In brief - Victoria's education and training regulator issues framework outlining their decision-making process on the actions they may take when child safety risks in a school are raised

The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) has recently published their new School Intervention Framework

This framework is designed to assist VRQA to determine what action they should take when they become aware of:

When VRQA becomes aware of a concern in a school, they can apply the framework to ascertain what level of intervention is appropriate in the circumstances.

Conversely, schools can use the framework to understand what action VRQA might take if child safety risks are identified through, for example, media reports, referrals from another agency, or complaints.

When will VRQA take action?

The framework clearly identifies 'action indicators', which effectively outline situations where VRQA will take a lower or more increased level of action at a school. Examples include:
 

Lower level of action Increased level of action
  • School leadership and/or governing body has demonstrated it is responding appropriately to the allegations.

  • The school has a history of transparent and good governance. 

  • The allegations do not indicate there is a current risk of harm to students at the school. 

  • School leadership and/or governing body has not demonstrated it is responding appropriately to the allegations. 

  • The school has a history of poor governance.

  • The allegations indicate there is a current risk of harm to students at the school.

  • The allegations relate to higher-risk school environments, e.g. boarding facility, home stay, camp.


These 'action indicators' make clear that intervention is less likely to be required where schools are cooperative, proactive, responsive to child safety concerns and aware of and compliant with their legislative obligations.  

What actions will VRQA take?

VRQA provides a list of actions they may take when intervening in a school. These range from low-level intervention, which might involve simply monitoring the matter, to high-level intervention, which could involve requesting an urgent meeting with the Principal and governing body.

VRQA regulates government and non-government education providers, meaning this uniform framework will ensure intervention in all schools is fair, consistent, proportionate and transparent. 

This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2021.

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