3 March 2017

Dear Parents

In building community at Corpus Christi College, ensuring students are connected in support of one another, we have held a number of key events for Term One recently including the Community Mass and Ash Wednesday liturgy, and the Inter-House Swimming Carnival. I congratulate all the students involved in making these weeks special, in particular, our choir and music students led by Head of Music Mr David Harries who ensured the Mass was an uplifting experience, acknowledged by many parents and friends who joined us. Newly appointed Liturgy and Retreats Coordinator Mrs Judy Coelho has prepared a large number of events in the past month, for which the College is grateful. I am sure the Year 7 and new students to the College feel very much enculturated by now!

Board and Parents and Friends (P&F) Elections

Congratulations to Mrs Cazz Gould who was elected President of the P&F, joining the P&F executive members Ms Sandra Fedele (Vice-President), Ms Silvana Pante-Cohen (Secretary) and Mrs Shelley Hill (Treasurer and Board representative).

I take this opportunity to introduce the Board for 2017, after the recent elections held at the Annual Community meeting. Newly elected members Messrs Karl Videmanis and Jens Radanovic join Board Chair Mr Greg LeGuier, Dr Antonio Girardi (Vice Chair), Mr Russell Hardwick (Chair of Finance and Risk), Mr Darren Cutri, Mr Domenic Santini (Chair of Building Committee), Marcus Passauer and Keith Moylan.

Greg will be writing articles to the community from time to time regarding the work of the Board, its close association to the College Executive Leadership team and the subsequent strategic planning for the benefit of our student community, now and into the future.

Important Messages from Dr Tim McDonald and Archbishop Timothy Costelloe

I received a communication from CEWA Executive Director Dr Tim McDonald, regarding the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, which I have been asked to share with the College community. I implore you to read or listen to Archbishop Timothy Costelloe’s Pastoral letter attached, an important message for all of us.

"As you may be aware, I recently attended the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney, to participate on a panel with representatives of Catholic education from other states. I spoke about governance and child safety structures and policy in place in Catholic Education Western Australia.

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe also attended Royal Commission hearings, along with metropolitan Archbishops from other states, and spoke frankly and openly about the Catholic Church’s failings, acknowledging the real hurt and suffering experienced by survivors of abuse, and answering questions about the Archdiocese of Perth’s ongoing work to seek healing and reconciliation.

Now that the final hearing of the Royal Commission has concluded, Archbishop Costelloe has published a pastoral letter, as well as a video conveying the same message, for the Catholic Community of the Archdiocese of Perth, including Catholic schools”.  Please view the Archbishop’s video here:"

          http://www.perthcatholic.org.au/Our_Archdiocese-Archbishop-Videos.htm

Corpus Christi College Professional Code of Conduct

This week, Deputy Principal Mr Jim Elliott and HR Officer Ms Belinda Hermawan presented the College Professional Code of Conduct to the College Board, who were very engaged in the process of consultation of an important document in the life of the College community. I continue to include the Code of Conduct in successive newsletters, which I invite all parents to read.

Corpus Christi College Professional Code of Conduct Part 2

The purpose of the Corpus Christi College Code of Conduct is to describe minimum standards of conduct in all behaviour and decision making to ensure the safety and well-being of students. I have referred to the newly drafted Professional Code of Conduct which takes into immediate effect for 2017.

Members of the College community are to embody the College’s philosophy and value system, by demonstrating a commitment to ethical behaviour and professionalism in all their dealings with each other.

The Code applies to staff, students, volunteers, parents and guardians as applicable. The term ‘parents’ includes guardians.

This week, I will address the first three of the twelve standards. As you can see, this is an extensive document. I invite all to read through the conduct carefully. The examples of breaches are currently in draft form, but the Conduct Statements and Guidelines are mandated by the Catholic Education Commission of WA.

Conduct Statement 1

We act in accordance with the values of the Gospel as defined in the Code of Ethical Conduct.

Guidelines

1.    We are mindful that our decisions and behaviour are opportunities for students and others to see Gospel values in action and how faith integrates with life. Therefore, we are responsible for educating ourselves and anyone we lead on the content of those values, and their practical application in our decision making.

2.    We acknowledge that as a member of a Catholic school community, we are required to strive to develop and live out our relationships with all people in a manner that is based on Gospel values as defined in the CECWA Code of Ethical Conduct.

3.    We accept that as a member of a Catholic school community, our conduct reflects on Catholic Education and the Church, and therefore, we must strive to uphold the letter and spirit of the Code of Ethical Conduct.

4.  We are called upon by the Code of Ethical Conduct to act in a manner that is:

  • Based on Christian ethics
  • Professional
  • Timely
  • Contextually appropriate.

5.     The Code of Ethical Conduct requires us to take an ethical approach based on the living out of Gospel values which find expression in:

  • Respect for the dignity of each person
  • Acknowledgment of the giftedness of each person
  • Commitment to building positive relationships
  • Confidentiality
  • Accountability.

