Safety first

First cohort studying the Graduate Certificate in Education: Safeguarding Children and Young PeopleA group of school leaders, teachers and Catholic Education Melbourne staff are about to become the first in Australia to complete a postgraduate qualification specifically on safeguarding child safety in schools.

The four units of the Graduate Certificate in Education: Safeguarding Children and Young People at Australian Catholic University have been designed to explore the ways our schools respond to creating safe environments and to support the development of the whole child. The course, an Australian first of its kind, helps schools to not only navigate the legislation but also provides practical ways to promote this important work throughout their community.

‘Catholic education is striving to be a leader in child safety. There is a strong commitment to ensuring that this specialisation is informed by the latest research evidence and best practice, and that it is grounded in the rich social and moral teachings of the Catholic Church and theological understandings of the child’ said Stephen Elder, Executive Director of Catholic Education.

John Dwyer from St Francis of Assisi School, Mill Park, and Cathie Devery from Christ the King School, Braybrook, are two of the school leaders completing the course this month. ‘This course has reinforced to all participants that child safety is the cornerstone of all academic learning and the foundation of all personal growth,’ said John. ‘The course has put children at the very centre of our thinking, and challenges us to support their flourishing in more effective ways,’ said Cathie. ‘Engaging children meaningfully in the conversations and decision making is a vital step to empowering them.’

The next group of school leaders will begin the course in early 2018. National Child Protection Week 2017 runs until Sunday.