One of my roles at Glennie is to oversee the management of our Student Protection Policy and Procedures. During Chapel, I have been speaking to the girls about their own safety, the safety of others and what to do if they see or experience someone being harmed. It is important for everyone in our community to know how we prevent, prepare for and manage situations which may cause harm to children and young people.
The Glennie School is committed to the safety, welfare and wellbeing of students enrolled at the School. This commitment includes the provision of a safe and supportive living and learning environment for all students and requires all employees, volunteers and visitors to: model and encourage behaviour that upholds the dignity and protection of students from harm; and respond to allegations of student harm resulting from the conduct or actions of any person including that of employees. In support of this commitment, Glennie is dedicated to our Child and Youth Risk Management Strategy which includes having relevant policies, procedures and training in place to effectively address the safety and wellbeing of students in our care.
Parents can access information regarding our policies and procedures using the Student Protection link on the Glennie website.
https://www.glennie.qld.edu.au/about-us/student-protection/ These documents are updated regularly and A new parent information booklet has been produced that outlines how we define harm to children and young people and when schools are required to report harm to the relevant authorities. This booklet can be found here https://www.glennie.qld.edu.au/media/1509/child-protection-information-for-parents.pdf
All school staff attend regular professional development on student protection matters and are well trained to know what to do to respond to children who may have been harmed or be at risk of harm. Additionally, we have some staff who are specifically trained in providing a high level of care and response to reports of harm, neglect and inappropriate behaviour. These staffs are given the title of Student Protection Officer. These officers include Mrs Kate Harris (Head of Junior Years), Mrs Brenda Suhr (Assistant Head of Junior Years), Mrs Lynne Henare (Pitstop), Mrs Jodi Blades (Dean of Students), Mrs Donna Grant (Head of Boarding), Mrs Susan Rollason (Head of Donaldson), Mrs Kaye Broadfoot (Head of Hale House), Mrs Susan Watts (Head of Tufnell House), Mrs Cathy Waters (Head of Webber House), our new School Psychologist, Mrs Colleen Otto, and Rev’d Sharon Mitchell (Chaplain).
All disclosures in the area of child protection are treated confidentially as far as our processes and procedures allow. There are mandatory reporting thresholds that we must abide by and teachers and school staff will seek guidance from a Student Protection Officer (SPO) when responding to any disclosures. The SPO then reports to the Principal and the appropriate action is taken.
We have a number of avenues of support available to us. Some matters do require a report to the Police or the Department of Child Safety. We also make referrals to the Family and Child Connect Service which helps families to work through particular issues or concerns. At all times, our focus is on protecting children and young people and acting in the best interest of the child.
Finally, particularly for parents of young children, it can be difficult to talk about staying safe in a way that they understand. In Years 1 - 3 Chapel this week I showed the girls two videos in a series of clips that explain being safe in an age-appropriate way. They have been produced by Kidscape and can be found by searching “feeling happy, feeling safe” on YouTube It is important to have these conversations with your daughters regularly.
The most important messages we share with girls are: if you feel unsafe or fearful - walk away, use the word ‘no’ or ‘stop’, or ‘I don’t like that’. They are to always tell a trusted adult and never keep things a secret. We encourage the older girls to look out for their friends and to tell us if they are concerned about someone or something that has happened.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to be in contact with me through the Middle & Senior Years Reception 4688 8888 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Blessings for a peaceful and safe weekend
The Rev’d Sharon Mitchell