Prayer

God of pastures and God of lambs, these new-born creatures of spring know nothing of the worry
or anxiety of our last month.

They know instead of
the earth beneath them
and the sky above,
and a mother who cares for them daily. May we who are more experienced remind each other of
the steadiness of your providence,
the instinct in your protection,
the simplicity of your love.

And may we then with confidence
find our footing in this new-born world.

Amen.

Published on: 23 Jun 2022
Share this:

Update

Within this update:

Circuit Breaker Long Weekend template correspondence for families.

As introduced in our remote Leadership gathering meeting last Thursday, June 16th, schools are encouraged to take the opportunity for a mid-term three break to support other well-being initiatives to combat the fatigue experienced as a result of the pandemic.

Schools are not compelled to take the long weekend, but the opportunity exists and the attached correspondence outlines the rationale for the break. In the face of a COVID-19 environment in combination with an atypical peak flu season, this initiative is intended to assist workforce management.

To try and achieve consistency, the first preference for the circuit breaker weekend is August 12 – 15. In line with your assessment of what is beneficial for your community, you are able to determine whether it is a 3 or 4 day break, and you will need to adjust the correspondence accordingly.

If that weekend does not work for your community, then the next weekend August 19 – 22 would be desirable. Schools that are in towns with other Catholic schools should liaise with their colleagues before any announcements are made.

If you have any questions about the circuit breaker weekend, please liaise with your Education Consultant.

2023 Draft Calendar.

The attached draft calendar has been prepared to support planning for 2023.  At this stage, it is a draft calendar and includes all the current available CEB dates.  Principals may not recognize some of the professional learning activities, but we would appreciate your critical feedback on potential clashes by 4PM 31 July to Kerrie Zammit - kzammit@dobcel.catholic.edu.au. Following the end of July we will simplify the calendar for respective audiences – schools and CEB staff, however we wanted transparency of the full range of activities in the developmental stage.

Vaccine Mandate Template letter.

The attached template letter may assist schools to communicate with families regarding the changes to the vaccine mandate in preparation for next term.

Further resources to support Vaccine Mandate changes.

As discussed yesterday, Principals are encouraged to speak with their Ed Con in the first instance if they have staff returning from the leave following the lifting of the vaccine mandate. Following yesterday’s conversation, we are working on some further resources to support Principals who have staff returning from the vaccine mandate.

Published on: 23 Jun 2022
Share this:

Tom Sexton
Executive Director, Catholic Education Ballarat

Published on: 23 Jun 2022
Share this:

COVID-19 Update

Over the weekend, the state government made several changes to the COVIDSafe settings in Victoria.

DOBCEL’s approach has been, and will continue to be, in accordance with the relevant health advice. The health advice underpinning the mandate was that staff needed to be vaccinated to work in schools.

The new health advice is that vaccination is no longer a requirement to work in schools.

This update includes information about:

  • Vaccination Requirements
  • Transport of children to school by positive cases
  • Special provision for senior secondary classroom learning and school-based assessment
  • Optional Zoom meeting Wednesday 22 June
  • Further updates

Vaccination Requirements.

From 11.59 pm on Friday 24 June (in effect the start of Term 3), staff in Victorian mainstream schools will no longer need to meet vaccination requirements to attend work.

For queries regarding staff who don’t meet the vaccination requirements, please contact your Education Consultant in the first instance who will liaise with others in CEB as required.

DOBCEL principals are not able to determine their own requirements for staff vaccination such as a local policy.

Schools must continue to have strong mitigation measures in place, including enhanced ventilation such as air purifiers, ongoing use of rapid antigen testing and ensuring those who are unwell stay home. This will continue to help keep our schools as safe as possible.

Transport of children to school by positive cases.

A further change to the pandemic orders is that from 11.59 pm on Friday 24 June, parents/carers who are COVID-19 positive can leave self-isolation to transport children to or from school via private vehicle.

The parent/carer must travel directly to and from the school only. They must remain in the vehicle at all times, unless it is reasonably necessary to leave the vehicle to walk the child to and from the entrance of the school safely. They must wear a face mask at all times.

