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Child Safety

At Columba Catholic Primary School, we acknowledge and understand that child safety is the responsibility of every person and is an integral aspect of student wellbeing. We aim to work collaboratively with parents, students and other community members to ensure a safe school environment.

Our commitment to the protection of students is based in our belief that each person is made in the image of God, and our ethos is to provide a safe and supportive environment. All students have the right to expect that the school will always act to protect them from any kind of harm.

We work under the Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Limited Guidelines and use their policies to guide the procedures that are implemented in our school.

Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Limited (DOSCEL) is committed to creating an environment where the safety, wellbeing and participation of all children and young people is paramount. DOSCEL's Commitment Statement to Child Safety affirms our commitment to:

  • zero tolerance to child abuse
  • listen to and empower children and young people
  • keep children and young people safe.

Child Protection

Protection of children and young people is based upon the belief that each person is made in the image and likeness of God, and that the inherent dignity of all should be recognised and fostered.

DOSCEL is committed to child protection strategies and procedures to ensure the care, safety and protection of all children and young people in Catholic schools in the Diocese and safeguarding children and young people against sexual, physical, psychological and emotional abuse and/or neglect.

Victorian Child Safe Standards

DOSCEL is committed to complying with Ministerial Order No. 870: Child Safe Standards - Managing the Risk of Child Abuse in Schools, and following the Victorian Child Safe Standards.

Child Safety also considers the diversity of all children, including (but not limited to) the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, children with disabilities, and children who are vulnerable

Prevention and Response

Preventing and responding to child abuse requires a whole of community response to bring about broad cultural change. To this end, the Victorian Child Safe Standards apply to a broad range of organisations that provide services for children, including schools, churches, sporting clubs and youth services.

Ensuring we have child safe communities goes to the heart of our faith and core purpose. Therefore, we are dedicated to upholding the values and practices that create safe learning environments for students.

Reporting and Contacts

If you have any concerns or questions regarding Child Safety please contact our Child Safety Officers

Andrew Greco (Principal) or Caz Websdale (Deputy Principal)

There are a number of supports available when responding to incidents, disclosures or suspicions of child abuse.

Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Limited

Industrial Relations / Human Resources

Child Protection Officer

24 Hour Services

Victoria Police: 000

DHHS Child Protection: 131 278

Other Services

Policies

Other Resources

Legislation

Child Information Sharing Scheme and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme

The Information Sharing Schemes were introduced in response to Royal Commissions, coronial inquests and independent inquiries over the past decade that identified poor information sharing as a barrier to service collaboration with detrimental outcomes for children and families. The Information Sharing Schemes will enable schools and other prescribed Information Sharing Entities (ISE) to access and share relevant information to promote the wellbeing and safety of children, and to assess and manage family violence risk.

Phase One of implementation of the Schemes commenced in September 2018 and included key tertiary and frontline services, such as Child Protection, Maternal and Child Health Services and Victoria Police. From 19 April 2021, as part of Phase Two, universal services such as education and health will be authorised to share information using the Schemes. On and from this date, DOSCEL and its schools, Victorian government, non-government schools and centre-based education and care services, such as long day care, kindergarten and outside school hours care services, will be prescribed as ISE under the Child Information Sharing Scheme and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme and will have an expanded ability to collaborate and share confidential information with other authorised professionals.

The Information Sharing Schemes complement and expand upon existing information sharing and child protection laws and do not replace already existing authorisation to share information such as the Child Safe Standards, reporting to Child Protection or Victoria Police, the Reportable Conduct Scheme and other privacy and information sharing laws.

From the commencement of Term 2 2021, DOSCEL and its schools will also become Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) organisations and will be required to align to MARAM over time.

Information Sharing Scheme Entities can make contact with us by phoning 56295933 or emailing office@bunyip.catholic.edu.au

Students in Out of Home Care

Children and young people in Out of Home Care live in a range of alternative care arrangements away from their parents, including living with relatives or friends (kinship care), living with non-relative families (home-based care, sometimes known as foster care) and living in residential care units with rostered care staff (residential care). They are a diverse group who share the common experience of being exposed to significant abuse and trauma which has resulted in them being removed from the care of their parents. It is a fundamental right that all children and young people are protected, cared for and educated in a way that maximises their life opportunities.

The Out-of-Home Care Education Commitment: A Partnering Agreement between the Department of Human Services, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and Independent Schools Victoria (the Partnering Agreement) acknowledges that providing the best start in life for children and young people in out-of-home care is a shared responsibility. It provides a common understanding of the expectations and requirements of all parties to ensure that strategies are implemented for all children and young people in out-of home care to provide the foundations for educational success.

See The Out Of Home Care Education Commitment

Emergencies and Natural Disasters

CEOSale schools are well prepared to deal with emergency situations.

Each school has an emergency management plan that identifies procedures to follow in the event of an emergency. If an emergency should occur, the school emergency management team is quickly established to support and meet the needs of students and families. We ask all families have their contact details updated with the school office and that all families are connected through our Communication Apps.

If there is an emergency situation during the school day, the safety and wellbeing of students will be the highest priority. No student details will be released to anyone other than those authorised on their enrolment form.

To assist schools to prepare for and manage emergencies, we ask you to:

  • ensure your child’s emergency contact details held by the school are up to date
  • ensure school staff are alerted to any special medical or dietary requirements of your child
  • notify the school principal of any emergency situation involving your child.

Bushfires

CODE RED days

A Fire Danger Rating of Code Red, is the highest level of rating in Victoria. It signifies the worst conditions for grassfires and bushfires. Code Red ratings are only called for days of extraordinary and extremely dangerous conditions. 

UNDERSTANDING CODE RED DAYS CFA

Columba has been identified as being at high fire risk for grassfire, and will close on days determined Code Red by the Emergency Management Commissioner.

Where possible, three (3) days notice of a planned closure will be provided. However, experience indicates that a Code Red fire danger rating day may be forecast at short notice. Parents and guardians should expect that in some instances less than three days notice may be provided. Once the final decision to close is confirmed at 12 noon the day prior, this decision will not change – regardless of any changes in the weather forecast. This will help limit confusion and help families plan for how their children will be cared for when their school is closed.


When a school is closed in response to bushfire risk, no one, including staff, contractors and other users, will be permitted on site. Families will be notified via the SZapp communication app if it is necessary to close the school on a Code Red day.

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Pandemic

Please see our COVID-19 News and Resources page