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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
  • maintaining a student enrolment and attendance register.

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 fosters the social, academic, physical and emotional development of students. A supportive environment can be described as 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 staff members 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 students. Provisions for student attendance are integral to providing for student welfare. Student welfare policies and programs are essential for 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
  • monitoring student attendance and strategies for improving unsatisfactory attendance
  • 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 compliance

A registration system and/or member school must have in place and implement policies and procedures in relation to:

  • security, with specific reference to
    • students
    • 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 school community, with specific reference to
    • rights and responsibilities of students and staff within the school community
    • behaviour management
    • anti-bullying, including contact information for School Liaison Police and/or Youth Liaison Officers and support services available to the school community
    • if relevant, staff supervision of any student leadership system if it provides authority for students to discipline or direct other students at the school
    • 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 students and/or parents
  • pastoral care, with specific reference to
    • personnel responsible for pastoral care including access to counselling
    • identification of and provision of support for students with special needs
    • health and the distribution and monitoring of medication
    • response to serious incidents and emergencies
  • maintaining a students 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 formal and informal mechanisms available between stakeholders interested in a student's education and well-being.

While the title and scope of policies and procedures that a school has in place in relation to the above areas will vary depending on the school's philosophy, ethos and practice, each of the above areas must be addressed within the totality of the registration system and/or member school's policies and procedures.

Where students are approved to study with an outside tutor or are undertaking courses/subjects with an external provider, the registration system and/or member school school must have appropriate policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety and welfare of such students and to promote their personal and social development.

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