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Professional practice and collaborative relationships

A culture where student protection is everyone's responsibility

As required under the Education (Accreditation Non-State Schools) Regulation 2001, all new school staff undertook training in Brisbane Catholic Education student protection processes through an online Mandatory Student Protection Training course. In addition, face-to-face refresher training was provided for continuing staff.

An inaugural student protection induction workshop was delivered to 15 new principals and three new heads of school, focusing on how student protection compliance requirements support schools to build safe and supportive communities for students.

The workshop challenged principals and school leaders to move beyond compliance and consider innovative strategies to build a culture of safety, support and connection for students in their respective schools.

Student Protection Officers continued to visit schools and meet with families directly to facilitate support plans for students affected by harm or abuse. Brisbane Catholic Education schools also reviewed their Child and Youth Risk Management Strategy.

Mandatory induction training was also provided for all newly-appointed school student protection contacts. The training:

  • explored the role of the contacts in schools

  • facilitated the application of theoretical knowledge acquired during student protection training

  • identified ways that contacts could influence a student-focused response to student protection concerns.

School spotlight: Above, Sienna Catholic College Sippy Downs was one of the hundreds of schools and workplaces around the country that participated in National Anti-Bullying Week. Click on the image to read more.

Work environments that are free from harassment and discrimination

The Code of Conduct was reviewed with additional sections added to provide guidance to employees on professional behaviour with students, sexual misconduct and inappropriate relationships with students, use of social media by employees, managing conflicts of interest, privacy and confidentiality, use of Brisbane Catholic Education resources, copyright and intellectual property. Online training is expected to be available in 2017 to support staff in understanding their obligations.

Workplace bullying and sexual harassment policies and associated complaint management procedures were reviewed. In particular:

  • four existing policies were streamlined into the Brisbane Catholic Education Workplace Bullying and Sexual Harassment Policy

  • the Staff Complaints Management Procedure was revised to ensure effective management of staff complaints

  • the Staff Misconduct Procedure was revised to further support the management of complaints and allegations of misconduct

  • online training modules were also developed for workplace bullying and occupational violence, and sexual harassment.

​Safe and healthy work environments

Brisbane Catholic Education provides, promotes and maintains healthy and safe environments for employees, students and visitors in its schools and offices.

During 2016, focus on initiatives to manage the hazards and risks of work undertaken by grounds and maintenance staff aimed to improve Brisbane Catholic Education's safety culture.

Health and safety information was made available to staff throughout the year, and training was provided for both general and role specific health and safety matters. Of note:

  • workshops were attended by 92% of ground persons

  • more than three in five Brisbane Catholic Education employees participated in online Workplace Health and Safety Awareness training.

Engaged and satisfied staff

Brisbane Catholic Education conducted its third survey to assess staff job satisfaction and quality of working life. Feedback was generally positive:

  • 81% of school staff and 80% of Brisbane Catholic Education Office staff were satisfied with their job

  • 84% of school staff and 81% of Office staff were engaged in their work

  • 82% of school staff were satisfied with the school they worked in.

Following the survey, two committees were formed to make recommendations to respond to school and Office survey results. In addition, results from the survey were analysed by individual schools and Office teams.

A skilled and capable workforce now and in the future

The Principals' Strategic Workforce Plan 2015-16 identifies initiatives to support succession planning for Brisbane Catholic Education principal roles, and in 2016:

  • a principals' conformance and performance course was developed to be delivered in 2017 as the Leading with Integrity for Excellence program

  • the scholarship program was reviewed

  • research into the personal factors related to resilience of Catholic school principals was commissioned

  • a revised set of eligibility and qualification criteria for principal positions was trialled.

In addition, enterprise bargaining for Brisbane Catholic Education schools, principals and the Brisbane Catholic Education Office was successfully concluded in 2016.

School leaders driving school improvement

Growing and supporting leadership capability development is crucial to driving school improvement, particularly for Brisbane Catholic Education's next generation of leaders. 

In 2016, Brisbane Catholic Education continued to deliver three key leadership capability development programs:

  • Looking Forward is for primary teaching staff who anticipate a future role as assistant principal or assistant principal religious education and for secondary middle leaders who anticipate a future role as an assistant principal, deputy principal, assistant principal religious education or P-12 head. During 2016, 53 people participated in this program.

  • Stepping Up is for primary and secondary senior leaders (assistant principal, deputy principal, assistant principal religious education or P-12 head) and office staff who wish to understand the demands of leadership, particularly the role of principal. During 2016, 30 people participated in this program.

  • Aspiring Leaders is designed for staff contemplating leadership, with participants exploring leadership capabilities and developing personal awareness of leadership requirements within the Catholic context. During 2016, 140 people participated in this program.

Brisbane Catholic Education's Scholarship Program provides support to staff undertaking tertiary study in courses identified as priority study areas for Brisbane Catholic Education. Over $1 million is allocated to this program annually and during 2016, 110 scholarships were awarded.

Strong collaborations and relationships

Brisbane Catholic Education continued to work closely with Church bodies locally, and with the Truth Justice and Healing Council nationally to provide a cohesive response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

In relation to research collaboration, Brisbane Catholic Education facilitated collaborative research linkages with governments, universities and other relevant organisations. Partnering in research projects is contributing to Brisbane Catholic Education's strategic evidence base and is driving better teaching practice and outcomes for students. Partnerships have involved research grants and/or in-kind support and key achievements in 2016 included:

  • collaborating with the Australian Catholic University on the Education for sustainability in Brisbane Catholic Education schools research project which involved working with schools that had implemented effective sustainability practices to help inform guiding principles for all Brisbane Catholic Education schools and directions for future research on sustainable futures 

  • commissioning the Australian Catholic University to conduct a literature review on resilience, with the aim of developing an understanding of the personal characteristics that buffer Catholic school principals from experiencing negative responses to increasingly demanding work environments

  • commissioning a joint research project with the Queensland University of Technology and Australian Catholic University on student wellbeing to explore ways students can work alongside their teachers to develop a better understanding of student wellbeing and build more inclusive and connected communities

  • collaborating with The University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology on engaging parents in curriculum delivery via social media

  • participating in a project to increase understanding of elements that contribute to the wellbeing of young refugees with the  Queensland Department of Education and Training, the University of South Australia, the South Australian Department of Education and Child Development, Catholic Education South Australia and the Australian Refugee Association.

Brisbane Catholic Education Office

243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park Q 4102

GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia

Phone: (07) 3033 7000

Fax: (07) 3844 5101