Over the coming days, templated correspondence will be made available for schools to support your communications with your school communities about these changes.

Special provision for senior secondary classroom learning and school-based assessment.

A number of schools have indicated concern regarding how absences due to COVID-19 and influenza have impacted on the learning at senior secondary level. The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) is not intending at this stage to reinstate Consideration of Disadvantage (CED) as it did during 2020−21. However, the VCAA has indicated that schools may approve special provisions and arrangements for both classroom learning and school-based assessments to enable students with a disability, impairment or illness to demonstrate what they know, and to participate in classroom learning. In some cases, alternative assessment strategies may be needed.

Strategies that may be of particular interest and appropriate where students have been impacted by periods of illness, either their own or their teachers, include:

  • rescheduling classroom activities or assessment tasks
  • allowing the student extra time to complete work or an assessment task
  • deriving satisfactory completion of outcomes from assessments or work completed by the student
  • deriving scores (for outcomes) from other assessments or work completed by the student.

The last strategy above is most similar to what teachers were asked to do for CED.

However, in these circumstances, any adjustment will not be subjected to further VCAA scrutiny. Any adjustment made is entirely a school decision and should be determined using evidence of performance in assessments previously completed when the student was not adversely affected by illness or a personal circumstance.

Please contact the VCAA for any questions.

Optional Zoom meeting Wednesday 22 June.

We will host an optional Zoom meeting on these changes on Wednesday 22 June at 4.00 pm. Invitation with details to follow. There will be many questions, if you would like to send them in advance you can direct your question to covid@dobcel.catholic.edu.au ahead of this time or raise in the session. Mindful however there will be information pending to resolve more fully.

Further updates.

There will be further updates before the end of the week with template correspondence about the change to the pandemic orders, the draft 2023 DOBCEL calendar and correspondence to support communication with staff and the school community regarding the proposed mid-term 3 circuit breaker long weekend.

Thank you for all your hard work throughout a difficult Term 2. You have done a wonderful job overcoming the operational challenges that all schools have faced from the high number of COVID-19 and flu cases.

Published on: 20 Jun 2022
Share this:

Tom Sexton
Executive Director, Catholic Education Ballarat

Published on: 20 Jun 2022
Share this:

New Child Safe Standards

As schools continue to work actively and deliberately through the Child Safe Standards Action List, we are well positioned to welcome the New Child Safe Standards on 1 July 2022. We continue to recognise the competing nature of the work that school staff are challenged with daily and understand that the introduction of the Child Safe reform places demands on school communities which are exacerbated by limitations on time. What is important is that your school community is aware that Ministerial Order 1359 becomes effective 1 July 2022.

Steps Schools can take now. 

  • Advertise to your school community via your website and newsletters that the Ministerial Order 1359 will be effective upon students return to school Term 3. See here for sample web/newsletter content
  • Access Focus Workshop Recordings (below) for staff to familiarise themselves with the new Standards (1-11)

New Policy Release.  

We expect to have the next six ratified policies ready to release this week.  Given this week is the final week of term the timing is not ideal.  As such we understand that schools will not have had sufficient time to fully contextualise their local policies before the 1 July 2022 .  However, as some schools will have support staff continuing to work over the school holiday period we will continue to release these policies via eSORT this week. 

  • DOBCEL Student Empowerment and Participation Policy 
  • [insert school] Bullying Prevention (including Cyberbullying) Policy 
  • [insert school] Diversity and Equity Policy 
  • [insert school] Engaging Families and Caregivers in Child Safety Policy 
  • [insert school] Complaints Handling Policy and Procedures 
  • [insert school] Recruitment Policy 

Further Term 3 Policy & Procedure Release. 

  • DOBCEL Safeguarding Children and Young People Code of Conduct
  • [insert school] Risk Assessment & Register
  • DOBCEL Child Safe Risk Management Guidelines
  • [insert school] Complaints Handling Procedures
  • [insert school] Student Empowerment and Participation Procedures
  • [insert school] Recruitment Procedures
  • [insert school] Bullying Prevention (including Cyberbullying) Procedure

Our smaller schools can ask Simon O’Brien for assistance to do this if necessary.  

