Department of Education Learners first, connected and inspired. Professional Standards for Staff. Guidelines. Department of Education

Save this PDF as:
 WORD  PNG  TXT  JPG

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "Department of Education Learners first, connected and inspired. Professional Standards for Staff. Guidelines. Department of Education"

Transcription

1 Department of Education Learners first, connected and inspired Professional Standards for Staff Guidelines Department of Education

2 Professional Standards for Staff Guidelines Introduction All students have a right to a safe physical and emotional environment. The department s Learners First Strategy includes the values of Respect and Relationships. Respect Positive and effective interactions, with each other and with our environment, are conducted on the basis of responsibility, integrity and accountability. Relationships We achieve growth and strength through partnerships and connections with our learners, their communities and the world. The department s Respectful Schools and Workplaces Framework promotes and shares knowledge and understandings in positive and respectful ways that celebrate our successes and model our commitment to safe and inclusive learning environments and workplaces. Employees are expected to always behave in ways that promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of students. Employees must actively seek to prevent harm to students, and to support those who have been harmed. Employee interactions with students must be professional at all times. Employees should establish clear professional boundaries with students that serve to protect everyone from misunderstanding or a violation of the professional relationship. While not all employees are required to interact with students, it is important that all departmental employees read and understand these guidelines and the Professional Standards for Staff Policy (the Policy). Scope These guidelines provide context and further detail on the intention of the Policy and are applicable to all employees. Purpose These guidelines have been developed to provide departmental employees with support to understand the standards of conduct and clearly defined behavioural expectations (as detailed in the Policy) whilst working in the educational and learning environments. These guidelines provide direction and guidance for employees when conducting themselves both inside and outside of their workplace to ensure they provide a safe and inclusive physical and emotional environment for students and colleagues. They are also designed to stimulate discussion amongst staff to develop our collective understanding. this is the most recent copy (TASED Version 1.0). Page 2

3 Definitions Discipline. Teaching a student appropriate conduct and behaviour, including use of sanctions (in accordance with the Education Act 1994) for unacceptable conduct and behaviour Family. Includes immediate family (e.g. parents, wife, husband, children and brothers and sisters) who are usually resident in the same household. It also includes a person who is part of the extended family (e.g. uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, nieces and nephews). Parent/carer. Includes a guardian or other person having the care and control of a child School. A State school and a centre, unit or institute of the State other than TasTAFE, which provides educational instruction at any level from birth up to, and including the final year of secondary education Self-protective behaviour. Serving to protect oneself Social media. Refers to online services, mobile applications and virtual communities that provide a way for people to connect and share user-generated content and to participate in conversation and learning (includes but not limited to Facebook, Twitter) Student. A child or person enrolled at a school or participating in an educational program linked to a school Policy 1. Physical Contact With Students 2. Appropriate Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media Sites 3. Professional Relationships Between Employees and Students this is the most recent copy (TASED Version 1.0). Page 3

4 1. Physical Contact With Students There are occasions when physical contact with students is acceptable and entirely reasonable. Contact with students is appropriate where the physical contact between an employee and a student is a legitimate part of that student s program, or where the purpose of the contact is to assist a student and is consensual and non-sexual in nature. Employees are to provide students with an adequate level of protection against harm and ensure their own actions minimise potential harm to both themselves and others by exercising selfprotective behaviour, e.g. using reasonable force to control or restrain a student in certain circumstances. While not all employees are required to interact with students, it is important that all departmental employees read and understand this section of the Guidelines and Policy. Policy 1.1 An employee must not have physical contact with a student in the disciplining of that student. 1.2 An employee must not unnecessarily restrain a student. 1.3 An employee must not have unnecessary physical contact with a student. Intent/Explanatory Notes Employees may at times be required to give practical assistance to a student who is hurt or needs particular assistance or encouragement. Some examples of physical contact that are acceptable are: Administration of first aid; Helping a child who has fallen; Assisting with the toileting and personal care needs of a student with a disability, where an agreed plan for such is in place with parents/carers; Demonstrations, e.g. use of tools in woodwork, appropriate technique in sport, use of musical instruments; Non-intrusive gestures to comfort a student. Where the physical contact is for the purpose of restraining a student, it is only acceptable in the following circumstances: To prevent or stop the student from attacking another student or employee or posing an immediate danger to themself or others; Where duty of care cannot be met without the restraint; To prevent or stop the student from causing damage to the property of any person, including the student s own property. this is the most recent copy (TASED Version 1.0). Page 4

