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  6. Safe and supportive environment - student welfare
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Safe and supportive environment - student welfare

A registered non-government school must provide a safe and supportive environment by having in place policies and procedures that provide for student welfare.

Safe environment

A safe environment for students is one where the risk of harm is minimised and students feel secure. Harm relates not only to dangers in the built environment, involving such matters as architecture and construction, lighting, space, facilities and safety plans, but also refers to violence, physical threats, verbal abuse, threatening gestures, sexual harassment and racial vilification.

Supportive environment

A supportive environment facilitates and enhances the social, academic, physical and emotional development of students. A supportive environment strives to be one in which:

  • students are treated with respect and fairness by teachers, other staff and other students members of the school community feel valued
  • effective teaching and learning takes place
  • positive support and encouragement are provided by members of staff and students
  • non-discriminatory language and behavioural practices are defined, modelled and reinforced by members of the school community
  • consultation takes place on matters relating to students’ education and welfare.

Student welfare

Student welfare encompasses the mental, physical and emotional well-being of the student. The provision of student welfare policies and programs is essential in developing a sense of self-worth and fostering personal development. Student welfare could include:

  • programs that the school provides to meet the personal, social and learning needs of the students
  • effective discipline
  • early intervention programs for students at risk
  • student, family and community support networks
  • opportunities that the school provides for students to
    • enjoy success and recognition
    • make a useful contribution to the life of the school
    • derive enjoyment from their learning.

Evidence of capacity to comply

Within the totality of a proposed school's policies and procedures the proposed non-government school must have in place policies and procedures in relation to:

  • security, with specific reference to
    • students
    • proposed buildings and facilities
    • evacuation procedures
  • supervision, with specific reference to protocols and guidelines, including risk management for students undertaking on-site and off-site activities
  • codes of conduct for members of the proposed school community, with specific reference to
    • rights and responsibilities of students and staff within the proposed school's community
    • behaviour management
    • anti-bullying, including contact information for School Liaison Police and/or Youth Liaison Officers and other support services available to the school community
    • the role of any student leadership system (or equivalent) in the school and the monitoring of the system
    • management and reporting of serious incidents and emergencies
  • complaints or grievances, with specific reference to processes for raising and responding to matters of concern identified by parents and/or students
  • pastoral care, with specific reference to
    • proposed structures and personnel responsible for pastoral care including access to counselling
    • proposed provision for the identification of and support for students with special needs
    • health and the distribution and monitoring of medication
    • response to serious incidents and emergencies
    • homework
  • maintaining a student enrolment and attendance register
  • student attendance, with specific reference to:
    • processes for monitoring attendance data
    • intervention strategies to improve unsatisfactory attendance, including implementing strategies designed to improve student engagement in school and learning
  • communication, with specific reference to proposed formal and informal mechanisms that will be available between the proposed school and stakeholders interested in the student 's education and well-being.

Where the proposed school intends to allow students to study with an outside tutor or undertake outsourced courses/subjects, appropriate policies and procedures must be in place to ensure the personal safety and welfare of such students and their personal and social development.

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