The Leongatha Secondary College Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy demonstrates our school’s commitment to creating and maintaining a child safe and child-friendly organisation, where children and young people are safe and feel safe. 

    This policy provides an overview of our school’s approach to implementing Ministerial Order 1359 (PDF, 363KB) which sets out how the Victorian Child Safe Standards apply in school environments. 

    It informs our school community of everyone’s obligations to act safely and appropriately towards children and guides our processes and practices for the safety and wellbeing of students across all areas of our work.


    This policy:

    • applies to all school staff, volunteers and contractors whether or not they work in direct contact with students. It also applies to school council members where indicated.
    • applies in all physical and online school environments used by students during or outside of school hours, including other locations provided by for a student’s use (for example, a school camp) and those provided through third-party providers
    • should be read together with our other child safety and wellbeing policies, procedures, and codes – refer to the related school policies section below.



    The following terms in this policy have specific definitions:

    • child
    • child safety
    • child abuse
    • child-connected work
    • child-related work
    • school environment
    • school boarding environment
    • school staff
    • school boarding premises staff
    • school governing authority
    • school boarding premises governing authority
    • student
    • volunteer

    Statement of commitment to child safety

    Leongatha Secondary College is a child safe organisation which welcomes all children, young people and their families.

    We are committed to providing environments where our students are safe and feel safe, where their participation is valued, their views respected, and their voices are heard about decisions that affect their lives. Our child safe policies, strategies and practices are inclusive of the needs of all children and students.

    We have no tolerance for child abuse and take proactive steps to identify and manage any risks of harm to students in our school environments.

    We promote positive relationships between students and adults and between students and their peers. These relationships are based on trust and respect.

    We take proactive steps to identify and manage any risk of harm to students in our school environment. When child safety concerns are raised or identified, we treat these seriously and respond promptly and thoroughly.

    Particular attention is given to the child safety needs of Aboriginal students, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, international students, students with disabilities, those unable to live at home, children and young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) and other students experiencing risk or vulnerability. Inappropriate or harmful behaviour targeting students based on these or other characteristics, such as racism or homophobia, are not tolerated at our school, and any instances identified will be addressed with appropriate consequences.

    Child safety is a shared responsibility. Every person involved in our school has an important role in promoting child safety and wellbeing and promptly raising any issues or concerns about a child’s safety.

    We are committed to regularly reviewing our child safe practices, and seeking input from our students, families, staff, and volunteers to inform our ongoing strategies.


    Roles and responsibilities

    School leadership team

    Our school leadership team (comprising the principal, assistant principals) is responsible for ensuring that a strong child safe culture is created and maintained, and that policies and practices are effectively developed and implemented in accordance with Ministerial Order 1359.

    Principals and assistant principals will:

    • ensure effective child safety and wellbeing governance, policies, procedures, codes and practices are in place and followed
    • model a child safe culture that facilitates the active participation of students, families and staff in promoting and improving child safety, cultural safety and wellbeing
    • enable inclusive practices where the diverse needs of all students are considered
    • reinforce high standards of respectful behaviour between students and adults, and between students
    • promote regular open discussion on child safety issues within the school community including at leadership team meetings, staff meetings and school council meetings
    • facilitate regular professional learning for staff and volunteers (where appropriate) to build deeper understandings of child safety, cultural safety, student wellbeing and prevention of responding to abuse
    • create an environment where child safety complaints and concerns are readily raised, and no one is discouraged from reporting an allegation of child abuse to relevant authorities.

    School staff and volunteers

    All staff and volunteers will:

    • participate in child safety and wellbeing induction and training provided by the school or the Department of Education and Training, and always follow the school’s child safety and wellbeing policies and procedures
    • act in accordance with our Child Safety Code of Conduct
    • identify and raise concerns about child safety issues in accordance with our Child Safety Responding and Reporting Obligations Policy and Procedures, including following the Four Critical Actions for Schools
    • ensure students’ views are taken seriously and their voices are heard about decisions that affect their lives
    • implement inclusive practices that respond to the diverse needs of students.

