Introduction The duty of care for student’s policy document gives clear guidelines that all schools and teachers must follow with regards to circumstances concerning the safety and welfare of students. By setting guidelines for schools and teachers to ensure that situations are dealt with in a fair and the utmost professional manner. The guidelines deal with things such as the departure and arrival time of students, student’s behaviour in out of school, the protection of students from child abuse, Discussion 1. The Policy
The apparent rationale for writing the duty of care policy in WA is to ensure that teachers are responsible, take control of situations and supervise students to ensure their safety inside and outside school premises. This document is to ensure all western Australian students’ safety and wellbeing, which enables students to focus on learning. Teachers also owe duty of care towards other teacher’s, non-teaching staff, parents and visitors (The Government of Western Australia, Department of Education, 26 June 2007).
The policy duty of care for students covers a wide range of issues from: •Alcohol on school premises – alcohol should not be used on school premises when students are around, however if there was an event where alcohol was present around the students it is the school responsibility to ensure that students have been supervised at all time ( Effective, 2004). •Child protection – teachers are responsible to report any suspicions of a child being abused physically, psychological and emotionally (Effective, 2009). Duty of care for students – teaching staff take reasonable care for the safety of students not only for protecting them from hazards, but to also protect them from harm that could foreseeably arise. Non-teaching staff and volunteers owe a Duty of Care when they take part in a school activity. It is the responsibility of the school to ensure that staff or volunteers are appropriately skilled to carry out any responsibilities which involve the safety of students (Effective, 2007). •Excursions off school site activities – Schools and teachers owe a Duty of Care to students for the duration of the excursion out of school site activities.
Excursions and out of school site activities need to be assessed to ensure they are justified in terms of risk, of harm, and the value of the activity. It is important to thoroughly plan all aspects of the excursions and off school site activities and to keep records of procedures followed (Effective, 2003) •Outdoor education and recreation activities – Teachers must also ensure that they are providing a learning environment to students that are in line with the practices in its policy (Effective, 2008). Students online – This policy was developed to assist teachers in putting in place school-based processes and procedures that will both protect and inform West Australian students and parents in their use of the Departments online services. All activities conducted using the Department’s online services may be logged and accessed for administrative, legal or security purposes (Effective, 2010). •Working with children checks – before teachers can teach they all need to apply for working with children check which entails a check of all convictions for any offence that has ever been committed any spent convictions you have.
A spent conviction is one that does not need to be ordinarily declared, any pending charges and any non-conviction charge (Effective, 2009). The Duty of care policy is important for school’s to protect their students from reasonably foreseeable injuries by having adequate supervision of students, protecting students from dangerous situations and maintaining safe premises and equipment. Teachers are expected to act with caution, sensible leadership, and wise guidance (Newnham, Helen;, 2000) to protect children from hazards and/or from harm.
The subject of the policy requirements is for teachers, non-teachers, volunteers, parents and students participating in school activities. 2. Scenarios Scenario 1 This scenario cites particular section of the duty of care for student’s policy. The principals and teachers have the responsibilities to arrange the proper adequate supervision for children that arrive early to school to ensure their safety and welfare. Principals should advise parents and guardians when supervision of students is available before school hours and that before or after these hours it is not their responsibility to supervise them.
Parents should supervise their children before supervision hours or are to arrange with a family member to do so. Not opening school gates or forcing students to remain outside school property will not remove a school’s responsibility (Duty Of Care for Children, 2007) therefore the principals and teachers should arrange to carry out a rotated roaster for supervision. The amount of supervising teachers that will be needed for this roster system depends upon the age and number of students who are known to arrive prior to the commencement of the school day and upon the area to which they are directed.
Scenario 2 When children come to school with possible signs of been physical, emotional, or psychological abuse. Schools and teachers are required to meet the policy documents guidelines on Child abuse, by reporting if there is any suspicion and reasonable ground that a student has been physically, emotionally or psychologically abused, they must complete the school’s reporting form and report it as soon as possible. The earlier the report has been sent and received, “the earlier steps will be taken to protect a child, where it is deemed necessary” (Department for Child Protection, 2010).
