OBJECTIVES - “Professionalism and You” • Introduce and initiate discussion on the Child Protection Code of Professional Standards for Catholic School Employees • Clarify the parameters of appropriate and inappropriate conduct for employees who work in child-related employment
What do we mean by ‘professionalism’ in Catholic schools? • Acting in a manner that is ethical and equitable • Upholding the core values of the Catholic school • Providing safe and nurturing environments within the school community • Recognising the significance of the role of teachers and those who support them • Striving for quality in our work at school • Fulfilling responsibilities within our roles
What are Professional Standards? • A description of what staff and the community expect all child-related employees to know, understand and be able to do • A straightforward guide of do’s and don’ts to assist staff to conduct their work effectively and professionally • A means of promoting a culture of awareness where inappropriate or risky behaviours can be detected at an early stage • To help build the arena of safety for all
“Child Protection Code of Professional Standards for Employees in Catholic Schools”
CONTEXT • The ‘Code’ has been developed as a a result of amendments to Child Protection Legislation • It consolidates previously distributed policy and practice • It is consistent with the philosophy and requirements of the - • Institute of Teachers • Board of Studies School Registration
Professional Relationships – Scenario 1 • A student is experiencing personal difficulties at home. • Teacher has contact with the student at school and is attempting to support according to Pastoral Care policy. • Student emails teacher via internal school email about some homework and includes a personal question about family difficulties. • Teacher speaks to the coordinator, who says they will follow it up. • Student sends 2nd email and the teacher responds, sympathising with the student’s situation and disclosing personal information about the teacher. • Teacher becomes so concerned about the student that they give student their personal mobile number for emergency purposes. • Student phones the teacher on the weekend, very distressed and the teacher agrees to meet with the student. • Another parent from the school sees the teacher & student laughing and talking in a café and reports this as inappropriate.
Professional Relationships – Scenario 1 • Was there a breach of professional standards? • When did the breach occur? • How could the parent perceive what they saw? • What would you advise the teacher to do differently?
Professional Relationships – Scenario 2 • After a school sports carnival a student misses the bus home. The only teacher left offers to drive the student home, as it is in the same direction as the teacher’s home. • The teacher informs the Principal the next day. The Principal makes a record and advises the teacher not to transport a student home in the future. • 2 weeks later the same student misses the bus. The Principal is out of the school and the teacher decides to drive the student in their car to a bus stop 3km away to catch another bus. • The teacher decides not to inform the Principal about this. • Shortly after the teacher sees this student walking home and is concerned for the safety of the child, and offers to drive the student home and purchases a meal for the student from McDonalds on the way.
Professional Relationships – Scenario 2 • What would you do if this teacher was a colleague of yours & you witnessed his/her actions? • Was there a breach of professional standards? • When did the breach occur? • What would you advise the teacher to do differently?
Professional Relationships – Scenario 3 • A teacher walks out onto the playground and witnesses 2 students yelling and threatening each other. • The teacher ignores the situation initially and continues on duty in another part of the playground. • The teacher turns around and sees the 2 students physically fighting with each other. • The teacher comes over and separates the students by grabbing the arm of one of the students and as the child struggles to get away the teacher pulls that student into a head lock. • The teacher admonishes the student while maintaining this restraint for a few minutes.
Professional Relationships – Scenario 3 • What would be the Duty of Care obligations for this teacher? • What would you advise the teacher to do differently? • If the teacher had verbally instructed the students and been ignored, would the actions of the teacher have been appropriate?
Professional Relationships – Scenario 4 • The School Assistant (SA) frequently tells students that their actions are ‘stupid’ and they should ‘get back to kindergarten’. Most students do not seem to react to these comments. • The SA is frustrated by the bad behaviour of some students and speaks to these students with her hands clenched and in a hostile tone. This makes many of her comments appear to be aggressive and intimidating. • One particularly challenging student starts throwing paper around in a small group lesson with the SA. • The SA has asked him to stop, but he continues. She then says “No one can understand how your poor mother puts up with you”, “You are constantly being bad” “You must send your Mum crazy”. The SA continues with this type of personal comment towards the student on and off for the remainder of the lesson.
Professional Relationships – Scenario 4 • Was there a breach of professional standards? • Would there be a level of student behaviour that might warrant comments like this ? • How might you support a colleague whom you knew was in this situation?
OVERALL we need to … • Respect the rights, dignity and worth of all students • Take notice of our words and ACTions AND IMPORTANTLY the REactions that students have to them • Raise concerns and significant issues with the Principal