The Code of Conduct outlines appropriate standards of behaviour towards students for all adults in the College environment, and the College’s expectations for compliance. It serves to protect students, reduce any opportunities for abuse or harm to occur, and promote child safety in the College environment. It provides guidance on how to best support students and how to avoid or better manage difficult situations.
It is the College’s policy that any breach of the Code of Conduct is a child safety incident that must be reported internally. Any breach that meets the threshold for external reporting must also be reported to the relevant external authority.
The Code of Conduct is reviewed by the College and approved by College Council on an annual basis.
Our Child Safety Program also includes a Staff and Student Professional Boundaries policy that provides detailed guidance for all staff, volunteers and contractors on how to maintain professional boundaries between with students.
The Code of Conduct applies to all adults in the College community, including:
- the Principal and the College Executive Team;
- all staff members, including non-teaching Staff and temporary or casual staff, as well as all Learning in Residence Staff;
- all volunteers;
- all contractors (including External Education Providers);
- teaching students on placement at the College; and
(together referred to as “the College Community” for the purposes of the Code of Conduct).
The Code of Conduct applies in all College environments. College environments include the following physical, virtual and online places used by a student or a boarding student at any time:
- a campus of the College;
- online or virtual College places made available or authorised by College Council (or the Principal on its behalf) for use by a student (including email, intranet systems, software applications, collaboration tools and online services);
- other locations provided by the College or through a third-party provider for a student to use, including but not limited to:
- approved homestay accommodation;
- delivery of education and training such as registered training organisations, TAFEs, non-school senior secondary providers, another school; and
- sporting events, excursions, competitions and other events.
Some staff members, volunteers and contractors at the College may have other professional or occupational codes of conduct that regulate their profession or occupation. These codes of conduct must be complied with. In the event that a staff member, volunteer or contractor considers that there is a conflict between their professional or occupational code of conduct and the College’s Code of Conduct in a particular matter, they must seek advice from their professional or occupational regulatory body and/or a Child Safety Officer, and must advise the Principal of their proposed course of action.
The Code of Conduct
Each member of the College Community is responsible for promoting the safety and wellbeing of students by adhering to the following standards of behaviour:
- Uphold and act in accordance with the College's Child Safe Policy at all times.
- Comply with applicable guidelines published by the College with respect to child safety, such as the Staff and Student Professional Boundaries policy.
- Behave as a positive role model to students.
- Promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of students.
- Be vigilant and proactive with regard to student safety and wellbeing, including child safety issues.
- Provide age-appropriate supervision for students.
- Treat all students with respect.
- Promote the safety, participation and empowerment of students with disability.
- Promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of linguistically and/or culturally diverse students and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
- Use positive and affirming language towards students.
- Encourage students to ‘have a say’ and participate, and then listen to them with respect.
- Respect cultural, religious and political differences.
- Help provide an open, safe and supportive environment for all students to interact, and socialise.
- Intervene when students are engaging in inappropriate bullying behaviour towards others or acting in a humiliating or vilifying way.
- Report any breaches of this Code of Conduct.
- Report concerns about child safety to a Child Safety Officer and ensure that your legal obligations to report child abuse or other harm externally are met.
- Where an allegation of child abuse or other harm is made, ensure as quickly as possible that the student involved is safe.
- Call the Police on 000 if you have immediate concerns for a student's safety.
- Respect the privacy of students and their families and only disclose information to people who have a need to know.
- Engage in any form of inappropriate behaviour towards students or expose students to such behaviour.
- Discriminate against any student on the basis of characteristics that are protected in anti-discrimination legislation or express personal views that support or promote such discrimination.
- Engage in open discussions of an adult nature in the presence of students.
- Engage in any form of sexual conduct with a student including making sexually suggestive comments and sharing sexually suggestive material.
- Engage in inappropriate or unnecessary physical conduct or behaviours including doing things of a personal nature that a student can do for themselves, such as toileting or changing clothes.
- Engage in any form of physical violence towards a student including inappropriately rough physical play.
- Use physical means or corporal punishment to discipline or control a student.
- Engage in any form of behaviour that has the potential to cause a student serious emotional or psychological harm.
- Develop ‘special’ relationships with students that could be seen as favouritism (for example, the offering of gifts or special treatment for specific students).
- Engage in undisclosed private meetings with a student who is not your own child.
- Engage in activities with a student who is not your own child, outside of school hours and without permission from the student’s parent/carer.
- Engage in inappropriate personal communications with a student through any medium, including any online contact or interactions with a student.
- Take or publish (including online) photos, movies or recordings of a student without parental/carer consent.
- Post identifying information about a student online unless it is necessary for the College’s activities or you have consent from the student and/or their parents/guardians. Identifying information includes things such as the student’s: full name; age; e-mail address; telephone number; residence; school; or details of a club or group that they may attend.
- Ignore or disregard any suspected or disclosed child abuse or other harm.
Agreement to the Code of Conduct
The College provides a copy of the Code of Conduct to all staff, relevant volunteers and relevant contractors at induction, or otherwise prior to them commencing work at the College. The College also communicates it via refresher training at regular intervals for all Staff, as well as Direct Contact Volunteers.
All staff, as well as Direct Contact and Regular Volunteers must sign an agreement to adhere to the Code of Conduct prior to commencing work at College.
The Code of Conduct forms part of the contract between the College and any Direct Contact and Regular Contractors. Therefore, all Direct Contact and Regular Contractors are deemed to have agreed to adhere to the Code of Conduct on signing the contract or on commencing work at the College.
The Code of Conduct and Reportable Conduct
Our Child Safety Codes of Conduct outline expected standards of behaviour for all staff at the College. However, breaches of these Codes of Conduct will not always be Reportable Conduct. For example, a volunteer accepting a social media ‘friend’ request from a student would be a breach of our Child Safety Codes of Conduct but may not amount to Reportable Conduct.
These kinds of breaches of our Child Safety Codes of Conduct can be dealt with at the College level and the College does not need to report them to the Commission for Children and Young People.
Consequences for Breaching the Code of Conduct
Staff, including the College Executive Team and Principal, volunteers and contractors who breach this Code of Conduct may be subject to disciplinary actions that may result in a range of measures including (depending on the severity of the breach):
- remedial education;
- increased supervision;
- the restriction of duties;
- appointment to an alternate role;
- suspension; or
- in the case of serious breaches, termination of employment, contract or engagement.
Where any other member of the College Community breaches any obligation, duty or responsibility within our Code of Conduct, Wesley College will take appropriate action in accordance with our Community Safety Orders Policy.