5 The restraint must cease immediately once the risk has stopped. If the restraint ceases being for the purpose of risk management and becomes disciplinary, it is not acceptable. Restraint of a student is not acceptable in the following circumstances: To maintain good order of the classroom, unless one of the aforementioned acceptable circumstances are present; To provoke or punish a student; To stop a student leaving the classroom or school without permission, unless one of the aforementioned acceptable circumstances are present. Examples Example 1 Appropriate contact A six-year old student falls over in the playground, skins his knees and is upset. An employee working nearby helps him up and supports him until he is feeling better. He then walks with him, holding his arm, to a first aid station. Example 2 Appropriate contact To instruct a student in the proper use of a woodworking tool, an employee demonstrates a strategy by placing their hands over a student s hand while the student is using it. The contact ceases after the demonstration is completed. Example 3 Appropriate physical intervention/restraint A student is threatening others with a ruler and has ignored repeated directions to stop. The employee holds the student s arm and removes the ruler from the student s grasp. Example 4 Inappropriate physical intervention/restraint As per the above example, the student drops the ruler and calms down but the employee continues to grip the student s arm without reason. This is considered unreasonable and inappropriate. This would be a breach of Clause 1.2 of the Policy. An appropriate alternative to example 4 above would be the employee releases their hold on the student as soon as the student has calmed down and has dropped the ruler. Example 5 Inappropriate contact An employee walks around the playground with one arm around the waist of a student. This type of prolonged contact is inappropriate. This would be a breach of Clause 1.3 of the Policy. this is the most recent copy (TASED Version 1.0). Page 5

6 Example 6 Inappropriate contact An employee strokes a student s hair. This would be a breach of Clause 1.3 of the Policy. Example 7 Inappropriate physical intervention/restraint A student is standing up being disruptive, defiant of instructions and insolent, but non-violent. The employee walks up to the student, grabs an arm and pushes the student down on the chair. This would be a breach of Clause 1.1 of the Policy. An appropriate alternative to example 7 above would be for the employee to repeatedly (if necessary) direct the student to sit down and get back to work. If this approach fails, the employee should seek assistance from a senior staff member. Example 8 Inappropriate physical intervention/restraint A student swears at an employee and refuses to participate in the lesson. The student moves around the classroom disrupting other students and continues to speak inappropriately towards the employee. The employee repeatedly requests the student to sit down and get back to work. The student continues to be defiant so the employee grabs the student and pulls them to the back of the classroom to try to calm them down. This would be a breach of Clause 1.1 of the Policy. An appropriate alternative to example 8 above would be for the employee to seek assistance from a senior staff member. If this approach fails, the senior staff member should refer to the department s Discipline Guidelines. 2. Appropriate Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media Sites Social media is a global phenomenon that continues to grow. The department recognises that social media is a legitimate and useful tool for aiding communication and enhancing student learning. Schools or departmental work units may wish to use social media sites to reach audiences using a widely used and understood platform, engage and build relationships with school communities and business partners and communicate and engage learners through commonly used media and devices. If used appropriately, social media sites can be a very valuable tool. The department provides electronic communication facilities for its students and employees for educational or business/administration purposes. It reserves the right to monitor and view any data stored or transmitted using the department s facilities, including those accessed through personal mobile devices. Employees must ensure that all departmental resources are used appropriately and in accordance with the Acceptable Use of Information and Communication this is the most recent copy (TASED Version 1.0). Page 6