    School council

    In performing the functions and powers given to them under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, school council members will:

    • champion and promote a child safe culture with the broader school community
    • ensure that child safety is a regular agenda item at school council meetings undertake annual training on child safety, approve updates to, and act in accordance with the Child Safety Code of Conduct to the extent that it applies to school council employees and members
    • when hiring school council employees, ensure that selection, supervision, and management practices are child safe (“At our school, school council employment duties are delegated to the principal who is bound by this policy”).


    Specific staff child safety responsibilities


    Leongatha Secondary College has nominated a child safety champion – the Wellbeing Coordinator to support the principal to implement our child safety policies and practices, including staff and volunteer training.

    The responsibilities of the child safety champion are outlined at Guidance for child safety champions.

    Our Principal and Wellbeing Coordinator are the first point of contact for child safety concerns or queries and for coordinating responses to child safety incidents.

    • The Principal and Wellbeing Coordinator are responsible for monitoring the school’s compliance with the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy. Anyone in our school community should approach the Principal if they have any concerns about the school’s compliance with the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy.
    • The Principal  is responsible for informing the school community about this policy, and making it publicly available
    • Other specific roles and responsibilities are named in other child safety policies and procedures, including the Child Safety Code of Conduct, Child Safety Responding and Reporting Obligations (including Mandatory Reporting) Policy and Procedures, and Child Safety Risk Register.

    Our school has also established a Child Safety and Wellbeing Team and a Student Reference Group on child safety which is incorporated through the Respectful Relationships Team. The Child Safety and Wellbeing Team meet regularly to identify and respond to any ongoing matters related to child safety and wellbeing. The Student Reference Group provides an opportunity for students to provide input into school strategies.

    Our Risk Management Committee monitors the Child Safety Risk Register.

    Child Safety Code of Conduct

    Our Child Safety Code of Conduct sets the boundaries and expectations for appropriate behaviours between adults and students. It also clarifies behaviours that are not acceptable in our physical and online environments.

    We ensure that students also know what is acceptable and what is not acceptable so that they can be clear and confident about what to expect from adults in the school.

    The Child Safety Code of Conduct also includes processes to report inappropriate behaviour.

    Managing risks to child safety and wellbeing

    At our school we identify, assess and manage risks to child safety and wellbeing in our physical and online school environments. These risks are managed through our child safety and wellbeing policies, procedures and practices, and in our activity specific risk registers, such as those we develop for off-site overnight camps, adventure activities and facilities and services we contract through third party providers for student use.

    Our Child Safety Risk Register is used to record any identified risks related to child abuse alongside actions in place to manage those risks. Our school leadership team will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the actions in the Child Safety Risk Register at least annually.


    Establishing a culturally safe environment

    At Leongatha Secondary College, we are committed to establishing an inclusive and culturally safe school where the strengths of Aboriginal culture, values and practices are respected.

    We think about how every student can have a positive experience in a safe environment. For Aboriginal students, we recognise the link between Aboriginal culture, identity and safety and actively create opportunities for Aboriginal students and the Aboriginal community to have a voice and presence in our school planning, policies, and activities.

    We have developed the following strategies to promote cultural safety in our school community:

    Build a strong school culture to support cultural inclusion:

    • Begin events and meetings with a Welcome to Country or an Acknowledgement of Country as a standing agenda item.
    • Fly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags on school grounds.
    • Make Aboriginal voice part of decision making in matters that affect Aboriginal students. Be open to different ways of doing and expressing things.
    • Build school wide knowledge of Aboriginal histories, cultures, perspectives, values, skills and attitudes.

    ​​Provide a welcoming environment for Aboriginal children:

    • Ask for feedback from Aboriginal students and their families about what the school does well, and what can be improved.
    • Use Koorie Engagement Support Officers (KESOs) to provide advice to our college about creating culturally inclusive learning environments.

    Actively address racism:

    • Express zero tolerance of racism in your statement of commitment to child safety included in your Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy and other documents.
    • Address racism from students, staff, volunteers or visitors directly. Make sure racist speech or actions are always dealt with, and the culture of the school works to prevent incidents from occurring.

    Guide and train staff and volunteers:

    Build knowledge of Aboriginal culture in school planning and curriculum

    Recognise key events and anniversaries

    Student empowerment

    To support child safety and wellbeing at Leongatha Secondary College, we work to create an inclusive and supportive environment that encourages students and families to contribute to our child safety approach and understand their rights and their responsibilities.

