Respectful school communities are vital for ensuring our schools are vibrant, collaborative places of learning where students can thrive.
It is important that teachers are confident in maintaining positive relationships with parents, carers and other adults in the school community, while also feeling safe and supported at work.
The Respectful Behaviours within the School Community policy highlights the importance of respectful and cooperative relationships between parents and carers and school staff.
In this article, we share resources to help you manage positive relationships with parents and carers, including the School Community Safety Order Scheme in place to protect school staff against aggression.
School Community Safety Order Scheme
The School Community Safety Order Scheme strengthens legal protections for school staff against aggression from parents, carers and other adult members of the school community.
Principals can now issue orders to prohibit or limit parents, carers and other adults who behave in harmful, threatening or abusive ways towards other members of the school community.
These orders can relate to behaviour on social media, by phone or email, or on school grounds. The orders are intended to be a last resort, where there are no other less restrictive options available.
The scheme is in part 2.1A of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. For more information, refer to:
- the School Community Safety Orders on the Policy and Advisory Library (PAL) page, which has guidance for principals and department staff authorised to issue orders
- the Ministerial Guidelines. This provides sector-neutral guidance for issuing orders under the scheme
- this School Community Safety Orders video, which explains the scheme.
If you are concerned about the behaviour of adult members of your school community, please talk to your principal.
Resolving conflict and building positive relationships
The scheme is just one part of our approach to helping schools maintain positive relationships with parents and carers and addressing work-related violence in schools.
For other options and support, refer to:
- the Work-Related Violence in Schools policy, for steps you can take to prevent, manage and report parent or carer aggression or violence towards school staff
- the Conflict resolution in schools intranet page (login required), for videos and training to manage conflict, address aggressive behaviour, unpack concerns and communicate firmly
- resources to help parents engage positively with school staff
- information and resources about dispute resolution and building positive parent relationships.
The Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership also offers a one-day course on navigating conflict, delivered in partnership with the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.
The online course can help you improve your ability to proactively deal with conflict and challenging behaviours. Refer to Navigating Conflict for further information, including session dates and course costs.
Mental wellbeing support
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers confidential coaching and counselling for department and school council employees, such as casual relief teachers.
Immediate family members of department employees can also access the EAP, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for up to 4 sessions.
On the department’s intranet (login required), we outline further expert supports for staff health, safety and wellbeing.
Find out more
For further enquiries, contact the Employee Safety, Wellbeing and Inclusion Division by email: email@example.com