The purpose of this policy is to outline department policy and guidance on selecting suitable teaching and learning resources for students.
- Schools must ensure that teaching and learning resources provide students with challenging and engaging programs that do not offend students or the wider school community due to their obscene, offensive or controversial nature.
- Schools must ensure that teaching about religious and cultural beliefs and practices are handled with sensitivity, consistent with this policy and guidance. For example, the use of images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons should be avoided, except where permission to use an image has been provided or where appropriate warnings about the images are given, and images of the prophet Muhammad should not be used in teaching and learning programs.
- Schools must not use teaching and learning resources created by inappropriate organisations for classroom use – refer to the definition section for a list of inappropriate organisations. Additionally, schools must ensure that any use of the Nazi Hakenkreuz symbol is for genuine educational purposes.
- The department provides guidelines to inform teachers’ and principals’ decisions regarding the selection of teaching and learning resources, available on the .
- These guidelines also outline how schools should respond to objections raised about the use of specific teaching and learning resources.
- schools should avoid using culturally insensitive imagery or content, for example:
- images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, except where permission to use an image has been provided, or where appropriate warnings about the images are given
- images of the prophet Muhammad, which should not be used in teaching and learning programs
- schools do not expose students to materials created by inappropriate organisations for classroom use – refer to the definition section for a list of inappropriate organisations
- the school community is informed of possible controversial texts prior to their use in classrooms
- students and parents know they can raise objections to the teaching and learning resources.
Teachers and principals also need to ensure that selected teaching and learning resources:
- support students to learn the curriculum – refer to:
- are suitable for the age group using them
- consider the words, behaviour, images or themes of the resources in terms of the:
- impact on the audience age group
- literary, artistic or educational merit of the material
- intention of the author and general character of the material.
Principals may consult with school council or other members of the school community regarding the selection of teaching and learning resources.
To ensure that staff respond reasonably and respectfully to objections to the use of specific teaching and learning resources, schools must:
- ensure the objection is provided to the principal
- establish the basis for an objection
- at all times demonstrate respect for the views of the objector
- identify the basis of the objection by referring to the section: on the Guidance tab
- make every effort to resolve objections to the use of specific teaching and learning resources through discussion and conciliation.
Ban on public display of the Nazi Hakenkreuz symbol and gestures
It is against the law in Victoria to display the Nazi Hakenkreuz symbol (Nazi symbol) or perform gestures (Nazi salute) in public to convey messages of hate and intolerance and in connection with Nazi ideology.
It is not against the law, however, to use the Nazi symbol or perform the Nazi salute for genuine educational, scientific, academic, or artistic purposes, or in making or publishing a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest. Schools may utilise resources that contain the Nazi symbol or Nazi salute when teaching , or for other genuine educational purposes. An example of educational purposes permitted under the law could be a school using an educational textbook on World War II, which has a Nazi symbol on the cover, or performing the Nazi salute within a school play.
The law recognises that the Swastika is an ancient and sacred symbol of peace and good fortune for the Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and other faith communities. It is not against the law to publicly display the Swastika (which may be mistaken for the Nazi Hakenkreuz symbol) for genuine cultural or religious purposes.
In all cases, schools must ensure that learning resources and activities do not promote or condone messages of antisemitism.
Material about which opinions can differ.
- political parties
- tobacco companies
- gaming venues and online gaming organisations
- companies involved in the sale or promotion of alcohol
- companies involved in the sale or promotion of weapons, including firearms
- companies that encourage unhealthy food choices by young people
- religious organisations, excepting for the delivery of general religious education or Special Religious Instruction (refer to: which also includes information about general religious education)
- authorised deposit-taking institutions such as banks.
Offensive or obscene material
Material about which there is a consensus that it is unacceptable.
Teaching and learning resources
The ‘teaching and learning resources’ referred to in the guidelines include any spoken, written or visual text and graphical content or activity used or conducted by schools, for example:
- text books and novels
- film and television
- radio programs and podcasts
- multimedia, applications, software, platforms and games
- social media
- digital learning resources including video, audio, text, websites, animations and images
- objects and artefacts.
Reviewed 03 December 2023