Staff Professional Conduct
Forming part of: Giant Steps Tasmania’s Personnel Manual
STAFF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT POLICY, 2021
Forming part of: Giant Steps Tasmania’s Personnel Manual
Giant Steps Tasmania aims to provide services for students on the Autism Spectrum which meet best contemporary practice, as defined by The Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders http://www.autismadvisoryboard.org.au/. It aims to do so in a manner that is consistently caring and professional.
Staff at Giant Steps Tasmania adhere to the school’s Charter of Commitment to Children & Young People which is available on the school’s website and which is regularly discussed and revised with input from all stake holders.
The purpose of this policy is to set out the professional conduct which will best meet organisational aims and the needs of the students of Giant Steps Tasmania.
In carrying out their roles and responsibilities, staff will adhere to the school’s ethos which is underpinned by the principles of:
Giant Steps Tasmania operates for the benefit of its students. Giant Steps Tasmania’s staff believe that the students are best served in an environment where staff members are ethical, reflective and professional in their outlook and practice.
This means that members of staff agree on the importance of the following:
Members of Giant Steps Tasmania staff must:
Giant Steps Tasmania Organisation Chart
DRESS CODE FOR STAFF
Clothing must preserve the safety of the wearer and others. Dress, personal appearance and hygiene are also important elements of professional presentation, so clothing must be clean, tidy and neat and must not carry offensive logos or slogans.
Staff are expected to adhere to the following dress code.
The following items are appropriate for wearing at school :
Broad or wide-brimmed hats must be worn by all staff members during outdoor activities including playground time and walks during Terms 1 and 4 and at any other time designated by the Principal.
The following items are not appropriate for wearing at school :
Staff are advised:
All members of Giant Steps Tasmania staff must:
Any staff member who fails to obtain working with children registration will have their contract terminated.
DUTY OF CARE
Staff have a duty of care to protect others from harm and to support those who have been harmed. Members of Giant Steps Tasmania staff will promote the safety, welfare and well-being of students, students’ families and other employees.
All members of the Giant Steps Tasmania community have a right to a physical and emotional environment that is free from unreasonable risk of harm. Among other things, harm can be caused by:
Staff should be alert to signs of such harm and follow the steps of the Mandatory Reporting Policy incorporated in the Safeguarding Policy.
Corporal punishment is prohibited at Giant Steps, Tasmania and any staff member who uses it will have their contract terminated.
Staff must not discriminate against or harass their colleagues, students or members of the public on the grounds of gender, marital status, pregnancy, age, race, ethnic or national origin, physical, intellectual or developmental impairment, or sexual preference. Such harassment or discrimination may constitute an offence under the Anti-Discrimination Act. In addition, staff must not harass or discriminate on the grounds of political or religious conviction.
Employees interactions with students must be, and must be seen to be, appropriate and professional at all times.
Employees must not attempt to sexualize a relationship with a student. To do so is a breach of trust, an abuse of authority, professional misconduct, immoral and criminal. This is particularly relevant in the context of Giant Steps Tasmania where our students are particularly vulnerable. Examples of sexual misconduct include the following:
Staff behaviour to each other and to parents/ carers must be respectful and professional at all times.
USE OF TOBACCO, ALCOHOL, OTHER DRUGS AND MEDICATION
PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY
All staff members have a duty to protect the confidentiality of the students and their families, other staff members and information pertaining to the business operations of Giant Steps Tasmania.
All staff members have an obligation to ensure that:
Personnel files are confidential. Staff members wishing to view their own personnel file may do so within the Principal’s or Business & Administration Manager’s office.
Staff will not keep images of students on a personal camera, phone or other device for longer than 24 hours and such images will never be uploaded onto any social media site without the permission of the parent/ carer.
SICK LEAVE AND CARER’S LEAVE
Giant Steps Tasmania notes the information provided by the Fair Work Ombudsman regarding paid sick leave and carer’s leave.
“An employer can ask an employee to give evidence that shows the employee took the leave because they:
Employers can ask employees to provide evidence for as little as 1 day or less off work.
An employee who doesn't give their employer evidence when asked may not be entitled to be paid for their sick or carer’s leave.”