    Respectful relationships between students are reinforced and we encourage strong friendships and peer support in the school to ensure a sense of belonging by implementing our whole school approach to Respectful Relationships, our student Code of Conduct, and our Effective Teacher and Learner Traits (college values)

    We inform students of their rights through our whole school approach to Respectful Relationships and give them the skills and confidence to recognise unsafe situations with adults or other students and to speak up and act on concerns relating to themselves or their peers. We ensure our students know who to talk to if they are worried or feeling unsafe and we encourage them to share concerns with a trusted adult at any time. Students and families can also access information on how to report concerns at the college website.

    When the school is gathering information in relation to a complaint about alleged misconduct or abuse of a child, we will listen to the complainant’s account and take them seriously, check our understanding of the complaint, support the student and keep them (and their parents and carers, as appropriate) informed about progress.

    Family engagement

    Our families and the school community have an important role in monitoring and promoting children’s safety and wellbeing and helping children to raise any concerns.

    To support family engagement, at Leongatha Secondary College we are committed to providing families and community with accessible information about our school’s child safe policies and practices and involving them in our approach to child safety and wellbeing.

    We will create opportunities for families to have input into the development and review of our child safety policies and practices and encourage them to raise any concerns and ideas for improvement.

    We do this by:

    • all of our child safety policies and procedures will be available for students and parents on the college website or by contacting the School Office.
    • Compass will inform families and the school community about any significant updates to our child safety policies or processes, and strategies or initiatives that we are taking to ensure student safety.
    • PROTECT Child Safety posters will be displayed across the school

    Diversity and equity

    As a child safe organisation, we celebrate the rich diversity of our students, families and community and promote respectful environments that are free from discrimination. Our focus is on wellbeing and growth for all.

    We recognise that every child has unique skills, strengths and experiences to draw on.

    We pay particular attention to individuals and groups of children and young people in our community with additional and specific needs. This includes tailoring our child safety strategies and supports to the needs of:

    • Aboriginal children and young people
    • children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
    • children and young people with disabilities
    • children unable to live at home or impacted by family violence
    • international students
    • children and young people who identify as LGBTIQ+.

    Our Student Wellbeing and Engagement Policy provides more information about the measures we have in place to support diversity and equity.

    Other school strategies and actions aimed to support diversity and equity at Leongatha Secondary College, include”

    Recognise the diverse backgrounds, needs and circumstances of students:

    • Recognise the range of diverse student and family attributes. Paying attention to:
      • cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
      • the needs of students with disability and responses to disability
      • the needs of students from diverse religious and cultural communities
      • the needs of very young students and children
      • the impact of prior trauma
      • gender differences
      • the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) students
      • challenges for students who are in foster care, out of home care, living away from home or international students
      • students experiencing pregnancy or who are young parents
      • socio-economic factors (experiencing family homelessness, insecure employment or accommodation, individual or family contact with the justice system, poverty, addiction, low educational attainment, remote or regional isolation).

    Identify and address challenges that students experience due to their diverse attributes

    • Communicate that discrimination and bullying are not tolerated – if incidents of bullying or discrimination occur, address the incident in line with school policy.
    • Let students know they can raise concerns or report incidents that occurred at school and outside the school.
    • Check in with vulnerable students and their families to confirm their needs are being met.
    • Engage genuinely with students. Find out what matters to them, what they know and don’t know about safety, and what they need to be safe and feel safe.
    • Validate students’ feelings. Students may feel that they have not been listened to or believed in the past.

    Put in place policies and strategies to help meet the diverse needs of students

    • Ensure school environments are welcoming and inclusive by decorating the school with artistic expressions from students and young people.
    • Provide staff and volunteers with training to identify and address racism, bullying and discrimination.
    • Create opportunities to remind staff and volunteers about student diversity and accommodating students and young people’s needs.
    • Seek out expert advice as needed to support inclusion, such as an occupational therapist, speech pathologist, provision planning.


    Support diversity through school planning and resources

    • Recognise dates that connect with your school community
    • Compile a range of age-appropriate instructional materials for exploring differences and similarities in class including:
      • Resilience Rights and Respectful Relationships resources
      • Books, and resources that reflect diverse views and perspectives
    • Use images of students with diverse characteristics in school publications to reflect the school community.


