Minimum Standards Compliance Assessment process
The Minimum Standards Compliance Assessment process involves the following key stages:
- Schools are notified via email that they have been scheduled for a Minimum Standards Compliance Assessment. This notification email is sent to the school at least one term before the compliance evidence submission date. In this initial notification email, schools are:
- allocated a dedicated senior advisor in the School Compliance Unit who will conduct the school’s compliance assessment and is available to provide pre-assessment advice to the schools as well as supporting the school after assessment to rectify any areas of non-compliance identified
- invited to a pre-assessment briefing to find out more about the assessment process and the resources and guidance available to support schools to prepare for the assessment
- provided a self-assessment checklist to complete and submit to their senior advisor, including links to, or copies of, all relevant documentary evidence to be assessed (see link in )
- provided with an optional detailed guidance document, which explains how the senior advisor will be assessing the documentary evidence submitted (see link in Resources tab).
- The school returns their completed self-assessment checklist and documentary evidence to their allocated senior advisor.
- The senior advisor conducts a desktop assessment of the documentary evidence submitted.
- The senior advisor attends an onsite or virtual school visit to the school to learn more about the school’s practical implementation of their policies and processes and to sight further compliance evidence where required.
- The school receives an initial compliance assessment report setting out the school’s compliance with each sub-element of the Minimum Standards, the reasons for each compliance finding, and clear advice on the rectification actions the school must take to address any areas of non-compliance identified.
- The school is asked to provide rectification evidence within 6 weeks of receiving the initial compliance assessment report, and is provided with rectification support from their senior advisor where required.
- The senior advisor assesses the rectification evidence submitted by the school, seeks further evidence where required, and provides a final compliance assessment report to the school confirming that the school is now fully compliant. Under the MoU between the department and the VRQA, schools must reach full compliance within 3 months of receiving the initial compliance assessment report.
In preparation for their Minimum Standards Compliance Assessment, it is recommended that schools:
- Check that they have up-to-date local school policies on all topics required for school registration (see list of required policies on the (staff login required) and/or the Minimum Standards self-assessment checklist in the )
- Check that their local school policies include all required content to meet the Minimum Standards requirements (see Minimum Standards requirements guide in the Resources tab). The template policies available on the School Policy Templates Portal have been drafted to meet these requirements provided they are contextualised to the unique school setting, where indicated in the template policy’s drafting guidance.
- Ensure that local policies have been approved by either the school principal or school council (as required) and that this is noted in the policy. See the spreadsheet of all policies on the School Policy Templates Portal and/or the Minimum Standards self-assessment checklist in the Resources tab for an overview of the approval requirements that apply to each of the policies.
- Where required, ensure that local school policies have been made publicly available (ideally via the school’s website). See the spreadsheet of all policies on the School Policy Templates Portal and/or the Minimum Standards self-assessment checklist in the Resources tab for required communication methods.
- Ensure the school community has been consulted on child safety policies. See the pageon the School Policy Templates Portal and/or the Minimum Standards self-assessment checklist in the Resources tab for an overview of consultation requirements. Sample newsletter and website text schools can use to consult with the school community is available on the Child Safe Standards page on the School Policy Templates Portal.
- Ensure that staff, volunteers and school council members have undertaken child safety training and, where required, training and staff briefings
- Ensure that the school’s Child Safety Risk Register has been reviewed and approved by the principal within the last 12 months and has been tailored to reflect the school’s particular environment and activities and the needs of students and the school community.
Actions schools can take to maintain ongoing Minimum Standards compliance
To embed ongoing compliance outside of the cyclical Minimum Standards Compliance Assessment process, it is recommended that schools:
- schedule mandatory training (for example, child safety and anaphylaxis training) at the beginning of each school year
- maintain a schedule of required review dates for all local school policies and diarise review dates
- (staff login required) on changes to the policy templates available on the School Policy Templates Portal. An article is also published in School Update in the second last week of each term summarising any changes made to local school policy templates on the School Policy Templates Portal and any updates made to department policies on the Policy and Advisory Library that term
- use the (staff login required) to schedule those compliance tasks that generally fall in each term at a time that best suits the school
- record actions taken to implement the Minimum Standards requirements on an ongoing basis (for example, document the review of the Child Safety Risk Register, the delivery of child safety training to staff, volunteers and school council members, and discussions of the effectiveness of child safety strategies with staff and school council) and save these records
- keep a log of child safety related complaints, concerns and incidents to inform the periodic review of child safety policies and practices.
Reviewed 03 November 2023