Policy

The ministry of an effective Christian school is dependent on the existence of positive relationships among, and between, members of the school community at all levels. The importance of unity cannot be overstated as we have a responsibility before our students to model Christian behaviour in every area, particularly our relationships. In fact, we are commanded to live in relationship; first to love God and then to love one another. Our relationships with one another are a reflection of our corporate spirituality. When issues arise that jeopardise our unity we should endeavour to resolve them in ways that maintain relationships and bring glory to God.

At Providence Christian College we posit a biblical approach for attending to concerns, resolving conflicts, and addressing divisive issues, aimed at bringing about resolution and restoring relationship. While we would hope that such issues will not arise it is important that when they do, there is a procedure to guide staff, students and parents in addressing such matters.

A grievance constitutes an expression of dissatisfaction to the College about its services, decisions, actions, the actions of its staff, or about the grievance management process itself, and as such will be approached with care and taken seriously, and responded to in a timely and thorough manner.

All grievances will be kept confidential as far as is possible/lawful but, any matter relating to grooming and/or child abuse, or any other reportable incidents as per the legislation, will be reported to the Director General of the Department of Education Services and illegal activity will be reported to the Police. Any information requested will only be released in accordance with the relevant authority’s direction.

No form of victimisation or adverse consequences will be tolerated towards a complainant – Providence Christian College takes seriously its duty of care towards all staff, students and members of its broader community and supports a nurturing culture of support and safe disclosure.

All matters of conflict and/or dispute/s will be treated in fairness and without bias, with appropriate opportunity afforded for all voices to be heard. Decisions/outcomes will be supported by appropriate evidence and matters under dispute will be further investigated.

We endeavour to respond to concerns within 5 days and, when necessary, the need for more time will be communicated. Concerns are considered at Leadership level where it is recorded and investigated.

As a general premise, we believe that any conflict is best resolved at the lowest possible level. Discussions with other parties, either personally or through social media, to garner support is inappropriate and unhelpful, and usually causes even more harm. We therefore encourage our parents to address the concern with the appropriate teacher/staff member in the first instance, but if circumstances prohibit this, parents are welcome to raise their concern with whomever they feel comfortable in their chosen manner.

Types of Grievances 

May include but is not limited to:

Grievance with a Staff Member: When an issue arises, the Biblical approach would be to talk to the person concerned in an encouraging and supportive manner. Suggestions for a positive outcome can be:

  • Make an appointment and alert the person about the topic
  • Prepare what you want to say in advance
  • Bring any supporting documents with you
  • Bring a support person/translator(/witness?)
  • Be calm and polite
  • Be prepared for another perspective/version of what happened
  • Suggest a solution/outcome fitting to the circumstances
  • Ask questions about the process and timelines for feedback
  • Make notes

Grievance with another Parent: When an issue arises, the Biblical approach would be to talk to the person concerned in an encouraging and supportive manner. Suggestions for a positive outcome are:

  • Make an appointment and alert the person about the topic
  • Prepare what you want to say in advance
  • Bring any supporting documents with you
  • Bring a support person/translator(/witness?)
  • Be calm and polite
  • Be prepared for another perspective/version of what happened
  • Suggest a solution/outcome fitting to the circumstances
  • Ask questions about the process and timelines for feedback
  • Make notes

Grievance with a Student: At no time should a parent engage with any student other than their own child regarding a school-related grievance.

  • In the case of a grievance relating to an incident at school, the parent may inform the College of the incident and allow the College to investigate further.
  • In the case of a non-school-related incident, the College would not expect to be involved.

Grievance regarding Bullying: Refer to the College Bullying Policy –

  • Bullying concerns may be reported via reportbullying@providence.wa.edu.au. The College maintains a record of concerns that assist in identifying concerning trends and inform our commitment to continuous improvement.
  • Should your grievance be with the outcome/process of an already lodged bullying concern, please contact the relevant teacher to address these concerns.

Grievance regarding Curriculum/teaching standards: In the first instance, see the teacher concerned. This can be a form teacher or the Head of Learning or Year Group Coordinator. They can be contacted via email, in writing, in person, or by phone 08 9455 1607.

Grievance regarding Behaviour Management: In the first instance, see the teacher concerned. They can be contacted via email, in writing, in person, or by phone 08 9455 1607.

Property/parking concerns may be raised either by:

  • email to admin@providence.wa.edu.au,
  • or by phone on 08 9455 1607,
  • or via SEQTA Engage by completing a Parent Comments & Suggestions form,
  • or in person by contacting any of our friendly teaching or administrative staff.

