Duty of care and Child Safe Standards for SBATs
Duty of care
The responsible parties in a School Based Apprenticeship or Traineeship (SBAT) all have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to manage reasonably foreseeable risks of harm to participating students. These steps will differ depending on the role and responsibilities of the parties.
The school or Non-School Senior Secondary and Foundation Secondary Provider (NSSSFSP) must ensure that:
- it meets the minimum requirements for SBAT registration, including in relation to safety and wellbeing
- risks relating to student health, safety and wellbeing are identified and managed
- all relevant persons are aware of their roles and responsibilities with respect to student health, safety and wellbeing.
Child Safe Standards
The purpose of the Child Safe Standards is to prevent abuse of children by making organisations safer for them.
Under legislation, the Department and every Victorian government school must comply with the Child Safe Standards. There are 11 standards:
- Standard 1 – Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued
- Standard 2 – Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture
- Standard 3 – Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously
- Standard 4 – Families and communities are informed, and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing
- Standard 5 – Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice
- Standard 6 – People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice
- Standard 7 – Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused
- Standard 8 – Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training
- Standard 9 – Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed
- Standard 10 – Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved
- Standard 11 – Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people
Ministerial Order 1359 – Implementing the Child Safe Standards – Managing the risk of child abuse in schools outlines how the Child Safe Standards apply in schools and school boarding premises. Schools and school boarding premises must comply with Ministerial Order 1359 as part of the prescribed Minimum Standards for school registration.
The Child Safe Standards and Ministerial Order apply to all school environments, including workplace learning environments such as SBATs and schools must work closely with SBAT employers to make sure that the employment environment is safe for children. Refer to Child Safe Standards roles and responsibilities below for further information.
Child Safe Standards roles and responsibilities
Schools must consider child safety and Working with Children requirements in their procurement of SBAT training providers.
The school’s child safety strategies, policies and procedures should address and respond to child safety risks relating to SBATs. For example, schools should ensure that:
- written agreements between the school and the SBAT provider include conditions relating to child safety and parties are aware of their roles and responsibilities relating to protection of children
- there are clear processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse that affects children participating in the SBAT program
- particular risks of child abuse at the SBAT employer's premises are identified and strategies are put in place to reduce or remove these risks
- the effectiveness of risk controls is monitored and evaluated
- steps are taken to ensure that children participating in an SBAT feel empowered and comfortable to raise concerns about their safety.
Schools are not directly responsible for incidents that occur when a student is undertaking work or training under an SBAT. However, schools should take measures to protect the student from harm and address issues as they arise, for example, if:
- the school becomes aware of an incident involving the student at the workplace or in training
- the school is concerned that the student is not being supervised properly in the workplace.
The school should nominate a staff member for the student to contact about any issues they may have with the SBAT. The nominated staff member should be made aware of any Individual Education Plans and Student Support Group for a student. This staff member should have received child safety training and have knowledge of indicators of child harm and related school policies.
During the training component of an SBAT, RTOs must:
- be compliant with the Child Safe Standards and have child safety policies and a code of conduct
- provide the student with information and support about the training requirements being undertaken
- ensure all trainers providing training services to the SBAT student have a valid Working with Children Clearance, as required by the Worker Screening Act 2020 (Vic)
- report any student absences to the employer and the school at least weekly.
Employers involved in an SBAT program must ensure that:
- the workplace is safe and appropriate supervision of the student is provided
- paid work is carried out under an appropriate industrial agreement that endorses part-time apprenticeships or traineeships
- the student’s work is supervised by a ‘fit and proper’ person with the skills and qualifications to enable them to attain the skills outlined in their training plan.
These obligations extend to any host employer that the employer may engage to provide employment to the student, for example hosted arrangements through a Group Training Organisation (GTO). Note that a host employer is also considered as part of the school environment in the context of an SBAT.
As in any employment situation, the employer must provide a safe working environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination or abuse.
The employer should monitor the student’s attendance at work (including work with any host employer) and use an agreed mechanism with the school, at least weekly, to record and report to the school any non-attendance. Once reported, the school should discuss the reasons for any absences with the student.
Reviewed 17 March 2023