6.     Respecting dignity is based on:

  • A conscious appreciation of the sacredness of the individual’s creation
  • A sensitivity to the fact that each individual has emotions, fears, hopes and an innate goodness which flows from creation in the image of God.

 7.   Recognising the giftedness of others involves:

  • Discerning these gifts
  • Naming and acknowledging these gifts
  • Empowering individuals and groups to use their gifts.

 8.    Fostering positive relationships which flow from being:

  • Welcoming and open
  • Honest and loyal
  • Trusting and trustworthy
  • Willing to share knowledge, skills, resources and insights.

9.     Committing to appropriate confidentiality based on:

  • Respect for others
  • Professionalism.

10.    Committing to:

  • The Mandate of the Bishops of Western Australia
  • The acceptance of responsibility for any action or initiative at a personal and professional level.

Example breaches include but are not limited to:

Specific behaviours: Staff

  • A staff member discussing College business or students in a public forum without authorisation or due regard to confidentiality or respect for others
  • A staff member not using correct line managers to address a problem with a staff member
  • A staff member inappropriately forwarding emails which were intended for one person to another person
  • A staff member not planning in a way that appropriately differentiates and meets the needs of the individual students, e.g. special needs students in a mainstream class
  • A staff member neglecting College expectations in terms of behaviour management.

Specific behaviours: Students

  • A student not respecting individual performances, i.e. comparing and being judgemental
  • A student bullying others on the basis of appearance, performance, differences or other, whether discreetly or indiscreetly, on College grounds or outside
  • A student excluding others
  • A student not engaging in gifted and talented opportunities
  • A student engaging in “Tall poppy syndrome” behaviours
  • A student disrupting the learning of others
  • A student littering and disrespecting or damaging their environment.

Specific behaviours: Parents

  • A parent not complying with rules and regulations that protect teachers’ and other students’ privacy, e.g. A parent ignoring signs saying “Staff and students only”
  • A parent holding unrealistic expectations regarding feedback on children’s assessments
  • A parent communicating with staff in an antagonistic manner
  • A parent not following due procedure in terms of raising concerns with the teacher themselves and instead contacting the College Leadership or outside entity.

 Specific behaviours: Volunteers

  • A volunteer breaching confidentiality of College information
  • A volunteer not signing in at College reception
  • A volunteer having an ulterior motive or conflict of interest when volunteering their services.

Specific behaviours: Visitors

A visitor not signing in at College reception and being accompanied when on College grounds

Conduct statement 2

We respect the dignity, culture, values and beliefs of each member of the school community.

Guidelines

1.     We respect both the person and capacity of each member of the school community, treat them with dignity, show respect for their culture, values and beliefs.

2.     We interact with members of our school community in an honest and respectful manner.

3.     We perform our duties and conduct our relations with students and members of the school community with fairness and justice. This includes taking appropriate action to ensure the safety and quality of the education and care of students are not compromised because of harmful or prejudicial attitudes about culture, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, religion, disability, spirituality, political, social or health status.

4.     In planning and providing education and school support services, we uphold the standards of culturally safe and competent care. This includes according due respect and consideration to the cultural knowledge, values, beliefs, personal wishes and decisions of each member of the school community. We acknowledge the changing nature of families and recognise that families can be constituted in a variety of ways.

5.     We do not express racist, sexist, homophobic, ageist and other prejudicial and discriminatory attitudes and behaviours toward any member of the school community. We take appropriate action when observing any such prejudicial and discriminatory attitudes and behaviours.

6.     In making professional judgements in relation to the interests and rights of a member of the school community, we do not contravene the law or breach the human rights of any person.

Example breaches include but are not limited to:

 Specific behaviours: Staff

  • A staff member using inappropriate language
  • A staff member engaging in discriminatory, disparaging, abusive, offensive behaviour or any act(s) amounting to bullying or harassment (including sexual harassment)
  • A staff member offending a student by not respecting their background or traditions
  • Staff member making inappropriate assumptions or comments about a person’s beliefs, ethnicity, age, religion or any individual trait
  • A staff member categorising or making stereotypical comments referring to a person’s physical attributes
  • A staff member using inappropriate sarcasm or humour
  • A staff member failing to respond to a reasonable request in a timely manner.

 Specific behaviours: Students

  • A student taking inappropriate photos or video of another student and sharing it
  • A student engaging in, abetting or encouraging bullying, whether at school or online
  • A student making racist or sexist remarks, or using any abusive language
  • A student encouraging inappropriate behaviour from students with disabilities
  • A student not showing respect by asking teachers inappropriate questions.

 Specific behaviours: Parents

  • A parent engaging in excessive or inappropriate communication with staff
  • A parent using inappropriate language during a teacher/parent interview
  •  A parent making disrespectful comments about other students
  • A parent disregarding and being unsupportive of staff in relation to College policies.

Specific behaviours: Volunteers

  • A volunteer making inappropriate comments to students and not respecting different value systems or the educational environment
  • A volunteer who is an ex-student who coaches or assists with extra-curricular activities being overly familiar with current students.

