BTA -
Child Safety Policy

Statement of Commitment to Child Safety

Belrose Tutoring Academy (BTA) is committed to creating an environment in which all children are safe.
This is achieved through the use of robust policies and procedures that identify, reduce and remove risks and dangers.

This commitment to Child Safety starts with BTA’s core Leadership Team who recognise both the legal and moral obligations that come with working with children. This includes having zero tolerance of child abuse, whether in the form of neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse or psychological abuse.

BTA’s leadership team recognises the importance of creating an organisational culture of Child Safety to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students whilst in our care. This culture is achieved by adopting comprehensive hiring practices such as compulsory Working with Children Checks, comprehensive and frequent staff training to ensure full adherence, as well as a systematic and detailed reporting and response process to any potential or actual breaches of our Child Safety Policy.

All BTA staff members have received training in Child Safety to ensure that they are aware of all potential risks and can assist students in an appropriate manner. BTA aims to ensure that all staff work towards providing a safe and productive learning environment for all our students.

BTA supports and respects all children, as well as their parents and guardians, and our staff.
We want all children to be safe, happy and empowered whilst in our care.

 

 
 

Organisational Culture that Promotes Child Safety

Belrose Tutoring Academy is committed to establishing and maintaining an organisational culture that prioritises Child Safety.


BTA Leadership Team embraces this responsibility, embedding this culture into all levels of our organisation. The BTA Leadership Team takes the lead in protecting children from abuse or ill practices in our organisation, which includes taking all preventative actions, as well as ensuring that any allegations of child abuse are appropriately addressed. This includes complying with all legal requirements, including reporting suspicions of child abuse to the appropriate authorities.

 

BTA’s Leadership Team understands that organisational culture stems from everyday actions and structural processes and policies, including those which prevent, detect and respond to child abuse risks.

 

BTA’s Leadership Team are aware that Child Safety starts with them. They are role models for all other BTA staff members, who in turn, are role models for the children they work with.  This starts with choosing suitable employees through robust hiring and onboarding processes, and extends into the support, training and supervision each employee receives throughout their employment.

 

The BTA Leadership Team ensures that all company policies are adhered to, and that Child Safety is the most important factor in all considerations. This is evident in the thorough training that BTA staff undergo before and during their time at BTA, as well as through the implementation of the Child Safety Policy and BTA’s Code of Conduct.

 

BTA is an inclusive and diverse organisation. BTA’s leadership team continues to establish an organisational culture which supports, but is not limited to, the following:
 

  • Cultural safety for our First Nations Peoples;

  • Cultural safety for children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds; and

  • The safety of children with disabilities.
     

Our BTA Leadership Team encourages the participation of children in decision-making that affects them, such as developing and maintaining child safe environments. BTA also encourages input from parents and guardians to ensure we have open channels of communication and an environment of trust and support can be fostered. Children, parents and guardians can make suggestions either directly to their tutor, or through the suggestion forms available in all of our academies.

BTA has created a comprehensive Code of Conduct that forms the foundation of all our business practices. All staff are expected to adhere and refer to this at all times. The Code of Conduct was founded on the following principles: empowerment of children, the facilitation and promotion of participation, and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children. The following is a detailed breakdown of our Code of Conduct.
 

BTA requires all staff to support the safety, participation, wellbeing and empowerment of children through the following:

  • Adhering to this Child Safety Policy at all times.

  • Prioritising Child Safety at all times.

  • Understanding, acknowledging and actioning this Child Safety Policy.

  • Responding to all concerns raised by children, particularly where there is suspected abuse or safety concerns.

  • Respecting the views and opinions of others and adopting zero tolerance for discrimination.

  • Promoting cultural safety, participation and empowerment of our First Nations People and those from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds.

  • Promoting safety, participation and empowerment for those with disabilities.

  • Reporting any signs of child abuse or suspected child abuse to BTA’s Child Safety Committee.

  • Ensuring as far as practicable, that tutors are not left alone with a child.

  • Encouraging child participation in decisions that affect their learning and wellbeing, such as utilising suggestion forms in the academies.

  • Creating safe environments for the child. Examples of these include but are not limited to keeping doors unlocked, promoting open workspaces in our academy spaces through the use of transparent partitioning and installing video surveillance for protection.
     

BTA staff must not:

  • Put children at risk of abuse.

  • Establish special relationships with students in which there may be favouritism.

  • Exhibit unnecessary physical contact at any time.

  • Discriminate against a child

  • Use language that is likely to offend or is offensive.

  • Contact a child outside of BTA without seeking consent from BTA Management and the child’s parent or guardian.

  • Add students on social media until they are either 18 years of age and no longer have a working relationship.

  • Ignore, disregard or disparage any suspected or disclosed child abuse.

Code of Conduct

 

Advertising

When advertising for new positions with BTA, all advertisements reflect our commitment to Child Safety and creating a safe workplace for tutors and students. This includes details about the process of checks and screenings undertaken for applicants, including holding a valid Paid Working with Children’s Check.


