Child Safe Policy & Statement of Commitment
Our commitment to child safety
Kew School of Dance is committed to child safety.
We want children to be safe, happy and empowered. We support and respect all children, as well as our staff and volunteers.
We are committed to the safety, participation and empowerment of all children.
We have zero tolerance of child abuse, and all allegations and safety concerns will be treated very seriously and consistently with our robust policies and procedures.
We have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety, which we follow rigorously.
Our organisation is committed to preventing child abuse and identifying risks early, and removing and reducing these risks.
Our organisation has robust human resources and recruitment practices for all staff and volunteers.
Our organisations is committed to regularly training and educating our staff and volunteers on child abuse risks.
We support and respect all children, as well as our staff and volunteers. We are committed to the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, the cultural safety of children from a culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and to providing a safe environment for children with a disability.
We have specific policies, procedures and training in place that support our leadership team, staff and volunteers to achieve these commitments.
If you believe a child is at immediate risk of abuse phone 000.
This policy is intended to empower children who are vital and active participants in our organisation. We involve them when making decisions as appropriate and always consider their needs, especially about matters that directly affect them. We listen to their views and respect what they have to say.
We promote diversity and tolerance in our organisation, and people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds are welcome. In particular we:
- promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal children
- promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds
- ensure that children with a disability are safe and can participate equally
Our staff and volunteers
This policy guides our staff and volunteers on how to behave with children in our organisation.
All of our staff and volunteers must agree to abide by our code of conduct which specifies the standards of conduct required when working with children. All staff and volunteers, as well as children and their families, are given the opportunity to contribute to the development of the code of conduct.
Training and supervision
Training and education is important to ensure that everyone in our organisation understands that child safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Our organisational culture aims for all staff and volunteers (in addition to parents/carers and children) to feel confident and comfortable in discussing any allegations of child abuse or child safety concerns. We train our staff and volunteers to identify, assess, and minimise risks of child abuse and to detect potential signs of child abuse.
We also support our staff and volunteers through ongoing supervision to: develop their skills to protect children from abuse; and promote the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, the cultural safety of children from linguistically and/or diverse backgrounds, and the safety of children with a disability.
New employees and volunteers will be supervised regularly to ensure they understand our organisation’s commitment to child safety and that everyone has a role to play in protecting children from abuse, as well as checking that their behaviour towards children is safe and appropriate (please refer to this organisation’s code of conduct to understand appropriate behaviour further). Any inappropriate behaviour will be reported through appropriate channels, including the Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Police, depending on the severity and urgency of the matter.
We take all reasonable steps to employ skilled people to work with children. We develop selection criteria and advertisements which clearly demonstrate our commitment to child safety and an awareness of our social and legislative responsibilities. Our organisation understands that when recruiting staff and volunteers we have ethical as well as legislative obligations.
We actively encourage applications from Aboriginal peoples, people from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with a disability.
All people engaged in child-related work, including volunteers, are required to hold a Working with Children Check and to provide evidence of this Check.
We carry out reference checks and police record checks to ensure that we are recruiting the right people. Police record checks are used only for the purposes of recruitment and are discarded after the recruitment process is complete. We do retain our own records (but not the actual criminal record) if an applicant’s criminal history affected our decision making process.
If during the recruitment process a person’s records indicate a criminal history then the person will be given the opportunity to provide further information and context.
Fair procedures for personnel
The safety and wellbeing of children is our primary concern. We are also fair and just to personnel. The decisions we make when recruiting, assessing incidents, and undertaking disciplinary action will always be thorough, transparent, and based on evidence.
We record all allegations of abuse and safety concerns using our incident reporting form including investigation updates. All records are securely stored.
If an allegation of abuse or a safety concern is raised, we provide updates to children and families on progress and any actions we as an organisation take.
All personal information considered or recorded will respect the privacy of the individuals involved, whether they be staff, volunteers, parents or children, unless there is a risk to someone’s safety. We have safeguards and practices in place to ensure any personal information is protected. Everyone is entitled to know how this information is recorded, what will be done with it, and who will have access to it.