7 Technology Resources Guidelines. To ensure professional boundaries are clear employees should exercise self-protective behaviours which include: Using appropriate privacy and security settings in social media and mobile services Maintaining professional and responsible social media profiles Following the department s Social Media Policy, Procedures and Guidelines Social and mobile digital media should not be used for communication of a personal nature that is beyond that required for business or learning purposes. The following circumstance is exempt from the boundaries provided in Clause 2.2 of the Policy: Policy Any contact or communications between an employee and a member of their family who is a student, provided this contact is reasonable. 2.1 When an employee is using /social media/networking sites in the course of their employment, they must: Not send/post harassing, defamatory, threatening, abusive or obscene messages or content; Not engage in bullying behaviour; Not send/post sexual or pornographic messages or content; Not send/post racist or other offensive messages or content aimed at a particular group or individual; Not send/post malicious, libellous or slanderous messages or content; Not send/post information or material related to illegal activities; Use appropriate language; Exercise good judgement. this is the most recent copy (TASED Version 1.0). Page 7

8 Intent/Explanatory Notes By its nature, digital and mobile media provide a fast and often informal way of communicating. People sometimes respond too quickly or express their thoughts and feelings with undue frankness when online. It is important to remember that people can t hear the tone of an electronic message and they can easily be misinterpreted. Employees should be aware that if an issue addressed in an electronic message/post becomes the subject of a legal dispute, then that information would be discoverable: that is, the court and all parties to the dispute would be entitled to see it. Intellectual property in social media utilised by employees in the course of their employment is owned by the department. Employees must declare potential conflicts of interest in operating a business which may be seen to draw upon departmental intellectual property. When referring to public statements and opinions, this means statements and opinions that are viewable by a group of people or available for viewing by people in general. An employee who uses departmental resources and/or communication facilities from home or at a location external to the department must still follow the expectations outlined in the Policy at Clause 2.1 and 2.2 and in the Acceptable Use of Information and Communication Technology Resources Guidelines. The department has a zero tolerance approach to employees accessing, attempting to access, downloading, attempting to download, sending, displaying, disseminating, transmitting, storing or viewing by or through whatever means, material considered to be of a pornographic and/or sexually explicit nature. It is illegal in Tasmania for a person to access and/or possess child exploitation material. If it appears that an employee has breached a criminal law, the matter will be referred to Tasmania Police. Examples Example 1 Appropriate communication A teacher posts a Facebook message on an endorsed School Facebook page congratulating a student on winning the school science competition. Example 2 Inappropriate communication An employee, using their work , forwards a joke with racial references to their friend. This would be a breach of Clause 2.1 of the Policy. Example 3 Inappropriate communication An employee, using Twitter sends a private message to a student which reads Hi, hope you had a great weekend? this is the most recent copy (TASED Version 1.0). Page 8

9 This would be a breach of Clause 2.1 of the Policy. Example 4 Inappropriate communication An employee calls a student who attends a school in America using Skype and has a personal discussion with them. The student is not enrolled at any Tasmanian State school, however is involved in an international collaboration program which is linked to the school the employee works at. This would be a breach of Clause 2.1 of the Policy. 3. Professional Relationships Between Employees and Students Policy 3.1 An employee must not commence and/or maintain a personal (as opposed to a professional) relationship with any student either during or outside of school hours, unless the student is a member of the employee s family. 3.2 An employee must not engage in an intimate or sexual relationship with a student either during or outside of school hours. Intent/Explanatory Notes Wherever practical, an employee should exercise self-protective behaviours which include avoiding teaching or being involved in educational decisions involving family members or close friends. Where it is not practical to avoid such situations completely, another member of staff should make any significant decisions relating to the student s assessments and have those endorsed by a supervisor. An employee s professional relationship with a student may be compromised if they: attend parties or socialise with students; invite a student or students back to their home or attend theirs without an appropriate professional reason and without the consent of their parent/carer; transport a school student in their car without prior approval from a supervisor and a parent/carer. Improper conduct towards a student of an intimate or sexual nature includes, but is not limited to: inappropriate conversations of a sexual nature; behaving in a flirtatious manner towards a student; comments that express a desire to act in a sexual manner; unwarranted and/or inappropriate touching of students, e.g. kissing; this is the most recent copy (TASED Version 1.0). Page 9

