There’s no more important ingredient in the success of, and happiness in, a school than the safety of its students. Developing a culture of safety at school is critical in creating the best environment for students and staff to thrive. When students feel safe, they achieve better outcomes, have better mental health and they have the confidence be the best versions of themselves.
Students must be given an opportunity to participate in conversations about their safety. Not only does this help young people understand issues relating to safety, it also enables them to build alliances with adults in the school and feel comfortable to raise concerns about their safety or the safety of their peers. 2021 has seen the introduction of the inaugural Whitefriars Child Safety Team, a group of students and staff whose focus is the safety of students at Whitefriars College. This is an example of protective participation, a process through which young people can, “…inform, shape and provide feedback on strategies to promote their safety, prevent abuse and appropriately respond if they are harmed” (Moore, T., 2018, Protective Participation: The Voices of Young People on Safety).
The purpose of the Team is to:
- promote and create a safe environment for all students at Whitefriars College – including physical, mental, social and emotional,
- ensure students are empowered and play an active role, working in partnership with adults, in contributing to the safety of the students at the College
- discuss, formulate and implement (or recommend the implementation) of child safe programs and practices,
- review and formulate child friendly/accessible child safe policies and processes, and
- discuss and act on safety issues at the school in relation to the following areas (but not restricted to):
- OH&S – Campus buildings and equipment
- Off-Site school activities
The members of this Team include: Sourav Gray, Ashley White, James Hammerton, Max Ceppi, John Wilton, Joel Savy, Ryan Dickenson, Luke Verhoeven, James Newman, Joseph Petrowski, Mrs Erin Lindley (Leader Psychological Services), Mr Pablo Pizzuto (Risk and Compliance Manager), Joshua Vujcich (Director Identity, Mission & Service) and Mr Mick Lafferty (Deputy Principal – Students).
The creation of a student-friendly Child Safety Policy and the development of a transparent and accessible safety concern reporting process are the first two items of business for this Team. I’m looking forward to the students offering valuable insights, feedback and advice about how we can continue to make Whitefriars a safe and supportive community.
Mr Mick Lafferty
Deputy Principal – Students