Our organisation takes our legal responsibilities seriously, including:
- Failure to disclose: Reporting child sexual abuse is a community-wide responsibility. All adults in Victoria who have a reasonable belief that an adult has committed a sexual offence against a child under 16 have an obligation to report that information to the police.
- Failure to protect: People of authority in our organisation will commit an offence if they know of a substantial risk of child sexual abuse and have the power or responsibility to reduce or remove the risk, but negligently fail to do so.
- Any personnel who are mandatory reporters must comply with their duties*.
In Victoria, organisations are required to protect children when a risk is identified (see information about failure to protect above). In addition to general occupational health and safety risks, we proactively manage risks of abuse to our children.
We have risk management strategies in place to identify, assess, and take steps to minimise child abuse risks, which include risks posed by physical environments (for example, any doors that can lock), and online environments (for example, no staff or volunteer is to have contact with a child in organisations on social media).
This policy will be reviewed every two years and following significant incidents if they occur. We will ensure that families and children have the opportunity to contribute. Where possible we do our best to work with local Aboriginal communities, culturally and/or linguistically diverse communities and people with a disability.
Allegations, concerns and complaints
Our organisation takes all allegations seriously and has practices in place to investigate thoroughly and quickly. Our staff and volunteers are trained to deal appropriately with allegations.
We work to ensure all children, families, staff and volunteers know what to do and who to tell if they observe abuse or are a victim, and if they notice inappropriate behaviour.
We all have a responsibility to report an allegation of abuse if we have a reasonable belief that an incident took place (see information about failure to disclose above).
If an adult has a reasonable belief that an incident has occurred then they must report the incident. Factors contributing to reasonable belief may be:
- a child states they or someone they know has been abused (noting that sometimes the child may in fact be referring to themselves)
- behaviour consistent with that of an abuse victim is observed
- someone else has raised a suspicion of abuse but is unwilling to report it
- observing suspicious behaviour.
*Mandatory reporters (doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers (including early childhood teachers), principals and police) must report to child protection if they believe on reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection from physical injury or sexual abuse.
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Acceptable Use Policy for Mobile Phones and Devices
Purpose and Rationale
- Purpose: To inform all members of our school community about the use of mobile phones at Kew School of Dance by students.
- Kew School of Dance recognises that mobile phones are an important communication tool and the widespread ownership of mobile phones (and similar devices such as tablets and iPods) among students requires that school administrators, teachers, students, and parents take steps to ensure that such mobile devices are used responsibly at the studio. This Acceptable Use Policy is designed to ensure that potential issues involving mobile phones can be clearly identified and addressed, ensuring the benefits that mobile phones provide (such as increased safety) can continue to be enjoyed by our students.
- Kew School of Dance accepts that parents give their children mobile phones to protect them from everyday risks involving personal security and safety. Parents may also be concerned about children travelling alone on public transport or commuting to the studio. It is acknowledged that providing a child with a mobile phone gives parents reassurance that they can contact their child if they need to speak to them urgently.
- Kew School of Dance has established this Acceptable Use Policy for mobile phones that provides teachers, students and parents guidelines and instructions for the appropriate use of mobiles during dance class.
- Students, their parents or guardians are invited to read and familiarise themselves with the Acceptable Use Policy if students intend to bring mobile devices to dance class.
- The Acceptable Use Policy for mobile devices also applies to students during off site activities, such as the concert.
Responsibilities – Students and Parents
- Students and their parents or guardians should read and understand the Acceptable Use Policy before students are permitted to bring their mobile phones to the studio.
- It is the responsibility of students who bring mobile devices to the studio to abide by the guidelines outlined in this Acceptable Use Policy.
- The decision to provide a mobile phone to their child should be made by parents or guardians.
- Parents should be aware if their child takes a mobile phone (or other mobile device) to the studio.
