Statement Regarding Improvement Notice

Everyone should be safe at work and teachers, support staff and administration staff are no exception to this. The safety of each and every one of our staff and students is very important.

For a number of months the Education Directorate has been working to improve safety in public schools. WorkSafe ACT issued the Education Directorate with an Improvement Notice under the Work Health and Safety Act, calling for resolution in the form of systemic improvement in risk management planning and implementation.

Every child has a right to a good education and we need to ensure that we provide this, irrespective of the child’s behaviour. At the same time, every teacher, support staff member and administration staff member has the right to be safe at work and we have a duty to facilitate their safety. This is a challenging balance where the rights of all need to be taken into consideration.

This is a priority for the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development who has been in regular contact with the Education Directorate about it.

The Education Directorate is working to make sure teachers, support staff and administration staff know they are supported and to increase awareness of the ways to deal with these issues, as schools are places for learning – not a place for violence. The Education Directorate has been working with all public schools for several months on this, including additional training for every single principal and changes to accessibility of reporting mechanisms and follow-up. Staff are encouraged to report incidents.

The Education Directorate is working with the Australian Education Union ACT to build on improvements already made and to provide confidence that systemic improvement is occurring and with WorkSafe ACT to ensure these improvements are consistent with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

The Education Directorate is continuing to work to improve its Work Health and Safety focus in relation to supports it puts in place around students with complex needs.

Natalie Howson

Director-General

Education Directorate

20 April 2017