The series of PROTECT policies will also be released in Term Three. As previously stated, these policies do not change in their directives. Further policies which require minimal change, such as adding MO 1359, will filter through throughout Term Three.

Focus Workshops Recordings- New Child Safe Standards- Term 2.

Thursday 19 May 3.45pm-4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 1 Culturally Safe Environments &

Standard 5 Diversity & Equity

Watch the recording here: New Child Safe Standards Standards 1 & 5 - YouTube 

Wednesday 25 May 3.45pm- 4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 2 Child Safety and Wellbeing is Embedded in Leadership, Governance & Culture

Watch the recording here: New Child Safe Standards 2 Workshop - YouTube 

Tuesday 31 May 3.45pm-4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 3 – Child & Student Empowerment &

Standard 4 - Family Engagement

Watch the recording here: New Child Safe Standards 3 & 4 Workshop - YouTube 

Thursday 2 June 3.45pm- 4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 6 - Suitable Staff & Volunteers &

Standard 7 - Complaints process

Watch the recording here: New Child Safe Standards 6 & 7 Workshop - YouTube

Wednesday 8 June 3.45pm- 4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 8 - Child Safety Knowledge, Skills and Awareness

Watch the recording here: New Child Safe Standards 8 Workshop - YouTube

Tuesday 14 June 3.45pm- 4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 9 - Child Safety in Physical & Online Environments

Watch the recording here: New Child Safe Standards 9 Workshop - YouTube

Thursday 16 June 3.45pm-4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 10 - Review of Child Safety Practices &

Standard 11 - Implementation of Child Safe Practices

Watch the recording here: New Child Safe Standards 10 & 11 Workshop - YouTube

Child Safe Standards Activity Term 3.

  • School Child Safety Teams continue to work through the Child Safe Standards Action List
  • Schools contextualise updated policies
  • DOBCEL Continued policy & procedure release  
  • DOBCEL Professional Learning focussed on policies to practice
  • DOBCEL Risk management and MO 1359
  • DOBCEL Training package development for volunteers
  • Other as suggested by schools
Published on: 20 Jun 2022
Share this:

Tom Sexton
Executive Director, Catholic Education Ballarat

Published on: 06 Jun 2022
Share this:

Protection of School Communities Bill

Background.

The Education and Training Reform Amendment (Protection of School Communities) Bill 2021 received Royal Assent on 28 June 2021.  This amendment to the Victorian Education and Training Reform Act 2006 will establish the School Community Safety Order Scheme (the Scheme). The default commencement date is 28 June 2022 if the amendments are not proclaimed to commence earlier.

The Scheme empowers authorised people, such as school principals, to issue Immediate and Ongoing School Community Safety Orders (collectively ‘Orders’) to parents, carers and other people who engage in harmful, threatening or abusive behaviour. The Orders are intended to address the small but not insignificant minority of parents and other adult members of the school community who engage in behaviour that creates a risk of harm to the school community.  

Currently, the various CECV entities (including DOBCEL and RI/MPJP Schools) exercise a range of powers/processes similar to those described by the Scheme. However, these existing processes are not codified, centrally communicated or enacted consistently.

Review of existing resources.

Existing CECV material related to protections covered by the Scheme will be reviewed. CECV processes or documentation will be created or updated to ensure adherence to all relevant legislation and to incorporate the Scheme where appropriate. It is anticipated that, as a minimum, the CECV Safe and Sound Practice Guidelines will require updating.

In addition to updating CECV guidance, a framework will be created that details a methodology for the embedding and implementation of this guidance.  DOBCEL school principals and authorised CEB senior leadership are responsible for actioning the requirements of the framework within our school communities.  CEB will flow the new guidance materials through to schools as soon as possible.

Published on: 06 Jun 2022
Share this:

New Child Safe Standards Implementation Update

Catholic Education Ballarat (CEB) continues to offer focused sessions on each of the new Child Safe Standards during Term Two for Principals, other members of Leadership, Child Safety Officers and Compliance Officers. The YouTube links to the sessions which have been recorded to date are included below.   

