All students have a right to feel safe. Margaret River Montessori School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people and expects all staff, volunteers and visitors to share this commitment. This commitment extends beyond the achievement of academic success to intellectual, physical, social and emotional development. Our school recognises the fundamental right of students to be protected from neglect and from physical, emotional or sexual maltreatment whether at home, at school or in the community.
Everyone working in our school is responsible for the care and protection of the students. All staff are responsible for reporting concerns of neglect or emotional, psychological, physical or sexual abuse. All staff need to be able to recognise the indicators of abuse and neglect, in order to take appropriate action. The School Council, the Principal and all staff members must protect students in circumstances where abuse or neglect is suspected; or when allegations of maltreatment or assault are made against employees, students or other people in the community.
How do we do this?
Policy – The attached Child Protection Policy underpins our commitment to child safety. We also use our three Codes of Conduct for Staff, Parents/Carers/Volunteers/Visitors/Contractors and Students to ensure everyone’s rights and responsibilities are implicitly and explicitly clear. In addition children have access to the Child-friendly Student Complaints Process.
Child Safe Organisation Framework – The framework that underpins all policies and practices at Margaret River Montessori School and ensures there is a strong focus on child safety and wellbeing is the Child Safe Organisations WA: Guidelines by the WA Commissioner for Children and Young People. The School has also conducted a Child Safety Audit, assessed annually by the School Council which follows the Principles for Child Safety in Organisations of the Australian Children’s Commissioners and Guardians.
Professional Development – All staff undergo annual professional learning on the recognition of grooming and child abuse and appropriate prevention practices and strategies.
Human Resources and Screening – All recruitment advertising includes the above statement (in italics) and all interviewee are questions about their interests in working with children and their experience and training in the area of child abuse and grooming to ensure only people with the best intentions for our students are recruited. All persons employed at the school must provide a Working with Children Check and a Federal Police Clearance prior to commencing work at the school. Teachers will also be required to have current TRBWA registration, which includes a Federal Police Clearance. Persons convicted of sexual offences against children will not be employed by Margaret River Montessori School. Where an employee is not convicted, but is considered to have behaved in an inappropriate manner, disciplinary action will be taken. Legislation also requires that matters of serious improper conduct be reported to the Police and the TRBWA.
Visitors, Volunteers, Contractors, Parents, Carers – All parents, carers, visitors, volunteers of contractors must also agree to uphold this and other policies of the School including the Code of Conduct Policy for Parents, Carers, Volunteers, Visitors and Contractors. All visitors to the School are required to visit the Administration read, the Visitor Protocols and sign the Visitor Book to agree to the protocols. Regular visitors and volunteers are provided with the Child Protection Advice for Volunteers and Regular Visitors. Protective behaviours training for students, their parents and staff will be conducted on a regular basis. All volunteers, in any capacity and external providers must provide a working with children check (this does not apply to parents unless they are involved in overnight school camps) and/or a federal police clearance. Parents may be asked to sign a confidential declaration form as per the Duty of Care Policy.
Curriculum – MRMS has adopted the Keeping Safe Protective Behaviours Curriculum materials designed for each level of schooling. This comprehensive, realistic and age-appropriate curriculum provides students with the opportunity to develop the essential knowledge, attitudes and skills that will enable them to manage their personal safety, report abuse, understand power in relationships and develop protective strategies, including seeking help. Staff are trained in the use of the curriculum materials.
The safety, protection and wellbeing of our students is our highest priority. We value working together with our Parents, Carers and School Community to ensure this.