Teachers have an important role in the identification and reporting of child abuse as sometimes they are one of few people to interact with a child and see often. A teacher can monitor a child for any changes in behaviour and act accordingly. Teachers also must provide support thus who have been abused and to monitor their development and emotional wellbeing. Scenario 3 Teachers want to take students to the Zoo. The policy that covers this scenario is Excursion off school site activities. This policy was created as a guideline for teachers and schools for the Excursion planning and applying process.
It exists to protect the students’ rights and to communicate the responsibilities of the student’s as well as teachers. The policy exists to help schools and teachers to provide a safe learning environment, to prevent any accidents and manage risks when planning for and participating in an excursion. Teachers must prepare an excursion management plan, and in this plan it should include the following: -Environment -Transport -Students capacity -Supervisor/supervisory team -External provider information -Supervision strategies Identifying of excursion participants -Communication strategies -Emergency response plan -Briefing students and supervisors Excursion must be planned carefully and an approval must be obtained from the principal. Written information about the excursion must be given to the parents/guardians with the consent for the participation of the students must be obtained before the excursion. Excursions are important way to provide practical learning opportunities as it gives the students a firsthand account of an experience to do with their studies.
The Department of Education encourages schools to conduct well planned off school site activities that are integrated with learning programs such as an excursion to war museums when learning about history. Details relating to all excursions are to be retained by the school in accordance with, the department’s manual for records management details of the excursion. This file document should include, signed management plan, names of planning and authorising staff, names of participants, a brief description of the excursion, and parent consent forms. Conclusion
In conclusion the duty of care for students policy has been drawn up with the safety and welfare of the students in mind, to provide reasonable care to students and to avoid any harm been suffered. Schools and teachers owe a duty of care for all students under their control to take a reasonable care for the safety and welfare of all students who are involved in school activities or are present for the purposes of any school activity. By abiding by and applying the Duty of care policy’s guidelines, we can ensure that students have every opportunity to learn, excel and grow within a safe learning environment.
References Effective. (2003). Retrieved from Excursions off school site activities : http://www. det. wa. edu. au/policies/detcms/policy-planning-and-accountability/policies-framework/policies/excursions-off-school-site-activities. en? oid=au. edu. wa. det. cms. contenttypes. Policy-id-3783369 Effective. (2004, October 10). Retrieved from Alchol on School Premises: http://www. det. wa. edu. au/policies/detcms/policy-planning-and-accountability/policies-framework/policies/alcohol-on-school-premises. en? oid=au. edu. wa. det. cms. contenttypes.
Policy-id-3781769 Duty Of Care for Children. (2007, June 26). Retrieved April 1, 2011, from The Government of Western Australia Department of Education: http://www. det. wa. edu. au/policies/detcms/policy-planning-and-accountability/policies-framework/policies/duty-of-care-for-students. en? oid=au. edu. wa. det. cms. contenttypes. Policy-id-3783072 Effective. (2007). Retrieved from Duty of care for students: http://www. det. wa. edu. au/policies/detcms/policy-planning-and-accountability/policies-framework/policies/duty-of-care-for-students. en? oid=au. edu. wa. det. cms. ontenttypes. Policy-id-9855354 Effective. (2008). Retrieved from Outdoor education and recreation activities : http://www. det. wa. edu. au/policies/detcms/policy-planning-and-accountability/policies-framework/policies/outdoor-education-and-recreation-activities. en? oid=au. edu. wa. det. cms. contenttypes. Policy-id-3784852 Effective. (2009). Retrieved from Child protection : http://www. det. wa. edu. au/policies/detcms/policy-planning-and-accountability/policies-framework/policies/child-protection. en? oid=au. edu. wa. det. cms. contenttypes. Policy-id-11114242 Effective. 2009, August 25). Retrieved from Working with children checks : http://www. det. wa. edu. au/policies/detcms/policy-planning-and-accountability/policies-framework/policies/working-with-children-checks. en? oid=au. edu. wa. det. cms. contenttypes. Policy-id-4876273 Department for Child Protection. (2010). Retrieved from http://www. mandatoryreporting. dcp. wa. gov. au Newnham, Helen;. (2000). When is a Teacher or School Liable in Negligence. Retrieved from Australian Journal of Teacher Education: http://ajte. education. ecu. edu. au/ISSUES/PDF/251/Newnham. pdf