The details of the upcoming sessions are attached for your information:

Thursday 19 May 3.45pm-4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 1 Culturally Safe Environments &

Standard 5 Diversity & Equity

Watch the recording here: New Child Safe Standards Standards 1 & 5 - YouTube 

Wednesday 25 May 3.45pm- 4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 2 Child Safety and Wellbeing is Embedded in Leadership, Governance & Culture

Watch the recording here: New Child Safe Standards 2 Workshop - YouTube 

Tuesday 31 May 3.45pm-4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 3 – Child & Student Empowerment &

Standard 4 - Family Engagement

Watch the recording here: New Child Safe Standards 3 & 4 Workshop - YouTube 

Thursday 2 June 3.45pm- 4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 6 - Suitable Staff & Volunteers &

Standard 7 - Complaints process

Watch the recording here: New Child Safe Standards 6 & 7 Workshop - YouTube

Wednesday 8 June 3.45pm- 4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 8 - Child Safety Knowledge, Skills and Awareness

Tuesday 14 June 3.45pm- 4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 9 - Child Safety in Physical & Online Environments

Thursday 16 June 3.45pm-4.30pm
WebEx meeting link
Password: 5rMBqPpP6e3

Standard 10 - Review of Child Safety Practices

Standard 11 - Implementation of Child Safe Practices

Policy Release and eSORT:

We will commence releasing the new policies associated with the new Child Safety Standards from today.   

eSORT will continue to be the system used to support the release of policies and the process for schools to contextualise their policies and upload them to the required locations.

eSORT offers a number of advantages that include-:

  • Security of the template file to prevent unintended changes by schools 
  • A systematic approach to communication and instructions 
  • A dedicated repository for all policies to be housed on a school-by-school basis
  • An ability to provide system oversight of completion and compliance to the DOBCEL Board 

Following feedback from many of you we are endeavouring to improve the process via eSORT to make the process as simple and efficient as possible. Some small improvements have been made to eSORT, particularly for fixed DOBCEL policies.

Immediate changes include-:

  • A direct communication to Principals via an Executive Director’s Update before policies are released via eSORT.  This will support Principals being informed first, and ahead of the notifications generated by eSORT to Principals and/or your delegates
  • Simpler and more condensed instruction on what to do within eSORT to make the process more efficient
  • Policies can be viewed without having to download the file first and open it within the relevant desktop application
  • More support for principals and staff in small schools from Simon O’Brien at sobrien@dobcel.catholic.edu.au

New Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy.

Key Points

  • The new Child Safety & Wellbeing Policy is now available to schools. 
  • This policy meets the requirements for MO 1359 and has been approved by the DOBCEL Board and ratified by Bishop Bird. 
  • This policy replaces the existing Child Safety Policy and Pastoral Care and Wellbeing Policy.
  • This policy applies across all DOBCEL Schools and communicates how schools will prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. This policy sets out DOBCEL’s expectations about child safe practices for staff, volunteers and school communities.
  • This policy is required to be contextualised by each school, noting that schools can only change certain aspects of the policy, where indicated.
  • This is a public facing policy.
  • This policy and the implementation instructions will be forwarded through eSORT to you and/or your nominated delegates today.

Action required by 01 July 2022

  1. Principals to ensure that the School Advisory Council members, staff and volunteers are aware of this policy.
  2. This policy is to be uploaded to your school’s webpage.
  3. This policy replaces the previous Child Safe Policy and the Pastoral Care and Wellbeing Policy.
  4. Retire (and archive) the previous Child Safe Policy and the Pastoral Care and Wellbeing Policy in eSORT.
  5. Delete the previous Child Safe Policy and the Pastoral Care and Wellbeing Policy from your website.

VRQA.

The Victorian Registration and Qualification Authority (VRQA) has updated its guidelines to reflect Victoria's new Child Safe Standards (new Standards) and new pathways for secondary education in Victoria. 