Giant Steps Tasmania does not generally require staff to provide a medical certificate for sick leave or carer’s leave of one day, believing that its staff do not abuse the system and only take sick leave and carer’s leave when necessary. However, should a pattern of absences be noted (e.g. if a member of staff is regularly absent from work on a particular day of the week, or for a day in each of a number of consecutive weeks) then the school reserves the right to ask for a medical certificate for every absence.
Any absence as a result of a staff member needing to take sick leave or carer’s leave on a day designated as a Training or PD Day, requires a certificate from a medical professional.
USE OF GIANT STEPS TASMANIA’S RESOURCES
Employees must ensure that all school equipment, resources and consumable items are used appropriately for the work and business of the school. All equipment should be maintained and used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
Limited and occasional private use of Giant Steps Tasmania’s equipment and resources may be permitted occur providing that such use does not adversely affect the performance of the employee’s work duties, or the work duties of others, or the business or reputation of the school. Examples of where private use might be permitted include:
Employees must have approval from the principal or his delegate to use Giant Steps Tasmania’s equipment and resources off-site for private use and must ensure that they are safely stored and secured.
BREACHES OF THE STAFF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT POLICY
Potential breaches of the Staff Professional Conduct Policy, including apparent breaches and allegations, will be dealt with in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness and natural justice.
Employees should be aware that the Principal and/or the Board may apply sanctions if this policy is breached. Depending on the nature of the breach, sanctions such as the following may apply:
Mr. Paul Bowman
Chair of Board
March - August 2016
Date of review:
Date for next review:
BREACH OF STAFF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT POLICY: Procedures
INFORMAL : PERFORMANCE COUNSELLING
Formal disciplinary procedures can often be avoided by early recognition of and attention to emerging issues.
Performance Counselling may mean that more formal procedures are unnecessary. A climate of collegial support that emphasises professional growth and development underpins these procedures.
The Performance Counselling meeting is a private and confidential meeting held in a non-threatening manner between the Principal and the member of staff who may be in breach of the Code of Conduct. It aims to make possible a reasonable discussion between adults and forms part of good management practice. Staff can seek the advice/support of a third party or union representative during the Performance Counselling process.
A Performance Counselling Meeting is always about a particular issue relating to the Professional Conduct Policy and is called as soon as the Principal becomes aware of it. Its purpose is to facilitate an immediate resolution and/or ongoing improvement.
Performance Counselling involves five key steps:
In a Performance Counselling Meeting between the Principal and a staff member, the staff member is informed of the nature of the issue in as much detail as possible and is given the opportunity to respond.
The process consists of the following steps:
• Preliminary meeting
• Negotiated action plan
• Final meeting for closure and feedback
The process is normally limited to no more than 5 school weeks or as agreed by the parties. The outcome of this process will not be placed on the Staff Member’s School file.
Sometimes an Informal Meeting cannot resolve a problem, or the negotiated Action Plan is not followed. Sometimes the issue or allegation may be so serious (e.g. a Child Protection issue) that an Informal Meeting is not appropriate. In this case a Formal Investigation is required. This will be led by the Principal and/ or the Chair of the Board. It will also involve witness statements.
Any member of the school community, including parents/ carers, volunteers, contractors and visitors may raise a complaint/ accusation requiring formal investigation. The complaint/ accusation will usually be made in writing. The Principal and Board strongly discourage anonymous allegations as they make thorough investigation problematic for the school and for external agencies who might need to be involved. However, if the person making the complaint/ accusation wishes their name not to be divulged to the person against whom the allegation is made during the time that the matter is being considered within the school, they should make this clear in their submission and the Principal/ Chair of Board will do their best to honour these wishes. It must however be noted that if the matter involves external agencies, it would be up to these agencies to decide whether the name of the person making the complaint/ accusation should be divulged.
The Principal and/ or Chair of Board:
At the first contact the Principal/ Chair of Board only raises the issue.
At the first meeting the Principal/ Chair of Board:
Before the Formal Meeting (at least 5 working days’ notice will be given), the Principal and/ or the Chair of the Board:
At the Formal Meeting attended by the Principal and/ or Chair of Board, the staff member involved and her/ his support person/ union representative, the Principal/ Chair of Board:
After the meeting the Principal/ Chair of Board:
Possible Outcomes of the Formal Meeting might include one or more of the following: