This is a Child Safe School

This is a Child Safe School

Thursday, 23 February 2017  | Narelle - MECS Principal
Over the last six months we have made numerous references to our new Child Safety Policy in this newsletter. Our policy was developed in 2016 in response to Ministerial Order 870 which required all schools in Victoria to implement seven minimum standards to make sure children entrusted to our care are kept safe.

As this policy relates to all employees, volunteers and contractors, we have been bringing this policy to the attention of all our Primary parents at recent information briefings and providing an opportunity for parents who wish to be volunteers throughout the year to ‘sign off’ on their understanding and commitment to uphold our Child Safety Code of Conduct. We appreciate the positive response of our Primary parents to this process so far. Parents of Secondary students who wish to volunteer on camps and excursions will have to sign-off on this policy as part of the risk assessment processes for each experience.

Whilst our policy includes details about such topics as how our policy is implemented, what responsibilities are held by different members of the community, the impact on the recruitment of school staff and how we would respond to disclosures of abuse; at the centre of our policy is the Child Safety Code of Conduct.

This Code of Conduct outlines a range of positive behaviours and unacceptable behaviours.

Positive behaviours include such things as:

Listening and responding to the views and concerns of children.
Ensuring that as far as practicable adults are not alone with children.
Reporting any allegations of child abuse or any child safety concerns to the school leadership team.
Complying with all mandatory reporting obligations.

Negative behaviours include:

Disregarding any suspected or disclosed child abuse.
Exhibiting behaviours with children which may be construed as unnecessarily physical.
Putting children at risk of abuse through isolation.
Using inappropriate language in the presence of children or engaging in open discussions of a mature or adult nature in the presence of children.

For the full Child Safety Code of Conduct, please see our website or come and collect a copy of our Focus on Child Safety booklet in the main office. (Parents of Middle Primary students will receive their copy at their Information Night on Wednesday March 1.)

There continues to be much in the media about the heartbreaking abuse of children in schools over many years. We grieve with these victims and their families as the trauma of this abuse continue to take its toll on the wellbeing of so many in our wider community.

MECS is committed to making sure that all our students are safe. We completely reject any action or behaviour that results in the abuse of a child who is part of our community. As image-bearers of God, we want every student to flourish in all aspects of their life and for all children to feel loved and respected.

The school has appointed our Assistant Principals and Kindergarten Director as Child Safety Officers. Please speak to Di, Karissa or Wendy if you have any concerns in this area. As we work in partnership together, this responsibility and commitment needs to be owned by all of us. Thanks for joining us, and supporting us in this important task.  

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