They can be located here: https://www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/news/Pages/News/article-311.aspx 

What stays the same?

The New Standards do not change obligations related to mandatory reporting to the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (formerly the Department of Health and Human Services) or police, the Reportable Conduct Scheme, the Working with Children Check requirements, the Child Information Sharing Scheme or other child safety laws.

Published on: 06 Jun 2022
Share this:

Continuity of Learning

Dear Principals,

We acknowledge the very significant work undertaken by you as school leaders in the context of continuing learning in the face of high numbers of absences in the face of COVID-19 cases and influenza.

We are resharing the continuity of learning planning document that was circulated at the start of the year for convenience, if your community comes under pressure. Please click here to access the document.

Education consultants, with my own support, are also sympathetic to limited additional student free days, if required, in the face of disruption and illness.

Schools may apply for an additional student free day through the regular process if you feel your staff team are in need of some reprieve over the coming months. Please do this in collaboration and discussion with your consultant.

Thank you for your continued work.

Tom Sexton
Executive Director, Catholic Education Ballarat

Published on: 03 Jun 2022
Share this:

Steven Mifsud - Announcement of Appointment

I am delighted to inform you that Mr Steven Mifsud has been appointed as Principal of Damascus College and will commence his new role at the commencement of Term 3 2022.

Steven is currently Deputy Principal Student Wellbeing at Mount St. Joseph Girls’ College in Altona, where he has been Deputy Principal with periods as Co-Principal and Acting Principal since 2014.

Prior to this, Steven was Deputy Principal at Santa Maria College in Northcote and has taught at MacKillop Catholic Regional College, Werribee, and Catholic Regional College, Melton where he held various leadership roles.

Steven is committed to life-long learning as demonstrated by post graduate qualifications which include Masters Degrees in:

  • Business Administration – Executive;
  • Religious Education; and
  • Educational Leadership.

He also holds a Graduate Diploma in Religious Education and a Bachelor of Education (Secondary).

Steven is an innovative and passionate leader and his leadership style is one that is highly relational and visible. His personal educational vision is to work in relationship and in partnership with all members of the community to create a faith learning dynamic that celebrates, affirms, and challenges people to achieve personal excellence. 

I know the Damascus College community will embrace Steven’s appointment and offer him and his family a very warm welcome.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Sexton
Executive Director, Catholic Education Ballarat

Published on: 24 May 2022
Share this:

Tom Sexton
Executive Director, Catholic Education Ballarat

Published on: 18 May 2022
Share this:

Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) for the remainder of Term 2

The Victorian Government will continue to provide Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) for use by students and staff for the remainder of Term 2.

Schools will continue to be provided with the same weekly quantity of RATs.

However, from Monday 23 May 2022, it is recommended RATs are used by students and staff only when symptomatic. RATs are also required to be used for 5 days if a student or staff member is a close contact of a confirmed case and they are attending or working at a school.

From Monday 23 May 2022, it is not recommended that non-symptomatic students or staff continue to conduct RATs twice a week in mainstream schools and 5 days a week in specialist schools.

Students and staff must continue to notify the Department of Health and their school if they return a positive RAT result.

Vaccination remains the best way to protect students and staff in school settings and your ongoing support in encouraging children aged 5 to 11 to get vaccinated and staff and 16-17-year-olds to get their third dose remains critical. 

The correct use of air purifiers also continues to be an important step in ensuring the safety of our schools. Please ensure your air purifiers are set on high (or the highest tolerable noise level). Air purifiers should not be set on auto.

Face masks also can continue to be used by any staff or students who wish to do so, including those who are medically at-risk.

A letter for parents and carers has been created to support your communication about the changes. 

Thank you for everything you are doing to keep schools open and safe.

Published on: 18 May 2022
Share this:

Paul Bissinella – Announcement of Resignation & New Appointment

I write to inform you that Mr Paul Bissinella has been appointed as Principal Consultant with Catholic Education Sandhurst, working with the schools in the Goulburn Valley region of the Diocese. Paul will commence this new position on Monday 30 May 2022 and he will conclude his time as Principal of St Francis Xavier on Friday 20 May 2022.