    Suitable staff and volunteers

    At Leongatha Secondary College, we apply robust child safe recruitment, induction, training, and supervision practices to ensure that all staff, contractors, and volunteers are suitable to work with children.

    Staff recruitment

    When recruiting staff, we follow the Department of Education and Training’s recruitment policies and guidelines, available on the Policy and Advisory Library (PAL) at:


    When engaging staff to perform child-related work, we:

    • sight, verify and record the person’s Working with Children clearance or equivalent background check such as a Victorian teaching registration
    • collect and record:
      • proof of the person’s identity and any professional or other qualifications
      • the person’s history of working with children
      • references that address suitability for the job and working with children.
      • references that address suitability for the job and working with children.

    Staff induction

    All newly appointed staff will be expected to participate in our child safety and wellbeing induction program. The program will include a focus on:

    • the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy (this document)
    • the Child Safety Code of Conduct
    • the Child Safety Responding and Reporting Obligations (including Mandatory Reporting) Policy and Procedures and
    • any other child safety and wellbeing information that school leadership considers appropriate to the nature of the role.

    Ongoing supervision and management of staff

    All staff engaged in child-connected work will be supervised appropriately to ensure that their behaviour towards children is safe and appropriate.

    Staff will be monitored and assessed to ensure their continuing suitability for child-connected work. This will be done by regular performance reviews.

    Inappropriate behaviour towards children and young people will be managed swiftly and in accordance with our school and department policies and our legal obligations. Child safety and wellbeing will be paramount.

    Robust recruitment and screening:

    • Consider including students in the recruitment process to provide an authentic opportunity for them to have a say about decisions that impact them.


    • Ensure recruitment advertisements for staff in child connected work contain:
      • the job’s requirements, including expected knowledge of child development appropriate to the role
      • an outline of duties and responsibilities regarding child safety and wellbeing
      • essential or relevant qualifications, experience and attributes in relation to child safety and wellbeing.
    • Provide all job applicants with the school’s Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy and Child Safety Code of Conduct and links to child safety resources.


    • Include selection criteria relevant to the role, such as:
      • experience working with children, or particular groups of children, including children with a disability or Aboriginal children
      • engaging with families
      • child safety experience
      • cultural safety in their work.
    • Screen all staff, volunteers, leaders and school governing board members for their suitability during recruitment.


    • Think carefully about who will be on the interview panel and ensure panel members have the right skills, experience and information to perform their role.
    • Develop questions about child safety in job interviews.
    • Seek referees for both staff and volunteers as appropriate, including their last employer, and overseas referees if they’ve worked overseas.
    • Ask referees about the person’s character and experience in working directly with children and young people.

    Supervision and people management focused on child safety and wellbeing:

    • Give people managers guidance on steps to take when managing a staff member whose behaviour raises child safety concerns, and when to escalate concerns about staff behaviour.
    • Provide refresher child safe training for staff and volunteers.
    • Include child safety and wellbeing as a regular agenda item for staff meetings at all levels of the organisation.

    Training and support to uphold child safety:

    • Train all staff and volunteers as appropriate to their roles, on topics such as:
      • child safety (including family violence)
      • mandatory reporting
      • responding to student sexual offending
      • human rights and the rights of children
      • diversity and inclusion
      • harassment and bullying
      • cultural safety
      • privacy and information sharing.
    • Cover important topics in our child safety training, including:
      • risk factors and signs of harm, including intentional and unintentional harm, physical or emotional harm, bullying or cyberbullying, abuse and neglect
      • how to identify and respond to child safety risks, especially for vulnerable students
      • how to facilitate child-friendly ways for students to express their views, participate in decision making and raise concerns
      • how to engage with families to support student’s safety and wellbeing
      • how to appropriately handle or share sensitive information relating to a child’s wellbeing health or safety.


    Suitability of volunteers

    All volunteers are required to comply with our Volunteers Policy, which describes how we assess the suitability of prospective volunteers and outlines expectations in relation to child safety and wellbeing induction and training, and supervision and management.

    Child safety knowledge, skills and awareness

    Ongoing training and education are essential to ensuring that staff understand their roles and responsibilities and develop their capacity to effectively address child safety and wellbeing matters.

