Policy and Child Safe Environment Policy.