Steps to compliance
1. Develop and review
Develop a policy, statement or curriculum document on diversity and equality. This can be included in:
- the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy
- through a review of a school’s complaints policy and curriculum documentation.
Ensure it covers the requirements of Ministerial Order 1359:
- induction or training for staff and volunteers that make sure they understand:
- the diverse circumstances of children and students
- how to support and respond to vulnerable students
- a complaints process that is culturally safe, accessible, and easy to understand
- specific reference to how the school supports and responds to needs of vulnerable students, including:
- students with disability
- students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- students who are unable to live at home
- international students
- lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) students
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
- strategies and actions for respecting diversity and supporting and responding to vulnerable students. Examples include:
- diversity training for staff
- diversity curriculum for students
- tailoring policies and procedures to the needs to vulnerable children. These can cover complaints, bullying, student behaviour and learning.
See an explanatory note on identifying vulnerable students under ‘What does the minimum standard say?’.
The school governing authority must endorse the policy, statement or curriculum document.
- provide staff and volunteers with appropriate information through induction or training processes on how to respond to and support vulnerable students
- have complaints processes and procedures that:
- meet the diverse needs and circumstances of vulnerable children
- are available to staff, students and volunteers
- are culturally safe, accessible and easy to understand
- implement the strategies and actions to ensure vulnerable students are supported.
Examples of common non-compliance
- An outdated Inclusion and Diversity Policy that:
- references the superseded Ministerial Order 870, instead of Ministerial Order 1359
- does not take include needs of all vulnerable children identified in Ministerial Order 1359.
- The policy, statement or curriculum document does not cover the requirements listed in ‘Steps to compliance’.
- Little or no evidence of implementation of documented strategies and actions. For example, no evidence to show information is provided through induction or training processes for staff and volunteers.
- No complaints policy.
- A complaints policy and procedure that is not:
- culturally safe
- easy to understand.
Clause 9 of Ministerial Order 1359 aligns to Child Safe Standard 5 and states:
9.1 Schools and school boarding premises must ensure that equity is upheld, and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.
9.2 In complying with clause 9.1, the school governing authority or school boarding premises governing authority must, at a minimum, ensure:
- the school or school boarding premises, including staff and volunteers, understands the diverse circumstances of children and students, and provides support and responds to vulnerable children and students.
- children, students, staff, volunteers and the school community or school boarding premises community have access to information, support and complaints processes in ways that are culturally safe, accessible and easy to understand.
- the school or school boarding premises pays particular attention to the needs of students with disability, students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, students who are unable to live at home, international students, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) students.
- the school or school boarding premises pays particular attention to the needs of Aboriginal students and provides and promotes a culturally safe environment for them.
There are many ways that school staff or school boarding premises staff can determine if a child or student is vulnerable. Vulnerable children and students may include, but are not limited to, children or students who:
- are deemed vulnerable by a government agency, funded family service or family violence service, or assessed as requiring education and care outside the family home.
- are identified as vulnerable as a result of a referral from a government agency, funded family service or family violence service, homeless or youth justice service; or mental health or other health service.
- self-identify or are identified by school staff or school boarding premises staff as a member of a vulnerable cohort (for example Aboriginal children and students; children and students with disability; children and students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; children and students who are unable to live at home or are in out-of-home care; international students; and children and students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+).
Schools and school boarding premises may also need to consider a range of other factors beyond those listed above when determining whether a child or student is vulnerable.
9.3 The school governing authority or school boarding premises governing authority must develop and endorse a policy, statement or curriculum document that details the strategies and actions the school or school boarding premises will take to implement clauses 9.1 and 9.2.
There are templates available to help ensure your Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy addresses diversity and equity.
Other resources and ideas for demonstrating diversity and equity are available at:
Reviewed 24 June 2022