School operations

Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Management in Schools

7. Further expert health, safety and wellbeing supports

Workplace Contact Officer Network

A workplace contact officer is a member of staff who has volunteered to be a point of contact for colleagues experiencing harassment, discrimination, bullying, victimisation or family violence. Any Workplace Contact Officer can be contacted for a confidential discussion, at any time.

For more information or to contact an officer, refer to: Workplace Contact Officer Network.

Health and safety representatives

Health and safety representatives (HSRs) are elected by their co-workers to represent designated workgroups (for example, a school or school campus) about OHS issues, concerns and interests.

HSRs are an important part of the department’s OHS management system. Speak to your school leadership team to find out about HSRs in your schools. For further information, please also refer to the OHS Consultation and Communication Policy or the Information for school health and safety representatives chapter.

Conflict Resolution Support Service

Phone: 1300 687 633

Sometimes people experience workplace conflict that becomes difficult to resolve in their usual team setting.

The Conflict Resolution Support Service is available for department employees and managers who need support in addressing workplace conflict. The service provides mediation, case conference and facilitated meetings, conflict coaching and team conflict intervention. This service is provided by Converge International and can be arranged by your principal or manager.

Workplace bullying

Bullying is against the department’s values and may lead to action under the Guidelines for Managing Complaints, Misconduct and Unsatisfactory Performance (Teaching) (Public Service). The department’s leaders at all levels have been explicit that bullying is not tolerated at any level.

Our Workplace Bullying Policy defines bullying as repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards or from an employee or group of employees that creates a risk to health, safety and wellbeing. Bullying may be either direct or indirect and can be carried out verbally, physically or in writing via email, social media, instant messaging and text messaging.

Everyone has a role to play in preventing bullying and maintaining respectful spaces where people feel safe and welcome to be at work.

For more information, refer to: Workplace Bullying.

Workers’ Compensation and Returning to Work

For many people, being at work is more than a job; it’s also about being part of a team or achieving a sense of satisfaction through the work that they do. Being away from work due to injury or a work-related illness can be disruptive and even distressing.

The department is committed to safely helping injured employees get back to work. There is a mutual obligation between an employee and their manager to discuss business continuity and return to work planning immediately after an injury. This can provide peace of mind that a plan is in place.

For more information, refer to: Workers' Compensation.

Medical Advisory Service

Advice to principals and managers on the management of staff experiencing health-related issues that impact their employment duties. The service includes referrals for independent medical assessments.

Refer to the Medical Advisory Service page or call 1300 031 057.

Principal Health and Wellbeing

The Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy aims to promote positive mental and physical health and wellbeing outcomes for principals across Victoria. We are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our school leaders in a systemic and sustainable way. Thriving school principals can create a positive environment for teaching and learning where students, teachers and school communities can flourish.

The strategy includes 6 key principal health and wellbeing supports, which now continue to be made available to school leaders as part of the Safe and Well in Education Strategy 2019 to 2024 (PDF)External Link .

For more information on all the supports available, refer to: Principal Health and Wellbeing.

Managing challenging parent/carer behaviour

Support is available to keep staff, students and the school community safe from unacceptable behaviour from parents, carers and other adults.

Principals and other authorised persons can issue School Community Safety Orders to prohibit or limit harmful, threatening or abusive behaviour from a parent, carer or other adult. More information can be found in the School Community Safety Orders Policy, including specific requirements that must be satisfied before issuing an order.

Workforce diversity and inclusion

The department is committed to providing workplaces that are safe, respectful and inclusive of all staff. We are building a culture that values diversity, promotes inclusion and embraces the unique skills and qualities of all staff.

Refer to Inclusive Workplaces on PAL and the Workforce Diversity and Inclusion collaboration site on eduGateExternal Link (staff login required) for further information. For further advice and support please contact

Workplace adjustments

Workplace reasonable adjustments allow a person to perform their job safely and productively in an inclusive and accessible environment. For further information including how to request workplace adjustments, refer to: Disability and Reasonable Adjustment – Employees

Gender affirmation

An inclusive and supportive environment is crucial to a person’s gender affirmation. There is support available to staff wishing to affirm their gender and their colleagues.

A range of trainingExternal Link and resourcesExternal Link are available to build staff understanding and confidence in using LGBTIQA+ inclusive languageExternal Link and a gender affirmation plan and LGBTIQA+ conversation guide.

For more information refer to the Inclusive Workplaces Guide and the training calendar on the Workforce Diversity and Inclusion collaboration siteExternal Link (staff login required).

Workplace diversity and flexible work arrangements

The department aims for a diverse workforce, employing people from all backgrounds with different experiences. This contributes lived experience to the department’s policies, programs and initiatives so these can better meet the needs of Victorian communities. If you think a flexible work arrangement could support your work and life or family commitments, talk to your manager/principal.

For more information, refer to: Flexible Work for Work-Life Balance.

Staff networks

Forging meaningful connections with your colleagues can help you feel engaged and integral to the organisation and provides a network to support you when challenges arise, and problems need to be solved. Likewise, you can become a key supporter to your colleagues, strengthening the professional bond and sense of trust. Go to Find your networkExternal Link on eduGate (staff login required).

Contact us:

Information on supports including the Employee Assistance Program, Manager Assist, LifeWorks, the Workplace Contact Officer Network and more

Reviewed 11 April 2024

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