Child Safety

State schools have a moral and legal responsibility to create nurturing school environments where children and young people are respected, their voices are heard, they feel safe and they are safe.

The following principles underpin our commitment to child safety at Essendon Primary School

 - All students deserve, as a fundamental right, safety and protection from all forms of abuse and neglect.
 - Our school works in partnership with families and the community to ensure that they are engaged in decision-making processes, particularly those that have an impact on child safety and protection.
 - All students have the right to a thorough and systematic education in all aspects of personal safety, in partnership with their parents/guardians/caregivers.
 - All adults in our school, including teaching and non-teaching staff, volunteers and contractors as well as the broader school community have a responsibility to care for children and young people, to positively promote their wellbeing and to protect them from any kind of harm or abuse.
 - The policies, guidelines and codes of conduct for the care, wellbeing and protection of students are based on honest, respectful and trusting relationships between adults and children and young people.
 - Policies and practices demonstrate compliance with legislative requirements and cooperation with governments, the police and human services agencies.
 - All persons involved in situations where harm is suspected or disclosed must be treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect.
 - Staff, volunteers, contractors, parents/guardians/caregivers and students should feel free to raise concerns about child safety, knowing these will be taken seriously by school leadership.

All students enrolled at Essendon Primary School have the right to feel safe and be safe. The wellbeing of children in our care will always be our first priority and we do not and will not tolerate child abuse. We aim to create a child-safe and child-friendly environment where children are free to enjoy life to the full without any concern for their safety. There is particular attention paid to the most vulnerable children, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and children with a disability.

Responsibility Committment
Everyone employed or volunteering at Essendon PS has a responsibility to understand the important and specific role he/she plays individually and collectively to ensure that the wellbeing and safety of all students is at the forefront of all they do and every decision they make.

The principal, the school governing authority and school leaders at Essendon PS recognise their particular responsibility to ensure the development of preventative and proactive strategies that promote a culture of openness, awareness of and shared responsibility for child safety. Responsibilities include:

  - creating an environment for children and young people to be safe and to feel safe
  - upholding high principles and standards for all staff, volunteers, and contractors
  - promoting models of behaviour between adults and children and young people based on mutual respect and consideration
  - ensuring thorough and rigorous practices are applied in the recruitment, screening and ongoing professional learning of staff
  - ensuring that school personnel have regular and appropriate learning to develop their knowledge of, openness to and ability to address child safety matters
  - providing regular opportunities to clarify and confirm legislative obligations, policy and procedures in relation to child and young people's protection and wellbeing
  - ensuring the school meets the specific requirements of the Victorian Child Safe Standards as set out in Ministerial Order No. 870

Responsibilities of school staff (school employees, volunteers and contractors) include:

  - treating children and young people with dignity and respect, acting with propriety, providing a duty of care, and protecting children and young people in their care
  - following the legislative and internal school processes in the course of their work, if they form a reasonable belief that a child or young person has been or is being abused or neglected
  - providing a physically and psychologically safe environment where the wellbeing of children and young people is nurtured
  - undertaking regular training and education in order to understand their individual responsibilities in relation to child safety and the wellbeing of children and young people
  - assisting children and young people to develop positive, responsible and caring attitudes and behaviours which recognise the rights of all people to be safe and free from abuse
  - following the school's Child Safety Code of Conduct.

At Essendon PS we are committed to continuous improvement of our child safety systems and practices. We intend the Essendon Primary School Child Safety Policy to be a dynamic document that will be regularly reviewed to ensure it is working in practice and updated to accommodate changes in legislation or circumstance.  This policy applies to all staff, all students and all volunteers at all times.  It is intended to be reviewed each year to ensure all staff are familiar with the requirements. 

The Essendon Primary School Child Safety Code of Conduct

The protection of children and young persons is the responsibility of all adult members of the Essendon Primary School community including staff, School Council members, parents, volunteers, contractors and visitors. We all share responsibility for promoting the wellbeing and safety of children and must behave appropriately towards them when they are in our actual or virtual presence.

We expect school employees, School Council members, parents, volunteers, contractors and visitors to proactively ensure the safety of students at all times and to take appropriate action if there are concerns about the safety of any child at the school.  All school employees must remain familiar with the relevant laws, the code of conduct, and policies and procedures in relation to child protection and to comply with all requirements.  Essendon Primary School has developed a Child Safety Code of Conduct, which recognises the critical role all members of the school community play in protecting students in our care and establishes clear expectations of school employees, School Council members, parents, volunteers, contractors and visitors for appropriate behaviour with children.  This code of Conduct aims to protect children in order to safeguard them against abuse, neglect and/or harm.
All adult members of the school community, school employees, School Council members, parents, volunteers, contractors and visitors at Essendon PS are expected to actively contribute to a school culture that respects the dignity of its members and follows the school's core values. They are required to observe child safe principles and expectations for appropriate behaviour towards and in the company of children, as noted below. The Principal and Leadership Team of Essendon PS will provide information and support to enable the code of conduct to operate effectively.