Mandatory Reporting + lawful and reasonable directions for staff ... 
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Education Law Notes:  Your School & the Law
Term 4, 2015
Dear <<First Name>>, 

As this is the last issue of Education Law Notes for 2015, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best in the lead up to Christmas and the end of the school year.  I hope that Education Law Notes has provided you with helpful and interesting reading material during the year and look forward to writing to you again during Term 1 of 2016!

In this issue we discuss:
  • mandatory reporting - we compare an Ohio (USA) case with Australian Commonwealth and State laws; and
  • lawful and reasonable directions - when can a School make lawful directions in respect to the off-work activities of employees.

David Ford
Mandatory reporting:  
children's statements to teachers about abuse
One day in 2010 a three year old boy arrived at his preschool in Ohio with a bloodstained eye. Two teachers at the preschool asked the boy ‘who did this to you?’ The boy replied it was his mother’s boyfriend. The teachers contacted Ohio’s child welfare agency, as they were required to do under the state’s mandatory-reporter law. The agency’s investigation led to charges of assault and endangering children against the boyfriend.

At trial, the boy was said to be unable to testify, so prosecutors relied on the boy’s identification of his mother’s boyfriend in the statements to his teachers. The mother’s boyfriend was convicted and sentenced to 28 years in prison.

However, the boyfriend appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court which came to the surprising view that the mandatory duty for teachers to report child abuse goes further than the mere act of reporting. 
Read more ...
No teacher contact with students outside school
- a lawful and reasonable direction?

For a number of years students from a NSW school attended a surf lifesaving club for training and other events. A teacher from the school was involved in arranging the activities and regularly drove students to the club in his own car after school hours during the week and on weekends. This was generally done without a parent being present, although with their consent.

The school warned the teacher that he was not to have students in his car and was no longer to be involved in activities at the surf lifesaving club with students of the school, regardless of whether it was during weekends or after school. When the school became aware that the teacher had not complied with this direction, his employment was terminated.

Read more ...
NSW Child Protection Laws Amended
Changes to the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act, the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act and the Ombudsman Act come into effect on 2 November 2015.  Key points to note are:
  1. The obligations on a school to verify that a teacher is the holder of a working with children check clearance or has applied for one are set out in detail.
  2. A school council must verify that the school principal holds a working with children check clearance.
  3. A school principal may disclose to a child allegedly the subject of reportable conduct, or to a parent of the child, information about the progress of the investigation into the allegation, the investigation findings and any action taken in response to those findings.
Please contact David Ford (, Nathan Croot ( or Andrew Egri ( if you need help in updating your school’s child protection policy to take into account these changes.
Seminars for Schools:
School Law Seminar:
'Practical Solutions to Complex Problems '
Date:  Thursday 5 November 2015
Time:  8.45am – 1.00pm
Venue:  UNSW CBD Campus, Level 6, 1 O'Connell Street, Sydney
Cost:  $440

Nathan Croot (Senior Associate, Emil Ford Lawyers) will be a presenter at this seminar for all School Principals, Teachers & Legal Advisers.  Nathan will be presenting on the topic Managing Conflicts with Parents including:
• Prevention and early intervention
• Navigating the complaint process
• Restoring the relationship

For more information and how to register visit the UNSW School Law Seminar webpage.

Joint Legal Conference 
‘Managing Risk in Schools’
**This conference will be filmed - see details below**

We remind you of this joint conference between CIRCLE and Emil Ford Lawyers.

CIRCLE – The Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity and Leadership in Education is an executive agency in education, which works with over 1,750 schools and other organisations in Australia and beyond and draws on nearly 3 decades of consultancy, review, research, publication, training and development.

EMIL FORD LAWYERS is a legal firm that has specialised in providing legal services to the education sector throughout Australia for 30 years.
Date: Wednesday 28 October 2015  (Can't make it to the Conference? It will be filmed.  Please contact Circle to register your interest in obtaining a copy).
Time:  12:00 noon – 4:00pm (Lunch provided from 12:00 noon – 1:00pm)
Venue: UTS University Aerial UTS Function Centre, Building 10, Level 7,
235 Jones Street, Ultimo 2007, NSW (5 min walk from Central train station)
Circle’s Cost: $95 per person (includes lunch, afternoon tea and delegate package)
Who should attend:  This seminar is designed for people who are in key leadership positions: Principals, Deputies, Heads of schools, Business Managers, HR Managers.
Conference Session Outline

1:00 – 1:10pm  CIRCLE Introduction
1:10 – 2:30pm  Emil Ford Lawyers
  • Managing Risks in Workplace Health and Safety - Are you an officer with duties under workplace health and safety laws?
  • Child Protection - How can a good child protection policy assist you manage risks in this area?
  • Deeds of Indemnity, Insurance and Access - Should you be a party to such a deed?
2.30-2.45pm Tea Break
2.45-3.30pm  Emil Ford Lawyers
  • Managing Risks in Enrolments
    • Disability Discrimination
    • Fee Recovery
3.30-4.00pm CIRCLE
  • "Risk Management in Schools - 5 principles/strategies & characteristics of a school that manages risk" (interactive session)
To register for this event and receive a receipt please visit:

For more information on this event, please contact CIRCLE’s Client Relations Manager: or Tel 02 9002 3157.

T  02 9267 9800
David Ford    |    Garry Pritchard   |    Fred Chilton     |    Nigel Russell
Warwick van Ede   |   Nathan Croot   |   John Murn   |    Andrew Egri   |   Trudie Strathdee
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