Some 300 assaults on teachers were reported to DET in the first semester of 2009 and we know that this is the tip of the iceberg as most staff do not make formal reports of such incidents or they do not result in suspension and therefore do not come to the attention of central office.
More and more of SSTUWA office time and teachers’ time is being consumed by such events.
Say No to workplace violence - This is not part of the job !
You are entitled to a safe workplace and DET must manage all workplace hazards including violent students in order to minimise the risk of physical and psychological harm to staff.
In order to pursue safer workplaces for members the SSTUWA is asking members to Report, Record and seek Redress. Ensure that the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Legislation are followed in your workplace.
You are entitled to a Safe Workplace
Remember Safe Workplace = Safe School and a safe supportive learning and teaching environment
The overall objective of the anti-violence campaign is to create a safe workplace and in doing so a school that is safe for the school community and to enhance teaching and learning.
1Awareness and education
2Ensure schools report and record incidents of physical assault, intimidation, harassment and abuse of staff
3Ensure OSH representatives are kept informed and are consulted on issues affecting staff safety and health
4Ensure risk management plans are in place for students exhibiting violent behaviour
1Ensure managers are trained in risk assessment and control
2Ensure managers are supported in carrying out their obligations under the OSH laws
3Ensure District Offices and Schools are resourced to evaluate and manage violence
4A school based police officer trial
5Improved access to psychology services to allow identification of behavioural problems and intervention at an early age
6Increased security measures in schools as appropriate
7Regulating to ensure schools can take appropriate action to achieve a safe workplace and safe school environment
8Increase and maintain alternative education opportunities for students who present a risk to safety and health of staff and other students
SSTUWA Anti-Violence Campaign
An intensive focus on violence in schools in recent years by the SSTUWA through member action and negotiation, has led to many initiatives that prevent or reduce the impact of Violence in Schools including:
- Behaviour centres for both primary and secondary students
- Extension of SPER (Social, Psychological Education Resource) services to country districts
- Extra staff and money to reduce class sizes and fund special behaviour programs (over $70 million dollars since 2004)
- Classroom Management and Instructional Strategies (CMIS) professional development program
- CMIS Consultants
- CMIS career structure
- Keeping our Workplace Safe (KOWS) resource
- KOWS Professional Development
- WA Police Department support for KOWS professional development
- Changes to enrolment process
- Review of exclusion procedures and Central and District Office specialist support for schools to assist with exclusions
- Memorandum of Understanding with Juvenile Justice
- Review of incident notification
- Changes to Regulation 38 (Physical Restraint)
SSTUWA A POSSIBLE ACTION FOR MEMBERS
- Make sure you have one or more OSH Representatives that are trained and actively working with the Union Representatives and Branch to pursue the above goals.
- Seek a review of your behaviour management policy and incident response procedures.
- Ensure all incidents of assault, intimidation and abuse are investigated and acted upon and that staff are notified of outcomes.
- Seek to ensure that risk management plans are in place for students or other persons infringing acceptable behaviour standards.
- Ensure that every student suspended because of violence against staff or students will only be re-admitted when a satisfactory, documented risk management plan has been put in place.
- All members including administrators to seek appropriate training to support the goal of Safe Workplace – Safe School.
- Administrators who are members should seek support from District office to achieve this goal.
- Administrators should establish links with the local police through the Officer-in-Charge (IOC).
- Ensure all assaults, intimidation and severe verbal abuse are reported through the Incident Notification System.
- Staff should consider reporting physical assaults, serious threats to safety and damage to personal property to the police. Contact Member Assist for advice if you have concerns - Ph: 9210 6060
- Where there is a risk of injury or ill-health and the matter cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of members, consider initiating the agree OSH Issue Resolution process.
- Provisional Improvement Notices (PIN’s) may also be served by qualified OSH representatives to assist with resolving issues. Advice should be sought from the SSTUWA if there are concerns on what action to take.
- Work with the parent community to support the Safe Workplace – Safe School goals.
- Write to your local member, the Education Minister and the Premier supporting the SSTUWA goals (e.g. ongoing support for behaviour centres).