Paul has served the community of St Francis Xavier over the past 8 years and one term in a professional and generous manner. He has been a passionate contributor to the Diocesan Education Community during his time in our Diocese and has also held the positions of Deputy Principal at St Mary’s Primary School, Colac and Principal at St Mary’s Primary School, Swan Hill.

As a result of Paul’s contribution, St Francis Xavier is known as a school that endeavours to provide strong and robust learning opportunities for all students and is a community that is extremely proud of their story and strengths. Paul has been instrumental in working with his staff to design and facilitate a learning program that serves each student. He has also overseen significant changes to the physical environment and governance structure at the school.

Our wider education community is grateful to Paul for his contribution and congratulates him on his new appointment.

In order to support the transition to the next Principal of St Francis Xavier, I am very pleased to announce that Mrs Jane Clark has willingly accepted the position as Interim Principal while the process of appointing a new Principal is underway. As a current leader at St Francis Xavier, Jane will be familiar to many of you and along with co-deputies Mrs Jayne Mohr and Ms Rebecca Conroy, will lead the school in this time of transition.

Consultation and advertising for a new Principal will commence shortly. I am hoping the successful Principal will be available to begin sometime in the second half of this year. As Executive Director of Catholic Education Ballarat, I offer my congratulations to Paul and express my gratitude for his wonderful contribution. I am certain that he will share his knowledge, wisdom and passion for Catholic Education with his new colleagues.

I ask you to join me in wishing Paul all the best in his new role and I thank Jane for her willingness to step into the role of Interim Principal.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Sexton
Executive Director, Catholic Education Ballarat

Published on: 29 Apr 2022
Share this:

Tom Sexton
Executive Director, Catholic Education Ballarat

Published on: 29 Apr 2022
Share this:

VCEMEA Negotiations

VCEMEA negotiations continue with the DOBCEL, CES Limited, MACS and RI/MPJP enterprise bargaining team meeting weekly with the IEU, following a short break over the school holidays.  Thank you for the feedback provided at the Leadership Gathering in Horsham and via the survey link in the following days.  This will be shared to inform continuing conversations. 

On behalf of the employer groups party to the Agreement, MACS will continue to engage with the PAVCSS and PAVCPS on key matters, including scheduled class time, time-in-lieu provisions, and consultative committees.  We encourage you to share your feedback with your local PAVCSS/PAVCPS representative should you wish to do so.

Published on: 29 Apr 2022
Share this:

Infection Control Webinars for the Education Sector

Through the Department of Health’s Infection Prevention Control, Advice and Response (IPCAR) team, the Victorian Government continues to be committed to providing infection prevention and control (IPC) education to the Education sector.   IPCAR have commenced weekly webinars from Week 2 of Term 2 for schools and early learning centres. Dates and times are as follows: 

  • Primary & Secondary – Every Thursday in May – 3.45 – 4.45 pm
  • Early Learning - Every Thursday in May – 5.30 – 6.30 pm 

The IPCAR webinars will allow teachers/educators and school/centre staff to upskill and review their infection prevention knowledge and discuss how to apply these within the education setting.  Topics will include hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, ventilation, and looks at COVID-19 and beyond. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and to share scenarios. 

These webinars have been developed especially for early learning centres and primary & secondary schools. The webinars are in-line with the current Department of Health and Department of Education guidelines. 

To learn more about these webinars, find the webinar join-link and download a poster to promote it within your school or centre, please visit VICNISS - Department of Health IPC education.

Published on: 29 Apr 2022
Share this:

Updated School Operations Guide – Term 2, 2022

As communicated on 24 April 2022, an updated School Operations Guide is available on CEVN. The updated Guide contains new advice on face masks, screening requirements, household contacts, and vaccination requirements for visitors to schools. 

The CECV Operations Guide is aligned to the updated Victorian Government pandemic orders: 

Face Masks.

From 11:59 pm Friday 22 April, face masks, while recommended, are not required in any school setting. This means students in grades 3 to 6, staff and visitors in primary schools are no longer required to wear face masks. Any student or staff member who wishes to wear a mask may do so, including those who are medically at-risk.

