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Education Law Notes - Term 1 2022

Education Law Notes – Term 1 2022

Published on March 7, 2022 by David FordDavid Ford

What if 2021 is just a trailer of 2022? goes the meme. It was good to have students back in class despite the many precautions that had to be put in place for their safety and that of staff. Now, on top of ongoing COVID concerns, our children and young people are facing additional anxiety brought on by the recent events in the Ukraine. They are indeed fortunate to have such dedicated and caring staff in our schools at times like these.

Our young people are also fortunate that the conversation about consent education that began over 12 months ago has culminated in Australia wide agreement to teach students about consent to sexual activity. In this issue, we explore the changes to the consent provisions in the NSW criminal law, noting that similar changes are expected to follow in Victoria.

The latter part of 2021 and the start of this year have seen many cases before the Fair Work Commission brought by teachers and others affected by Public Health Orders requiring vaccination against COVID-19 as a prerequisite to attendance at the workplace. We assisted schools to respond to the claims and unpack the issues in our second article.

Our migration team explore recent changes announced by the Federal Government which will make it easier for schools to hire Working Holiday Maker visa holders and which will bring some benefits to student visa holders.

Finally, in this issue, we look at some changes to the NSW teacher accreditation system, including a reminder of the obligations on school employers, together with some consequent changes to the Registered and Accredited Individual Non-Government Schools (NSW) Manual.

Enjoy the read and the year ahead!



David Ford


‘Affirmative Consent’: Major Reform to Consent Laws

In February 2022, every State and Territory Education Minister agreed that all Australian high school students are to be taught about coercion in sexual relationships and how to seek, give and deny consent. This comes one year after Chanel Contos launched her consent education petition that sparked new conversations across Australia about consent. The new curriculum will be taught from 2023.The New South Wales government has recently accepted 44 recommendations to strengthen and clarify the laws regarding sexual consent.  The Victorian government is considering similar reforms.

Read more about these important reforms and the role schools will play in educating young people regarding consent.


Mandatory Vaccination & Employment: lessons from managing anti-vaxxers in schools

Last year, we saw many State and Territory governments issue Public Health Orders that required employees in schools and other sectors to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Many schools had a handful of staff who refused to be vaccinated. These people were handled in different ways but mostly their job ended. Some took their matter to the Fair Work Commission and we assisted schools to respond to these claims.

Read more about the lessons to be learned and the position of the Courts and the Fair Work Commission.


COVID-19 Concessions for Student and Working Holiday Maker visa holders

Student visa holders and young people on Working Holiday Maker visas in Australia have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with lockdowns preventing them from attending school or work. Others may have gone back to their home country for financial reasons or lack of government support, especially at the start of the pandemic.  Despair not, for relief is at hand.

Read more to see how the recent announcements made by the Australian Government can assist school and their students. 


Registered and Accredited Individual Non-government Schools (NSW) Manual

In November 2021, the NSW Education Standards Authority released its updated ‘Registered and Accredited Individual Non-Government Schools (NSW) Manual’. The Teacher Accreditation Act 2004 (NSW) has also seen recent amendments in light of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Read more to understand the changes before your school faces its next registration and teacher accreditation process.


Changes to the Teacher Accreditation Act 2004 (NSW); further focus on child protection and reform

In November 2021, the Teacher Accreditation Act 2004 (NSW) was amended to reflect the findings and recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The changes aim to ensure the ongoing protection of children in the process of administering teacher accreditation by applying the principle that, in an action or decision concerning a child or young person, the safety, welfare and wellbeing of the child or young person are paramount.

Read more about other changes.

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