All school communities in the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for both students and staff. School communities have the right to expect that staff will remain professional in their interactions with children at all times by exercising an appropriate duty of care and maintaining professional boundaries.
The Catholic Education Office (CEO) and diocesan schools comply with the requirements of the NSW Ombudsman Act 1974 to address complaints about alleged inappropriate behaviour by staff towards children in a way that protects children and also respects the rights of staff to a procedurally fair and confidential process.
The CEO and diocesan schools affirm principles central to the Church’s teaching, which are:
- Inspired by the life and person of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church;
- Concerned to ensure the dignity and integral growth of every person;
- Acknowledge the responsibility entrusted to all members of each Catholic school’s community; and
- To promote healing, reconciliation, justice and liberation.
The CEO and diocesan schools are responsible and accountable for promoting a culture in which employees are committed to ensuring the well-being, safety and protection of children.
In particular, employees are required to:
- Act in accordance with their duty of care towards children; and
- Maintain professional boundaries with children.
The CEO and diocesan schools achieve this by:
- Ensuring that staff understand the legislated and general duty of care obligation to address allegations against staff or other individuals concerning children;
- Providing staff with training regarding professional conduct and the handling of allegations;
- Providing staff with clear instructions to follow when allegations are made; and
- Ensuring that opportunities to prevent harm to children and to promote safety and wellbeing are identified and responded to at an individual and systemic level.
People who are seeking to be employed or engaged in child-related work in the school community are subject to relevant requirements under the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 and associated Regulations. The WWCC process involves a national police check and a review of findings of misconduct involving children.
A WWCC is only one of the tools available to keep children safe. Employment or engagement in the school may also be subject to other checks as prescribed in relevant legislation or policy. The CEO and diocesan schools acknowledge their responsibility to establish and maintain rigorous recruitment, selection and screening processes including thorough referee checking.
Pastoral Care and Wellbeing
“The education of the person is the central education concern of the entire school curriculum. Religious education is part of the total life of the school… as true education aims at the formation of the human person” (Pope Paul IV, 1965, Declaration on Christian Education).
Pastoral Care and Well Being is the practice of looking after the personal and social well-being of all members of the school community; students, families and staff members.
Catholic Education in the Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese promotes optimal Pastoral Care in all its school communities and in following the vision of our ‘Statement of Faith’, we encourage and care for each other, fostering positive relationships with every individual.
We believe that Gospel values should be evident in all interactions, policies, programs and practices of our school communities. It is in combining faith and service with collaboration and generosity that we can value and use our diverse gifts to shape the future in the most positive way for all.
Our commitment to Pastoral Care and Wellbeing
Pastoral Care and Well Being is a guiding principle and strategic objective of Catholic Education in the Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese.
We are constantly challenged to find practical expressions in the way the school and community relationships develop, how staff are empowered with new skills, and school dynamics are kept balanced and sustained.
As sharers of the vision, we commit to:
- ensuring an environment that promotes spiritual, physical, emotional, social, cultural and intellectual well-being;
- exercising a Duty of Care consistent across all our communities;
- being sensitive to the religious, social and cultural backgrounds of all our diverse community members;
- recognising students’, families’ and colleagues’ uniqueness in the eyes of God;
- protecting justice and equity for all in our dealings within and outside Catholic Education;
- operating through honest, trusting relationships based on integrity; and
- treating everyone fairly in our operations.