    In addition to the child safety and wellbeing induction, our staff will participate in a range of training and professional learning to equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary to maintain a child safe environment.

    Staff child safety and wellbeing training will be delivered at least annually and will include guidance on:

    • our school’s child safety and wellbeing policies, procedures, codes, and practices
    • completing the Protecting Children – Mandatory Reporting and Other Legal Obligations online module annually
    • recognising indicators of child harm including harm caused by other children and students
    • responding effectively to issues of child safety and wellbeing and supporting colleagues who disclose harm
    • how to build culturally safe environments for children and students
    • information sharing and recordkeeping obligations
    • how to identify and mitigate child safety and wellbeing risks in the school environment.

    Other professional learning and training on child safety and wellbeing, for example, training for our volunteers, will be tailored to specific roles and responsibilities and any identified or emerging needs or issues.


    School council training and education

    To ensure our school council is equipped with the knowledge required to make decisions in the best interests of student safety and wellbeing, and to identify and mitigate child safety and wellbeing risks in our school environment, the council is trained at least annually. Training includes guidance on:

    • individual and collective obligations and responsibilities for implementing the Child Safe Standards and managing the risk of child abuse
    • child safety and wellbeing risks in our school environment
    • Leongatha Secondary College child safety and wellbeing policies, procedures, codes and practices

    Complaints and reporting processes

    Leongatha Secondary College fosters a culture that encourages staff, volunteers, students, parents, and the school community to raise concerns and complaints. This makes it more difficult for breaches of the code of conduct, misconduct or abuse to occur and remain hidden.

    We have clear pathways for raising complaints and concerns and responding and this is documented in our school’s Complaint Policy. The Complaints Policy can be found here.

    If there is an incident, disclosure, allegation or suspicion of child abuse, all staff and volunteers (including school council employees and homestay providers) must follow our Child Safety Responding and Reporting Obligations Policy and Procedures. Our policy and procedures address complaints and concerns of child abuse made by or in relation to a child or student, school staff, volunteers, contractors, service providers, visitors or any other person while connected to the school.

    As soon as any immediate health and safety concerns are addressed, and relevant school staff have been informed, we will ensure our school follows:

    Our Student Wellbeing and Engagement Policy and Bullying Prevention Policy cover complaints and concerns relating to student physical violence or other harmful behaviours.

    Privacy and information sharing

    Leongatha Secondary College collects, uses, and discloses information about children and their families in accordance with Victorian privacy laws, and other relevant laws. For information on how our school collects, uses and discloses information refer to: Schools’ Privacy Policy.

    Records management

    We acknowledge that good records management practices are a critical element of child safety and wellbeing and manage our records in accordance with the Department of Education and Training’s policy: Records Management – School Records

    Review of child safety practices

    At Leongatha Secondary College, we have established processes for the review and ongoing improvement of our child safe policies, procedures, and practices.

    We will:

    • review and improve our policy every 2 years or after any significant child safety incident
    • analyse any complaints, concerns, and safety incidents to improve policy and practice
    • act with transparency and share pertinent learnings and review outcomes with school staff and our school community.

    Policy status and review

    The Principal is responsible for reviewing and updating the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy at least every two years. The review will include input from students, parents/carers and the school council community.


    Leongatha Secondary College is committed to communicating our child safety strategies to the school community through:

    • ensuring that key child safety and wellbeing policies are available on our website including the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy (this document), Child Safety Code of Conduct, and the Child Safety Responding and Reporting Obligations (including Mandatory Reporting) Policy and Procedure
    • displaying PROTECT posters around the school
    • updates via our Compass portal
    • ensuring that child safety is a regular agenda item at school leadership meetings, staff meetings and school council meetings.

    Further information and resources

    Related policies and procedures

    This Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy is to be read in conjunction with other related school policies, procedures, and codes. These include our:

    • Bullying Prevention Policy
    • Child Safety Responding and Reporting Obligations Policy and Procedures
    • Child Safety Code of Conduct
    • Complaints Policy
    • Digital Learning Policy
    • Inclusion and Diversity Policy
    • Student Wellbeing and Engagement Policy
    • Visitors Policy
    • Volunteers Policy

    Related Department of Education and Training policies

    Other related documents