Screening Requirements.

Students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, and have completed their 7-day isolation period, now do not need to undertake rapid antigen test (RAT) screening for 12 weeks after their release from isolation. This was previously eight weeks.

Household Contacts.

Students and staff who are household contacts of a COVID-19 case are no longer required to quarantine. They can return to school as long as they undertake rapid antigen tests (RAT) 5 times within their 7-day period and wear face masks indoors if they are aged eight and above unless they have a valid exemption.

If any household contact returns a positive RAT result during this period, they must isolate for seven days and not attend school.

Vaccination Requirements for visitors to schools.

Parents, carers and other adult visitors (not performing work) are no longer required to show evidence of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.  Vaccination requirements for education workers (including volunteers) remain unchanged.

Vaccination Requirements for education workers – Updated Policy.

The DOBCEL Vaccination Policy has been updated to reflect the updated pandemic orders regarding vaccination requirements for education workers.  Supporting the policy are the DOBCEL Vaccination Requirements and FAQ.

Community use of school facilities.

Schools will no longer need to request evidence of vaccination of staff or workers from external community groups who use premises outside the school’s normal operating hours.

RAT Screening Program extension reminder.

The supply of RATs will continue for the first four weeks of this term. The screening recommendations remain the same: 

  • mainstream schools – recommended testing at home twice a week.
  • specialist schools – recommended testing five days a week on each school day due to the higher risk of severe illness for medically vulnerable children.

For questions regarding the delivery or supply of RATs for your school, please contact schools.procurement@education.vic.gov.au.

To meet the Department of Health reporting requirements, each school in the Diocese of Ballarat should send a list of confirmed cases (students and/or staff) each Friday (for that week) by midday covid@dobcel.catholic.edu.au. This will continue until at least week four of Term 2.

Published on: 29 Apr 2022
Share this:

New Child Safe Standards

As you will be aware, the New Child Safe Standards begin on 1 July 2022.  We remain very conscious of the workload that is placed on our Principals, leaders and school staff and recognise that you are consistently being asked to take on more and more.  I know you will agree, however, that the implementation of the new Victorian Child Safe Standards and Ministerial Order 1359 is of paramount importance for us and extends the culture of care offered in our educational communities.

Mindful of your other school responsibilities, CEB will endeavour to provide clarity in our advice and the necessary information to assist you as efficiently as possible.  We will also consider the broader “ask” and workload coming from our office to try to provide some relief to allow you to give a focus to the implementation of these new standards.

The new standards include a number of additional requirements to:

  • involve families and students in efforts to keep children and young people safe,
  • focus on the safety for Aboriginal children and young people,
  • better manage the risk of child abuse in online environments,
  • improve governance, systems and processes to keep children and young people safe.

Policy template and guidance materials will shortly be made available and DOBCEL schools will be required to update their child safety strategies, policies and practices to strengthen their culture of child safety by 1 July 2022. All workshop sessions will be recorded and made available to you within subsequent CSS Executive Director Updates.

Guidance material will include a Child Safe Standards Action List that school leadership teams and Child Safety Officers can use to identify actions they need to take to implement the new standards.

Schools should be confident to know you are well placed to build on your existing child safety strategies, policies and practices in order to strengthen your culture of child safety and to comply with the new standards.

Our key objective will be to start with the necessary compliance elements and then move towards embedding an exemplary culture of child safety over time. CEB is working to update or develop the policies below to be forwarded for your use in a systematic way, commencing from 11 May. Please note that this is may not be the final list.

