Parents are encouraged to be involved in their children's education.
Our school functions best with your support!!! Throughout the year there will be many ways you could offer your help … so many hats to wear – so many opportunities.
- Parents & Friends Association
- Sports Carnivals
- Social Gatherings / Fundraising Activities/ Fete
- Working Bees
- Sacramental Preparation / Celebration
Whatever your talent, we welcome your contribution and extend an invitation to you to participate in your child’s education.
Catholic schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle are committed to providing safe environments for students. Whilst we have a legal obligation to protect children, this commitment is central to our Catholic beliefs. At St Pius X Primary School we believe that all children have a right to a safe environment which is free from any form of abuse or harm. At St Pius X, relationships between adults and children are governed by trust and Gospel values.
Schools in NSW are required to meet the statutory obligations of legislation relating to child protection. Schools in this diocese are required to uphold the policies and guidelines set out by the Catholic Schools Office.
This legislation includes:
- The Ombudsman Amendment (Child Protection and Community Services) Act, 1998
- The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998
- Commission for Children and Young People Act, 1998
Catholic Schools Office documents include:
- Child Protection – Identifying and Notifying Abuse
- Guidelines for the Implementation of the Ombudsman Amendment Act
- Child Protection – Procedures for Schools
- Code of Professional Standards for Catholic School Employees
Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act
This legislation establishes a shared responsibility for the protection of children. Teachers have a legal responsibility to report a child or young person who is at risk of harm. This means that staff at St Pius X Primary School Windale are required by law to make a report to the Department of Community Services when they have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child or young person is at risk of harm from abuse or neglect. This includes physical, sexual and psychological abuse, exposure to domestic/family violence, homelessness or the inability of the parents to provide appropriate medical care for the child or young person.
Child Protection and Volunteers
Being a volunteer in a school is an important task. St Pius X Primary School would not be able to function as well as we do without the contribution made by the myriad of volunteers who so generously give of their time and expertise. Unfortunately, history has shown us that some adults put themselves in situations where they can use their positions of trust and power to harm children. This history has resulted in legislation in NSW which aims to protect children from abuse.
The legislation that applies specifically to volunteers includes:
- Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998
- NSW Ombudsman Act 1974
Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998
This legislation was enacted as a recommendation of the 1997 Wood Royal Commission. Under this legislation, in a school context, ‘employees’ include all persons, paid or unpaid, who have direct, unsupervised contact with children or young people through any aspect of their work in, or for, the school. It aims to protect children and young people from contact with people who have been convicted of the following:
- serious sex offence;
- child-related personal violence;
- murder of a child;
- indecency offences punishable by imprisonment of 12 months or more;
- kidnapping (unless the offender is or has been the child’s parent or carer);
- offences connected with child prostitution;
- possession, distribution or publication of child pornography; or
- attempt, conspiracy or incitement to commit the above offences.
A prohibited person includes a Registrable person under the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000.
Examples of ‘employees’ who perform a task for the school include, but are not limited to:
- volunteers assisting in classrooms, e.g. reading or library helpers;
- those attending a “working bee”;
- persons providing transport on the request of the school;
- anyone assisting in the school canteen;
- people assisting with camps, retreats, community days and excursions;
- religious and clergy who attend the school for liturgies, retreats or services.
All volunteers are required to complete a Prohibited Employment Declaration prior to commencing as a volunteer. Declarations are available from the Office Staff. Volunteers must read the Declaration, sign it and return it to the School Office for processing. A 100 point check of identification now applies to such forms.
It is very important for volunteers to read the Declaration before signing as it is an offence for a prohibited person to apply for, undertake, or remain in child-related employment.
Volunteers not willing to provide a Prohibited Employment Declaration are not permitted to undertake any duties in the school.
A volunteer who has any doubts about his/her status should seek independent legal advice.
NSW Ombudsman Act 1974
This Act guides the Catholic Schools Office and school’s response when a child protection allegation has been made against an employee. It applies to paid and unpaid employees (volunteers) in schools.
The Act requires the school to notify allegations that constitute sexual offences, misconduct, assault, ill-treatment, neglect and behaviour that causes psychological harm to children to the Diocesan Child Protection and Professional Conduct Unit (DCPPCU).
Once the allegation is received by the DCPPCU it is reported to the Ombudsman’s Office. The DCPPCU then conducts an investigation into the allegation. The investigation gathers facts relevant to the allegation and arrives at a finding at its conclusion. The process of investigation provides the employee with an opportunity to respond to the allegation and have the response heard. All evidence is considered before a decision is made in regard to the finding.
Further information about this process is available from the DCPPCU, known as Zimmerman House - 4979 1390.
SAFE SCHOOL FRAMEWORK
At St Pius X, we are committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our pupils so they can learn in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at our school. If bullying does occur, all pupils should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. We are a TELLING school. This means that anyone who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell the staff.
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is the planned use of aggression with the intention of hurting another person. Bullying results in pain and distress to the victim.
Bullying can be:
- Emotional being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting (e.g. hiding books, threatening gestures)
- Physical pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence
- Racist racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
- Sexual unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments
- Homophobic because of, or focussing on the issue of sexuality
- Verbal name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing
- Cyber All areas of internet ,such as email & internet chat room misuse
Mobile threats by text messaging & calls
Misuse of associated technology , i.e. camera & video facilities
Why is it Important to Respond to Bullying?
Bullying hurts. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect. Pupils who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving.
At St Pius X we have a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying. In situations where bullying occurs our Discipline Policy will be enacted.
Communication between class and home may take the form of individual meetings, called by either teacher or parent, or be whole class oriented.
Under new legislation set down by the Federal Government schools are required to report in writing to parents twice per year. Reports will be sent home at the end of Terms 2 and 4. Interviews with parents will be made available after reports are published.