Fees/Other financial concerns can be raised:

  • either by email to finance@providence.wa.edu.au,
  • or by phone 08 9455 1607,
  • or in person by contacting any of our friendly Finance Office staff.

Excursions/camps – Please raise any concerns related to these, or other day-to-day activities of your child, directly with your child’s form teacher:

  •  via email (found by clicking on the relevant subject in your child’s timetable in SEQTA),
  • or by phone on 08 9455 1607,
  • or via SEQTA Engage by completing a Parent Comments & Suggestions form,
  • or in person by contacting any of our friendly teaching or administrative staff.

Breaches of the Code of Conduct – please refer breaches of the Staff Code of Conduct to the Principal.

Register 

Detailed registers are kept of grievances to ensure that:

  • issues are followed up
  • there is transparency in the process
  • we are able to reach a resolution
  • we can facilitate restoration whenever possible
  • and so that we can analyse the data collected to look for causes and/or trends that we can address.

No records will be destroyed without the prior approval of the Director General, or where their retention becomes impracticable or unduly onerous, are forwarded to the Director General with her permission for retention in accordance with the State Records Act 2000.

Roles

It is the expectation at the College that, in most normal circumstances, grievances will be dealt with at the lowest possible level, following biblical principles. In practice this means that when a parent has an issue with a particular teacher, they will address the issue with the teacher concerned in the first instance, seeking to restore the situation.

If the parent is not satisfied with the outcome, they are welcome to invite the teacher to join them in a conversation with the teacher’s upline – possibly the HOLA or Coordinator.

Should this not prove satisfactory, they should meet with the Head of School.

Should this not prove satisfactory, they should meet with the Principal.

NOTE:

  • At all levels, it is expected that Staff will inform their respective Heads-of-School of any grievance that arises. Depending on the severity of the grievance the Head-of-School may inform the Principal.
  • A record of grievances and outcomes will be kept.
  • Grievances will be responded to within five working days.
  • Critical incidents will be reported to the Director General and the Board Chair within forty-eight hours as required by legislation.

Structures

  • Leadership Meetings: The Principal meets with the College Leadership every week to discuss issues relating to whole-of-College business. The Complaints Register and the Comments and Suggestions Register are agenda items and reviewed at these meetings.
  • School Communications Meetings: The Principal meets with the Heads-of-School on a fortnightly basis to discuss school-specific issues. School-specific complaints and grievances are discussed and recorded at these meetings.
  • Issues received via website, mail, phone or in person are documented in the Complaints Register for weekly review at Leadership meetings.
  • With the utilisation of SEQTA, trends can be identified and acted upon.
  • When appropriate, the College communicates with our Community about issues requiring community input or attention.
  • Issues received via the Report-Bullying site: The College has a Report-Bullying site where students can report incidences of bullying, anonymously, if they so desire. The Principal receives automatic notifications of these reports so that they can receive priority attention.

Corporal or other degrading punishment

At no time and in no instance will the College endorse or enforce corporal punishment or any other form of degrading punishment.

Any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light; typically involving striking a child with the hand or with an implement; but can also include, for example, forcing a child to maintain an uncomfortable position. It does not include the use of reasonable physical restraint to protect a child or others from harm (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 8 [2006]).

Degrading punishment

Any punishment which is incompatible with respect for human dignity, including corporal punishment and non-physical punishment which belittles, humiliates, denigrates, scapegoats, threatens, scares or ridicules a child. (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 8 [2006]).

Child abuse and grooming

Providence Christian College takes seriously its duty of care obligations to all students and its commitment to the prevention of child abuse in any form. Any concern about the treatment of a child should be

A detailed record will be kept securely of all allegations, grievances and findings relating to grooming and child abuse, whether involving former or current staff or students, supplementing the register as per above with further information as necessary. HOWEVER, no investigation is to be made into such allegations. Where the alleged victim is a child, the procedure/s as per the College Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy and/or Mandatory Reporting should be followed. Where the alleged victim is now an adult, the allegation will be referred to WA Police.

Role of the Director General

The Director General of the Department of Education is responsible for ensuring that the school observes the registration standards, including the standard about its grievances handling system. Any student, parent or community member is entitled to contact the Director General with concerns about how the school has dealt with a grievance. Information is available on the Department of Education website. While the Director General may consider whether the school has breached the registration standards, she does not have power to intervene in a grievance or override the school’s decision.