10 exposing students to sexual behaviour of others including display of pornographic and/or sexually explicit material; sexual exhibitionism; expressing romantic feelings towards a student in any way; grooming behaviour (see details below); sexual acts including intercourse. Grooming behaviour is a process whereby a person conditions and builds rapport with students in order to reduce their resistance to, and increase compliance with, sexual abuse. The grooming process can include, but is not limited to: Misleading students by pretending to them they are special, for example by spending inappropriate time with students, inappropriately giving gifts, showing special favours to certain students but not to other students, allowing students to overstep the accepted rules etc; Breaking of accepted standards of behaviour, for example indecent contact or conversations with students. It is illegal in Tasmania for a person to have sexual intercourse with another person who is under the age of 17 years. If it appears that an employee has breached a criminal law, the matter will be referred to Tasmania Police. Examples Example 1 Appropriate behaviour professional relationship An employee is driving home and sees a student caught in heavy rain. The employee offers the student a lift home and the student accepts. It may be appropriate for the employee to accompany the student to the door and explain the circumstances to the parent or carer. Example 2 Inappropriate behaviour unprofessional relationship An employee is aware that a student has advanced computer skills and invites the student to their house on the weekend to help with a computer problem. The employee regularly invites the student to their home whenever they have a computing problem. This private arrangement exceeds the boundaries of a professional employee/student relationship. This would be a breach of Clause 1.1 of the Policy. Example 3 - Inappropriate behaviour unprofessional relationship An employee approaches a student saying, I didn t realise how grown up you were maybe you and I can go out together sometime. This would be a breach of Clause 1.1 of the Policy. this is the most recent copy (TASED Version 1.0). Page 10

11 Example 4 Inappropriate behaviour sexual misconduct An employee takes a student to the movies on the weekend with the consent of the student s parents. Whilst at the movies, the employee makes suggestive comments about the student s appearance, holds hands with the student and kisses the student on the cheek. This would be a breach of Clause 1.2 of the Policy. Requirements Principals/Managers are to: Employees are to: Workplace Relations and Conduct and Investigations Consultants are to: ensure employees have read and understand the content of this document ensure employees are regularly reminded of this document report any alleged breaches of this document to the Conduct and Investigations Unit Ph: perform their duties and responsibilities in accordance with this document report any known or suspected cases of child abuse including sexual relationships to Child Protection Ph: report any alleged breaches of this document to their principal/manager provide advice and support to principals/managers in the management of employee misconduct review this policy periodically and update as required Associated Documents and Materials The following documents are available from (Search for the Doc ID) Professional Standards for Staff Policy (Doc ID: TASED ) Acceptable Use of Information and Communication Technology Resources Guidelines State Service Act 2000 Protective Practices for Staff in their Interactions with Students (Doc ID: TASED ) Conduct and Behaviour Standards (Doc ID: TASED ) Social Media Policy (Doc ID: TASED ) Social Media Procedures (Doc ID: TASED ) Social Media Guidelines (Doc ID: TASED ) this is the most recent copy (TASED Version 1.0). Page 11

12 Authorised by: Colin Pettit Position of authorising person: Secretary Date authorised: 27 March 2015 Developed by: Industrial Relations Date of last review: N/A Date for next review: 27 March 2017 This document replaces: N/A this is the most recent copy (TASED Version 1.0). Page 12