Child Safe Policy and Statement of Commitment


Introduction
The policy and statement of commitment affirms The German Saturday School’s commitment to child safety by clearly setting out that the school:

  • has zero tolerance for child abuse;
  • actively works to listen to and empower children;
  • has systems to protect children from abuse;
  • will take all allegations and concerns very seriously;
  • will responds to all allegations and concerns consistently in line with the stated policies and procedures; and
  • is committed to promoting cultural safety for children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, cultural safety for Aboriginal children and to providing a safe environment for children with a disability.
  • Child safe policy
    The German Saturday School Child Safe Policy is publicly available to help raise awareness about the importance of child safety within the school and demonstrate the commitment to protecting children.

    GSS commitment to child safety

  • The German Saturday School is committed to child safety.
  • The German Saturday School wants children to at all times feel and be safe, happy and empowered.
  • The German Saturday School supports and respects all children, as well as our staff and volunteers.
  • The German Saturday School is committed to the safety, participation and empowerment of all children.
  • The German Saturday School has zero tolerance of child abuse, and all allegations and safety concerns will be treated very seriously and consistently with our robust policies and procedures.
  • The German Saturday School has legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when any concerns are held about a child’s safety, and the school will follow its obligations rigorously.
  • The German Saturday School is committed to preventing child abuse and identifying risks early, and removing and reducing these risks.
  • The German Saturday School has robust human resources and recruitment practices for all staff and volunteers.
  • The German Saturday School is committed to regularly training and educating all staff and volunteers on child abuse risks.
  • The German Saturday School supports and respects all children, as well as staff and volunteers.
  • The German Saturday School is committed to the cultural safety of children from a culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, the cultural safety of Aboriginal children and to providing a safe environment for children with a disability.
  • The German Saturday School has specific policies, procedures and training in place that support the leadership team, staff and volunteers to achieve these commitments.
  • If a child is at immediate risk of abuse phone 000 without delay.

    GSS children
    This policy is intended to empower children who are vital and active participants in The German Saturday School. The German Saturday School involves children when making decisions, especially about matters that directly affect them. The German Saturday School listens to the views of children and respects what they have to say.
    The German Saturday School promotes diversity and tolerance in the organisation, and people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds are welcome. In particular we:

  • promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds;
  • promote the cultural safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal children; and
  • ensure that children with a disability are safe and can participate equally.
  • GSS staff and volunteers
    This policy guides the staff and volunteers of The German Saturday School on how to behave with children in our organisation and care.
    All of staff and volunteers must agree to abide by this policy and the code of conduct which specifies the standards of conduct required when working with children at The German Saturday School. 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 at The German Saturday School understands that child safety is everyone’s responsibility.
    The German Saturday School strives for a culture where all staff and volunteers (in addition to parents/carers and children) feel confident and comfortable in discussing any allegations of child abuse or child safety concerns. All reasonable steps are taken to provide staff and volunteers with skills to identify, assess, and minimise risks of child abuse and to detect potential signs of child abuse.
    The German Saturday School supports staff and volunteers through ongoing supervision to develop their skills to protect children from abuse and promote the cultural safety of children from linguistically and/or diverse backgrounds, the cultural safety of Aboriginal children and the safety of children with a disability.
    New employees and volunteers will be supervised to ensure they understand The German Saturday School’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 (refer to the 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.

    Recruitment
    The German Saturday School takes all reasonable steps to employ skilled people to work with children. Selection criteria and advertisements have been developed which demonstrate the commitment to education, child safety and an awareness of relevant social and legislative responsibilities. The German Saturday School understands that when recruiting staff and volunteers there are ethical as well as legal obligations.
    The German Saturday School actively encourages applications from people from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal peoples 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.
    The German Saturday School carries out reference checks and police record checks where required to ensure that the right people are being recruited for the School. Police record checks are used only for the purposes of recruitment and are discarded after the recruitment process is complete. The German Saturday School retains for its own records if an applicant’s criminal history affected our decision making process (but not retain the actual criminal record).
    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 the primary concern of The German Saturday School.
    The German Saturday School is always fair and just to personnel. The decisions made when recruiting, assessing incidents, and undertaking disciplinary action will always be thorough, transparent, and based on evidence.
    The German Saturday School records all allegations of abuse and safety concerns using incident reporting form, including investigation updates. All records are securely stored.
    If an allegation of abuse or a safety concern is raised, The German Saturday School will provide updates to children and families on the progress and any actions taken.

    Privacy
    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.
    The German Saturday School safeguards and has practices in place to ensure as best as reasonably possible that personal information is protected. Everyone providing personal information is entitled to know how this information is recorded, what will be done with it, and who will have access to it.

    Legislative responsibilities
    The German Saturday School takes its 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 or another child has committed a sexual offence against a child under 16 have an obligation to report that information to the police. (1)
    Failure to protect: People of authority in The German Saturday School 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. (2)
    Any personnel who are mandatory reporters must comply with their duties. (3)

    Risk management
    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, The German Saturday School will proactively manage risks of abuse to children attending the school.
    The German Saturday School has risk management strategies in place to identify, assess, and take steps to minimise child abuse risks, which include risks posed by physical environments and online environments (for example, staff are to use CareMonkey for communications with students and no staff or volunteer is to have contact with a child in organisations on social media).

    Regular review
    This policy will be reviewed every two years and following significant incidents if they occur. The German Saturday School will take all reasonable steps to ensure that families and children have the opportunity to contribute to the review of the policy. Where possible The German Saturday School will do its best to work with culturally and/or linguistically diverse communities, local Aboriginal communities and people with a disability.

    Allegations, concerns and complaints
    The German Saturday School takes all allegations seriously and will investigate thoroughly and quickly. Staff and volunteers are trained to respond to and deal appropriately with allegations.
    Through this policy and the code of conduct, The German Saturday School actively works 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.
    All members of The German Saturday School community have a responsibility to report an allegation of abuse if there is a reasonable belief that an incident has taken place.
    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 the child may in fact be referring to themselves);
  • behaviour consistent with that of an abuse victim is observed (4);
  • someone else has raised a suspicion of abuse but is unwilling to report it; or
  • observing suspicious behaviour.

  • Footnotes
    (1) A person will not commit this offence if they have a reasonable excuse for not disclosing the information, including a fear for their safety or where the information has already been disclosed.
    Further information about the failure to disclose offence is available on the Department of Justice and Regulation website.
    (2) Further information about the failure to protect offence is available on the Department of Justice and Regulation website.
    (3) 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.
    See the Department of Health and Human Services website for information about how to make a report to child protection.
    (4) For example behaviour, see An Overview of the Victorian child safe standards.

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    Enrolments

    Enrolments for all year levels are open for 2018. Students currently attending are guaranteed a spot; please contact us if you haven't already told us your intentions for next year.
    New families, please send us an expression of interest via our Contact form if you'd like to visit the school and classes prior to enrolling your children. Or download a 2018 enrolment form here and email it to enrol@germansaturdayschool.org.au, post it to GSS, PO Box 291, Clifton Hill LPO, Clifton Hill VIC 3068, or hand-deliver it to the school.

    Fees for 2018 will remain unchanged from 2017. Details are available on our Fee Payments Policy Page.