DOBCEL Policies

New DOBCEL CSS policies to be prepared by CEB will include:

  • School Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy (replaces Pastoral Care and Wellbeing Policy and DOBCEL Child Safe School Policy)
  • School Bullying and Cyber Bullying Prevention Policy
  • School Diversity and Inclusion Policy School
  • School Empowerment and Participation Policy (written for students)
  • School Engaging Families in Child Safety Policy
  • Recruitment Policy (to include all CECV Guidelines)
  • Record Keeping Policy

Revised and updated DOBCEL CSS policies to be prepared by CEB will include:

  • Safeguarding Children and Young People Code of Conduct
  • School PROTECT Reporting and Responding Obligations (including Mandatory Reporting) Policy
  • Complaints Management Policy (parents)
  • Digital Technologies Policy
  • Empowerment and Participation of Students Policy (adults)

Initial Briefing (online) will be held on 11 May 2022 from 2pm-3pm

School leaders and child safety officers and compliance and risk officers can register for this Webex briefing here and an invitation with a Webex link will be sent to you.

The direct link to the Webex briefing is also here.

The briefing will:

  • explain the purpose of the new standards
  • outline changes schools need to be aware of
  • provide an overview of the 11 new standards and guidance and resources available to support schools to implement the new standards from Friday 1 July 2022

Actions schools can take now

  • School leadership teams and Child Safety Officers can read only the Child Safe Standards Action List to prepare and gain a preliminary understanding of what actions will be required to implement the new Standards. Please note all policy and guidance materials are currently under review and finalised versions will be rolled systematically from 19 May
  • School principal to arrange relevant school leaders, Child Safety Officers and/or Compliance and Risk Officers as preferred, to attend online briefings and practical workshops from 11 May
  • Prepare to prioritise time and resources to update local policies, procedures and practices in Term 2
  • Prepare to train staff and volunteers as needed from Term 3 noting CEB will offer professional learning opportunities

DOBCEL Online Workshops during Term 2 [recorded]

The objective of these workshops will be to address each of the 11 CSS individually, to go through the Action List, as well as provide additional information. Approximate running time is 45 minutes inclusive of question time. The Webex link for all sessions is here. This briefing and subsequent CSS sessions will all be recorded and made available within subsequent CSS Executive Director Updates.

Thursday 19 May 3.45pm-4.30pm

Standard 1 - Culturally Safe Environments &

Standard 5 - Diversity & Equity

Wednesday 25 May 3.45pm- 4.30pm

Standard 2 - Child Safety and Wellbeing is Embedded in Leadership, Governance & Culture

Tuesday 31 May 3.45pm-4.30pm

Standard 3Child & Student Empowerment &

Standard 4 - Family Engagement

Thursday 2 June 3.45pm- 4.30pm

Standard 6 - Suitable Staff & Volunteers &

Standard 7 - Complaints process

Wednesday 8 June 3.45pm- 4.30pm

Standard 8 - Child Safety Knowledge, Skills and Awareness

Tuesday 14 June 3.45pm- 4.30pm

Standard 9 - Child Safety in Physical & Online Environments

Thursday 16 June 3.45pm-4.30pm

Standard 10 - Review of Child Safety Practices

Standard 11 - Implementation of Child Safe Practices

DET PROTECT Guidance & Resources

The following DET guidance and resources are due to become active 27 April:

DET New Child Safe Standards for Schools

DET BRIEFINGS - These are optional sessions for DOBCEL school leaders or child safety delegates. The same content is covered in each session. These are Government School focused but open to non-government school members to view.

CCYP Information

  • A short guide to the new Child Safe Standards
  • Overview of the new Child Safe Standards
  • Implementation and Action Plan Tool
  • A guide for creating a child safe organisation – tip sheets

Find out more

For further information please contact Manager of Safeguarding & Standards;

Jacqui Righetti  jrighetti@dobcel.catholic.edu.au | 0409 114 268.

Tom Sexton
Executive Director, Catholic Education Ballarat

Published on: 28 Apr 2022
Share this:

Thank You

Thank you for everything you and your staff have done this term to keep schools open and safe for staff and students and to also provide students with opportunities to participate in camps, liturgies and other significant events they have missed over the past two years. In most cases this has involved you and your staff going above and beyond as you have managed staff shortages and anxiety in your communities given COVID-19 case numbers continue to be high.

I hope you and your staff can have a well-deserved holiday break and a blessed and happy Easter period with your family and friends.

Published on: 08 Apr 2022
Share this: