Steps to compliance
1. Develop or review
Ministerial Order 1359 does not mandate how schools should document strategies and actions to implement child and student empowerment. This may be a curriculum planning document or other existing document.
Schools should review — and update — their approach and documentation on child and student empowerment.
School boarding premises — even those operated by schools — must tailor the strategies and actions to the specific context of a boarding premises.
Induction or training processes for staff and volunteers allow them to:
- become ‘attuned to the signs of harm’
- support students to express their views, take part and raise concerns
- identify signs of child abuse.
Schools must keep records showing staff and volunteers have undertaken relevant induction or training.
Volunteers receive training that is appropriate to the nature and responsibilities of their role. For example, a volunteer with weekly access to children through a reading group needs a greater level of training than a volunteer who helps once a year at the school fete. See the ‘Suitable staff and volunteers’ Standard for further guidance.
- make sexual abuse prevention programs available to all students in age-appropriate ways
- inform students about their rights, including to safety, information and participation
- have strategies in place to develop a culture that:
- recognises the importance of friendship
- facilitates participation
- is responsive to student input
- take practical actions to empower students. Examples can be found under ‘Further resources’ and include:
- engaging and easy to read posters promoting student voice and agency
- providing information about how students can raise concerns
- creating opportunities for student participation
- have governing authorities that develop curriculum planning (or other documents) with strategies and actions to:
- empower children
- inform them of their rights
- help them take part in decisions affecting them.
Examples of common non-compliance
- No or limited access to sexual abuse prevention programs for students or information about their rights.
- Some staff and volunteers do not receive relevant information through induction or training processes.
- A school boarding premise assumes that the child's school covers all requirements of this Standard but the school’s documentation does not account for the specific context of a boarding premises.
- A ‘top down’ approach — child safety information published, but with no opportunity for discussion and input from children and students.
- A school is unable to produce documentation that records actions taken, such as a list of staff and volunteers that undertake training or evidence the school takes action to empower children.
Clause 7 of Ministerial Order 1359 aligns to Child Safe Standard 3 and states:
7.1 Schools and school boarding premises must ensure that children, young people and students are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.
7.2 In complying with clause 7.1, the school governing authority or school boarding premises governing authority must, at a minimum, ensure:
- children and students are informed about all of their rights, including to safety, information and participation.
- the importance of friendships is recognised and support from peers is encouraged, to help children and students feel safe and be less isolated.
- staff and volunteers are attuned to signs of harm and facilitate child-friendly ways for children and students to express their views, participate in decision-making and raise their concerns.
- schools and school boarding premises have strategies in place to develop a culture that facilitates participation and is responsive to the input of children and students.
- schools and school boarding premises provide opportunities for children and students to participate and are responsive to their contributions to strengthen confidence and engagement.
7.3 The school governing authority must ensure students are offered access to sexual abuse prevention programs and to relevant related information in an age-appropriate way.
7.4 Where relevant to the setting or context, the school boarding premises governing authority must ensure students are offered access to sexual abuse prevention programs and to relevant related information in an age-appropriate way.
7.5 The school governing authority or school boarding premises governing authority must develop curriculum planning documents or other documentation that details the strategies and actions the school or school boarding premises will take to implement clauses 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 and 7.4.
Sample training resources are available at:
Other ways to demonstrate child and student empowerment
- Give students age-appropriate information about the:
- Provide activities that encourage students to speak up about their rights and safety issues.
- Provide students with information about student complaints processes
- Provide multiple child-friendly ways to raise a complaint or concern.
Reviewed 13 January 2023