Acceptable Uses of Mobile Phones at Kew School of Dance
Using devices responsibly at school
Students are not to use phones or smart devices during their warm-up before class or during dance class, rehearsals or performances. Teachers may use mobile devices during dance class, rehearsals & performance to complete administrative functions such as taking attendance, recording class content or playing music.
- Mobile phones or other mobile devices should not be used in any manner or place that is disruptive to the normal routine of the studio.
- Students should not use mobile phones to make calls, send text messages, access the internet, take photos or use other applications during lesson time or while engaged in other school activities such as warm-up or performance. Students should restrict use of their mobile phone to after class.
- While at the studio (and only during appropriate times) students should generally use soundless features such as text messaging, answering services, call diversion and vibration alert to receive important calls to avoid distracting others engaged in learning activities.
- Mobile phones must not disrupt dance classes with ringtones or beeping. Except when mobile devices are being used as part of the lesson plan or with the express permission of a teacher, they should be placed into “silent mode” and kept out of sight during dance class and school activities to minimise distractions.
- Texting (except where it forms part of the lesson plan) is a distraction in the studio and is not permitted while students are engaged in learning activities. Parents are reminded that in cases of emergency, Miss Alice remains a vital and appropriate point of contact and can ensure your child is reached quickly and assisted in an appropriate way.
- Mobile devices are not to be used in changing rooms, dressing rooms or toilets, or used in any situation that may cause embarrassment or discomfort to their fellow students, staff or visitors to the the studio.
- Students are reminded to protect their phone numbers by only giving them to close friends and family. It may help younger students to keep a note of who they have given their phone number to. This can help protect the student’s number from falling into the wrong hands and guard against cyber-bullying.
- Using mobile devices to bully (also known as cyberbullying) and threaten other students is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. In some cases it can constitute criminal behaviour.
- Students and parents are reminded that it is a criminal offence to use a mobile phone to menace, harass or offend another person and almost all calls, text messages and emails can be traced.
- Mobile phones or other mobile devices must not be used to take photos/video of any other student or teacher without their consent. It is also prohibited to upload photos/video of other students/teachers to social media websites or email photos/videos to others if doing so would embarrass, humiliate or cause discomfort to the subject of the photo/video. Students are reminded (see 3.6) that mobile phones are not to be used in toilets or changing rooms.
Theft or damage
- To avoid disputes and assist in finding owners, younger students may want to mark their mobile device clearly with their names or an identifying sticker. All students are advised to have their name and another contact number stored on the phone so that it can be more easily returned if lost.
- Students who bring a mobile device to school are to leave it locked away in their dance bag when they arrive to prevent loss or theft. To reduce the risk of theft, students who carry mobile devices are advised to treat them as carefully as they would their wallet or purse.
- Mobile devices that are found at the studio and whose owner cannot be located should be handed to the class teacher or receptionist.
- Kew School of Dance accepts no responsibility for replacing lost, stolen or damaged mobile devices.
- Kew School of Dance accepts no responsibility for students who lose or have their mobile devices stolen while travelling to and from the studio.
- It is strongly advised that students use passwords/pin numbers to ensure that unauthorised phone calls cannot be made on their phones (eg by other students, or if stolen). Students must keep their password/pin numbers confidential. Mobile devices and/or passwords should not be shared.
- If a mobile phone is lost or stolen, parents and students are advised to report the loss/theft to their mobile carrier so that they can de-activate the SIM card and block the mobile phone from use across all networks. Blocking a lost/stolen phone will make it unusable to anyone else within Australia.
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Sanctions/Consequences of unacceptable/inappropriate use
- Students using mobile devices to bully other students will face disciplinary action as sanctioned by the Principal.
- Students who infringe the guidelines and rules set out in this Acceptable Use Policy could face having their mobile devices confiscated by teachers.
- Repeated infringements may result in the withdrawal of the agreement to allow the student to bring the mobile telephone to the studio.
- Failure to heed the rules set out in this Acceptable Use Policy may result in an alleged incident being referred to the police for investigation. In such cases, the parent or guardian would be notified immediately.