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Duty of Care for Public School Students Policy

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1. Policy statement

The Department is committed to achieving a balance between protecting students from an unreasonable risk of harm and encouraging students’ independence and maximising their educational opportunities.

All Department of Education (the Department) employees have a duty of care to protect students from risk of harm that can reasonably be foreseen when students are involved in all school activities, whether on or off the Department site.

2. Policy rules

Site managers must:

  • inform all employees, volunteers and external providers of their duty of care responsibilities;
  • apply appropriate risk management strategies to reduce the foreseeable risk of harm to students during all school activities conducted on and off Department sites; and
  • comply with the following supporting procedures for managing risks associated with specific activities:
    • Excursions in Public Schools Procedures;
    • Recreation and Outdoor Education Activities for Public Schools Procedures;
    • Student Drivers on Western Australian College of Agriculture and Farm Based Public School Sites Procedures;
    • Training With An External Registered Training Organisation (RTO) for Public Schools Procedures; and
    • Workplace Learning for Public Schools Procedures.

Guidance

The Department promotes positive and inclusive school communities where all members feel safe and are safe.

Site managers should use their professional judgement in discharging their duty of care responsibilities.

Non-teaching staff, volunteers and external providers have a right to refuse a request to personally care for students and to have their decision respected by members of the teaching staff.  Non-teaching staff, however, have limited scope to refuse a request from teaching staff to personally care for students if, by reason of their Job Description Form (JDF), the request relates to a task they are required to perform as part of their normal duties.

Risk management involves the identification, evaluation, treatment and ongoing monitoring of risks.  See the Departments Risk and Business Continuity Management policy for further information and guidance.

Guidelines are available to support this policy and each of the Supporting Procedures.

  • Duty of Care for Public Schools
  • Excursions in Public Schools Procedures
  • Recreation and Outdoor Education Activities for Public Schools Procedures
  • Student Drivers on Western Australian College of Agriculture and Farm Based Public School Sites
  • Training With An External Registered Training Organisation (RTO) for Public Schools
  • Workplace Learning for Public Schools

3. Responsibility for Implementation and Compliance

Implementation of the policy is the responsibility of all employees.

Line managers are responsible for compliance and monitoring.

4. Scope

This policy applies to all employees.

6. Definitions

A duty imposed by law to take reasonable care to minimise the risk of harm to another.

A person who is currently employed by the Department of Education under the School Education Act 1999 or the Public Sector Management Act 1994.

A business, service provider or individual engaged by the school to provide a venue, service and/or expertise appropriate to a particular activity.

An activity organised or managed by a Department employee nominated to be in charge of the activity as part of his or her duties.

Officers who have executive responsibility for overall management of any Department site.

A person who is enrolled at a school or short-term visiting student, involved in school activities, both in school and out of school.

7. Related documents

8. Contact information

Policy manager:              

Manager, Curriculum Support

T: (08) 9402 6129

Policy contact officer:       

Principal Consultant, Curriculum Support

T: (08) 9402 6297

9. History of changes

Effective date Last update date Policy version no.
1 January 2019 2.0
Major review of Duty of Care for Public School Students policy. Endorsed by the Director General at Corporate Executive on 9 August 2018. This new policy replaces the Outdoor Education and Recreation Activities for Public Schools, Duty of Care VET for School Students Attending TAFEWA Colleges from Public Schools and Workplace Learning for Public School policies.
1 January 2019 20 January 2020 2.1
Addition of Student Drivers on Western Australian College of Agriculture and Farm Based Public School Sites Procedures and removal of Outdoor Education and Recreational Activities for Public Schools Procedures endorsed by the Director General D20/0033995.
1 January 2019 21 February 2020 2.2
Minor changes to contact information D20/0086638.
1 January 2019 4 January 2021 2.3
Addition of Recreation and Outdoor Education Activities for Public Schools Procedures endorsed by Director General D20/0350265.
1 January 2019 16 February 2021 2.4
Addition of Excursions in Public Schools Procedures endorsed by Director General on 11 February 2021 D21/0074488.

10. More information

Policy review date

1 January 2022

Policy last updated

16 February 2021