Our schools work with parents to provide every possible assistance and support for the wellbeing of all children in our care. The Australian Government’s National Safe Schools Framework (NSSF) is an important guide for schools in this matter.
Our schools have policies around positive relationships, student wellbeing and behaviour management. These may include positive behaviour plans and protocols. The documents outline expectations and responsibilities that promote mutual care, acceptance, courtesy and respect.
Our schools also have policies and strategies for preventing and/or responding to bullying behaviours and serious offences. These policies and strategies are based on government requirements and on the pastoral care policy of the Catholic Education Office of your diocese.
Many schools appoint dedicated student wellbeing leaders to work with principals and other teaching staff to promote wellbeing and support services.
Our school communities have access to a wide range of student wellbeing support in areas which include:
student health services
resilience and mental health
School care program
If your child has high medical needs and is enrolled in a Catholic primary school in Victoria, s/he may be eligible for a service provided in partnership with the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH). The RCH Schoolcare Program is available to schools upon request through Catholic Education Melbourne.
Child Safe Standards
Catholic schools in Victoria are places of welcome and safety for students and their families. Children have the right to be safe and protected, including at school. As parents of students in Catholic schools, it is important you feel confident that your child is safe and well in the care of their school.
School leadership teams regularly review and strengthen their child safe practices, and work with staff and parents to maintain a culture of child safety across all aspects of their school community.
All schools have a duty of care to ensure children are learning, not only in a safe physical environment, but within a community where child safety is embedded in the school culture. This requires respect, understanding and compassion for others as an integral part of all that we do.
Schools have to meet legal requirements for the care, safety and welfare of students. As of 1 August 2016, schools also need to meet the Victorian Child Safe Standards.
Bullying and cybersafety
Catholic schools take bullying seriously and have a commitment to the safety and protection of all children in their care. Likewise parents have a key role in preventing and responding to bullying.
Learning what bullying is and what it is not is the first step in talking about how to prevent or respond to bullying with your child. 'Bullying' is a word that is used for a range of incidents and quarrels that may not be bullying. These other behaviours may be just as serious, but require different responses.
We know bullying, including cyberbullying, can make people feel unsafe at school and miserable when they get home. We believe it is important that all children and young people know they are being heard, their feelings matter and their issue will be investigated respectfully.
The best outcomes to address bullying are achieved when teachers work with you to help resolve ongoing conflicts at school and this includes working with parents of other students that may be involved. Establishing a shared understanding of bullying across the entire school community is an investment in positive and lasting solutions.
The Bullying. No Way! and eSmart websites provide useful information about bullying and online safety for students, parents and teachers.
The Australian Government Department of Education and Training’s Student Wellbeing Hub provides advice to help parents support their child, build positive communication with their child’s school and contribute actively to the wider school community.
Classroom and playground safety
The care and safety of children is a priority for Catholic school principals, staff and their communities.
Creating child safe environments involves the active participation of teachers, students, families and communities. Teachers work hard to build positive relationships within the classroom and the wider school community, and to help young people understand the impact of their behaviour on those around them.
You as parents play a vital role in the mental health, happiness and wellbeing of your child, which in turn affects their sense of identity as well as their achievement. Through effective communication channels, families and teachers are able to work together to develop students’ resilience skills, and strengthen their relationships and school connectedness.
Children and young people in Catholic schools are empowered to be the best they can be through a nurturing environment where they are respected, their voices are heard and they are supported to develop responsibility for their safety and the safety of others.
We know that when parents work in partnership with their child’s school, there is a shared understanding of the values and behaviours that contribute to a respectful and supportive learning environment.
For information about dealing with bullying, coping with anxiety and helping your child to develop positive relationships, see Student Wellbeing Hub.
In cases of emergency or ill health, the school will immediately contact you so you can collect your child or approve the appropriate medical attention. It is important to ensure that your contact details are up to date.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction which requires life-saving medication. A severe allergic reaction usually occurs within 20 minutes of exposure and can rapidly become life-threatening. Anaphylaxis must be treated as a medical emergency, requiring immediate treatment and urgent medical attention.
Each of our schools has an Anaphylaxis Management Policy which includes the training of relevant staff. A medically approved individual Anaphylaxis Management Plan is required for each student at risk and you are required to provide this plan and your child’s EpiPen® to the school.
Our schools support and encourage healthy eating through various curricular and practical initiatives. In schools where canteens operate, guidelines have been developed to provide students with healthy eating suggestions.
As a parent you have an important role to play in helping to ensure your child receives a consistent message about healthy eating and being active.
Two in three Australians develop some form of skin cancer before the age of 70; however, most skin cancer is preventable. Cancer Council Victoria recommends a healthy ultra-violet (UV) exposure balance that ensures some sun for vitamin D, while minimising the risk of skin cancer. Each of our schools has a sun protection policy to ensure a healthy UV exposure balance to help with vitamin D levels and minimise the risk of skin and eye damage and skin cancer.
Our schools are committed to implementing a combination of sun protection measures (clothing, sunscreen, hats, shade and sunglasses). Sun protection is required whenever UV levels reach three and above – the level that can damage skin and eyes. This is typically from the start of September to the end of April in Victoria (not just in Terms 1 and 4).
As a parent, you have an important role in ensuring that your child develops and maintains healthy sun protection habits throughout adolescence. Being a role model of sun-protective behaviours is one way to help your child to do this. Another is being aware of when UV rays will be dangerous and require sun protection.
For useful ideas and more information about sun protection and skin cancer prevention, including a SunSmart app and UV alert, see Cancer Council Victoria’s SunSmart website www.sunsmart.com.au