School Community Safety Order Scheme
This page contains key information about the School Community Safety Order Scheme (Scheme). This includes:
- how the Scheme provides procedural fairness to parents and carers
- the right to appeal a school community safety order (Order)
- how a parent/carer can remain involved in their child’s education when an Order has been made.
This Scheme will only apply to a very small number of people that behave unacceptably towards others in the school community. Orders may be issued to parents, carers and other adults.
If you would like help to understand this information, you can ask your school. You can also call the National Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
Protecting the rights of parents and carers
Orders should be the least limiting option
Orders are intended to be a last resort option after other options have been taken and there is no other way to manage the behaviour. This means that the authorised person must consider whether an Order is the least limiting option available.
Considering a person’s vulnerabilities or special circumstances
Before an authorised person can give an Order to someone, they must consider any known vulnerabilities of that person. See list of authorised persons.
Vulnerabilities may include having:
- limited English ability
- a disability
- a mental health condition.
You can make sure the authorised person considers your vulnerabilities or special circumstances by including this information in a submission (see next section).
Right of response to an Order
You can make a submission to the person who gave you an Order in the following circumstances:
- to tell them why an Ongoing Order shouldn’t continue or shouldn’t be made.
- to tell them why an Immediate Order that has been given to you should not continue.
You can choose to share how your behaviour was influenced by your vulnerability or other reason. You can explain how an Order would impact you or your child.
You can also ask another person to make a submission for you. This could include an advocate, a family member or translator/interpreter.
Right to appeal an ongoing order
For more information about your right to appeal an ongoing order made against you, see section below on ‘Appealing an ongoing school community safety order’.
Orders can only be issued by senior leaders who have received training and guidance
People who can make Orders have been carefully selected. Only senior leaders in schools and school administration who have the appropriate skills and experience can use these powers. Authorised persons will have a range of supports to guide them through their decision to make an order. This includes guidelines and training, which they need to complete before making an ongoing order.
Adjustments for people from diverse backgrounds
Authorised persons need to make adjustments for people from diverse backgrounds so they understand their Order. This may include people with low literacy, low English ability or from linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Fact sheets for parents and carers written in simple English and translated into 30 languages can be accessed at the bottom of this page.
Remaining involved in your child’s education
Authorised persons must think about how an Order would impact your child before making an Order. Impacts could relate to your child’s safety, wellbeing and educational opportunities. They need to make sure Orders have minimal impact on your child.
If a decision is made to give you an Order as a parent or carer, it will include a communication and access protocol. This will note ways you can still communicate with the school about your child’s education. If part of the order means you cannot take your child to or from school or school activities, the protocol may outline other arrangements.
Your continued right to raise issues or complaints with your school
The scheme is not designed to silence parents and carers. It is also not designed to prevent them from raising any issues or complaints with your school. You can still raise these as long as they are communicated respectfully and in a reasonable manner.
For more information on how to raise complaints respectfully at your school, refer to the Respectful Behaviours within the School Community Policy.
Protecting your privacy
Schools must follow privacy laws and relevant policies when storing, sharing or handling personal information about an Order. They must make sure only people who must know about an Order become aware of it. This may include your child’s classroom teacher or reception staff.
Appealing an ongoing school community safety order
This information applies to ongoing orders only. Immediate orders will always be reviewed as soon as possible to decide whether they should continue.
If you have been given an ongoing order, you can apply for an ‘internal review’ of the order. This means your order will be reviewed by a person other than the person who made the order.
You can choose to seek an internal review if:
- you do not agree that the ongoing order should have been made
- you have asked the authorised person to change something in the order but your request has been denied
- the authorised person has changed the order and you do not agree with the changes
- the authorised person has decided to not cancel the order when you asked them to.
The Ongoing Order remains in place while it is being reviewed.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of the internal review, you may ask for an external review of the internal review decision at the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). You can find more information about this in the letter given to you by the internal reviewer.
Process for applying for appealing an ongoing order
The steps below provide the process to follow if you wish to apply to appeal an ongoing order. These steps are the internal review procedures for government schools, for the purpose of section 2.1A.29 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006.
The Internal Review Fact Sheet and Application Form includes additional information about the appeal process for parents and carers of government schools.
If your child attends a non-government school, you should ask your school what process to follow if you wish to appeal an ongoing order.
- Your school may give you an application form to fill out so you can request to appeal an ongoing order. You can let them know:
- what outcome you would like
- why they should decide to make a decision in your favour
- any special considerations that need to be taken into account, such as an explanation of what may have contributed to the behaviour that led to the order being made, which person who made the order may not have taken into account
- the impact on you and/or your child if you are not successful in getting your desired outcome
- if you need help from an interpreter or support person.
- Your school is then required to pass on your application to the internal reviewer(s). The internal reviewer(s) is independent, objective and should not have been previously involved with making the decision to make or change an order. In government schools, the internal reviewer is the Department of Education and Training. If your child goes to a non-government school, you can ask your school who the internal reviewer(s) is.
- You can ask your school who to contact to understand more about the process or to submit extra information to the internal reviewer(s). You can ask to communicate this information verbally to the internal reviewer(s). You can also get help from a family member, advocate, interpreter, support worker, lawyer or another person to provide this information or to help or represent you throughout this process or come along with you to any meetings.
- The internal reviewer(s) can take up to 28 days for a decision to be made from when you applied for appeal. This time is used to carefully consider the relevant facts and the reasons why an order was made.
This period can be extended by another 28 days by you or the internal reviewer(s). If the internal reviewer(s) has requested more information from you, the time you take to respond will not be counted towards the 28 day period.
- The internal reviewer can either agree with, change or overturn the original decision. When a decision is made, you will be notified by email or mail. You will also receive a copy of the reasons for the internal review outcome to help you understand the decision made and information on your right to seek an external review of the decision.
If you disagree with the outcome of the internal review, you can apply to VCAT for external review of the decision. This may involve paying an application fee to VCAT. More information about applying to VCAT can be found here. If you wish to contact VCAT, you can do so on 1300 018 228 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building a positive relationship with your school
Every member of the school community has a responsibility to behave positively and respectfully with others. When parents, carers and school staff work together as one team, they create an environment where the child feels safe and supported. The child’s learning and wellbeing needs can then be met.
Refer to the guidance available to help you keep a positive relationship with your school. Read the Respectful Behaviours within the School Community Policy to learn more about how to help create strong relationships and what behaviours are unacceptable in schools.
- Building a positive relationship with your child’s school page, which includes information to help you make sure that your child feels supported at their school, and your role in this.
- Respectful Behaviours within the School Community Policy, which outlines the shared roles of parents, carers and school staff in making a positive environment for learning.
- Looking after your child’s wellbeing, a resource containing guidance on how to help build and sustain your child’s wellbeing and keep a positive relationship with them.
- Looking after your child’s mental health, information and support to help you see early signs of mental health issues.
- Quick guide to supporting students with disability – resources for parents and carers (Word) for key information, guidance and resources for supporting students with disability.
- Parent Line for general parenting advice – 13 22 89
- Beyond Blue for mental health support – 1300 22 4636
- Victoria Legal Aid for free legal advice – 1300 792 387