Specific behaviours: Visitors

  • A visitor making inappropriate comments to students and not respecting different value systems or the educational environment
    • E.g. Guest speaker makes an off-the-cuff comment that is inappropriate eg. “The school has always been supportive of me, whether it be rowing, racing or chasing girls”.
    • E.g. Photographers making inappropriate comments about appearance which could be interpreted as racist, sexist, etc.

Conduct statement 3

We give priority to students’ safety and well-being in all our behaviour and decision making.

Guidelines

1.     We accept that we and all adults have individual and joint responsibility for the safety and well-being of students.

2.     We ensure the safety and well-being of students are the primary focus of our actions and decisions, and take precedence over any other considerations including the reputation of the school and our own needs.

3.     We support the safety, health and well-being of each student, promoting and supporting decisions and behaviour that contribute to the student’s self-confidence, safety and well-being.

4.     We do not behave in any way that risks creating ambiguity about whether we are acting in the best interests of a student.

5.     We respectfully communicate in plain language and in a way the student and those supporting their education can understand so they may fully participate in that education.

6.     We support informed decision making by advising the student as appropriate and those supporting their education about education options, and assist the student and their supporters to make informed decisions about that education.

7.     We endeavour to ensure the voice of the student is heard as appropriate, taking into account age and circumstances.

8.     We seek out, welcome, and learn from information relevant to the safety and well-being of students in any form including advice, disclosures, complaints, criticisms, feedback and performance reviews. We look for opportunities to engage in formal and informal group and self-reflection and professional development about our own and others’ decisions, so that we and the school can learn and continuously improve.

9.     We recognise that all information about students collected by school staff is done so on behalf of the Principal and for the benefit of the student. Therefore, all information is disclosed to and accessible by all who have a need to know it in order to support the education, safety and well-being of the student.

10.  We respectfully advocate for the safety and well-being of students above all other considerations.

11.  We recognise the importance that students’ education continues without interruption or disturbance.

12.  We disclose to the Principal any information that a reasonable person would recognise may be relevant to the safety and well-being of students, so that the Principal may make appropriate decisions to manage any risk to them. This includes any relationship with any person who may have been accused of harming children or acting unsafely towards them.

13.  We recognise that students and their parents are entitled to assume that the sole focus of our engagements with students is to educate them within a safe environment that puts their well-being above all else. We understand that this trust by parents and students puts the onus on us to use our relationship with students solely for their education. We use all engagements with students and their parents, whether in person, through a third party, or via digital media for the purpose of teaching the curriculum. 

14.  We do not accept gifts or benefits that could be viewed as a means of influencing our objective decision making.

Example breaches include but are not limited to:

 Specific behaviours: Staff

  • A staff member engaging in unclear communication with students
  • A staff member not listening to student concerns
  • A staff member being late for class or duty, or leaving students unattended
  • A staff member showing a lack of duty of care
  • A staff member ignoring students drinking on College grounds
  • A staff member attending school intoxicated or under the influence of illicit substances
  • A staff member whose decision-making is impaired by the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • A staff member not intervening in student behaviour that is unsafe
  • A staff member not using equipment in an appropriate, safe and educational way
  • A staff member not ensuring that the work space is safe
  • A staff member not maintaining personal and professional boundaries with students and in relation to other staff or community members
  • A staff member not maintaining timely, accurate and appropriate communication with parents and students regarding behaviour, academic performance and pastoral care
  • A staff member being influenced by gifts.

Specific behaviours: Students

  • A student engaging in unsafe behaviour
  • A student engaging in bullying or harassment
  • A student ignoring safety instructions
  • A student coming to school or attending College events under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • A student using equipment in an unsafe manner
  • A student engaging in unsafe actions or behaviours on College grounds or public transport.

Specific behaviours: Parents

  • A parent supplying alcohol to students
  • A parent driving other students without permission
  • A parent coming to school or attending community events under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • A parent not listening to, or informing the College of, student concerns reported to them
  • A parent not adhering to College policies and procedures.

Specific behaviours: Volunteers

  • A volunteer coming onto College premises under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • A volunteer not adhering to College’s policies and procedures
  • A volunteer not providing the College with appropriate documentation in a timely fashion
  • A volunteer not communicating effectively when working with or near students.

Specific behaviours: Visitors

  • A visitor coming onto College premises under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • A visitor not adhering to College’s policies and procedures
  • A visitor not providing the College with appropriate documentation in a timely fashion
  • A visitor not communicating effectively when working with or near students.

Dropping off Students – unsafe practices

A number of community members have expressed their concern over the students who are being dropped off or picked up on Dean Road in the morning, in areas which are not designated for this purpose and causing safety concerns for the students who cycle to school. Similarly, some of these students are not wearing their helmets. These practices are simply unsafe. Please take heed of this safety message.

Reminders:

  •  Parents and Friends Association Meeting – 7 March 6.00pm in the College Staffroom
     
  • Whole School Assembly – Wednesday 8 March, 8.45am in the David Heath Gymnasium, Corpus Christi College Community Centre
     
  • Open Days – Thursday 9 March and Tuesday 14 March 2017.

Best wishes and God bless

Mrs Caroline Payne
Principal