Screening

All applicants who submit resumes or apply for positions go through a screening process to ensure they are eligible to work in a child safe work environment.
This process involves:

  • Validating that the applicant has a paid and valid Working with Children’s Check

  • Reviewing online social media platforms

  • Rigorous scrutiny of applications before progression to interviews
     

Reference Checks
Any application for a position at BTA must be accompanied with at least two valid references. These references will be contacted by a member of the BTA Human Resources team to confirm that they are a suitable and appropriate candidate. This process may take place before or after the interview stage but must be completed to comply with BTA’s Child Safety Policy. It is preferable, although not required, that at least one of the two references can discuss the applicant’s previous experience working with children.


Interviews

Interviews will be conducted for applicants that are deemed suitable after screening their resume and/or cover letter. The interview will be conducted by 2 members of the BTA Leadership Team to ensure a comprehensive process takes place to assess a candidate’s credibility and suitability as a potential BTA tutor. It is preferable, that the two members of BTA staff that conduct the interview will consist of one male and one female, to encourage a diverse assessment of the applicant’s suitability (however this may change depending on availability & circumstances)..

Below is an example of the 4 different styles of interview questions that are utilised by BTA.

Direct

  • What experience do you have working with children? 

  • Why are you interested in this tutoring position with BTA?

  • Have you ever worked with children in another capacity i.e., volunteering or sports coaching?
     

Situational

  • If you found yourself with a student at the end of a lesson whose parents are not there to pick them up, what would be the first steps you take to ensure the safety of the child?

  • Do you think it is appropriate to add students on social media?  
     

Value - Based

  • A parent has asked you for feedback on a student’s academic performance after 6 weeks of lessons with you. For whatever reason, the student hasn’t progressed as well as you would have hoped. How do you respond to the parent’s question?
     

Behavioural

  • How would you respond to a child who begins to discuss inappropriate topics with you in a lesson?

  • Your student wants to show you an inappropriate video that was sent to them by a friend. How would you navigate this?

Recruitment Process

 

Recruitment Process
(cont.)

Induction Program
Applicants who successfully make it through the screening and interview stages may be offered employment with BTA. Once employment is offered, the applicant will be required to undertake an induction Program through BTA’s Learning Management System (LMS). This Induction Program introduces them to the key information they need to understand how to be a BTA tutor as well as educate and guide them on the processes and systems adopted by BTA.

This also includes a thorough understanding and formal acknowledgement of BTA’s Discrimination Policy and Child Safety Policy. Induction training also covers relevant subject specific content and teaching styles aligned with the designated subjects that the prospective tutor is employed to teach. More information on this is available below.

 

Ongoing Training

BTA tutors receive continuous training throughout their time employed with BTA to ensure that they can deliver the highest quality service possible. The initial training consists of running mock lessons, performing mock tests, running through specific content with an experienced BTA trainer and training on relevant systems.

BTA tutors can request additional training at any point during their employment and are able to complete additional Learning Modules within BTA’s Learning Management System and/or have additional training run with an experienced BTA trainer. Our training is consistently updated to reflect new syllabus topics and changes.
 

This training is not limited to academic training. Training may also include regular Child Safety training which among other topics,  can include first aid and emergency response training.

Further to this, staff and students have the opportunity to book appointments with BTA’s Student Wellbeing Management Team. The Student Wellbeing Management Team promotes communication between tutors, students and parents/guardians, to create a supportive and inclusive environment which optimises the lessons for learning and support.
 

Probation Period

All BTA staff are contractually placed on probation for the first 3 months of their employment. This is to ensure that the working relationship is a good fit for both employer and employee. The probation period also gives the employer (BTA) the opportunity to evaluate new employees to ensure they can meet the high standards expected. 

Induction Program

Upon successfully completing the recruitment process, all new BTA staff will be required to undergo an induction program which has a thorough, detailed module on Child Safety.

The Child Safety module includes but is not limited to:

 

  • How BTA maintains a child safe environment

  • What comprises neglect, physical, psychological and sexual abuse

  • The indicators for abuse and grooming

  • What to do if an employee/staff member witnesses or suspects abuse

  • What is acceptable and appropriate behaviour when working with children

  • What is unacceptable and inappropriate behaviour when working with children

  • What to expect if an allegation of harm is made against a worker

  • The roles of key people within the organisation
     

Supervision of Staff

BTA recognises the need for initial and ongoing supervision of staff to ensure and promote adherence to this Child Safety Policy. This may include, and is not limited to:
 

  • Supervision of the Induction Program by an experienced BTA trainer

  • Follow up and feedback from initial and subsequent lessons by an experienced BTA trainer

  • Supervision by an experienced BTA trainer or BTA director when needed. This may include recording online lessons with parental/guardian permission for training and coaching purposes

  • Implementing a 3-month probation period in all BTA staff contracts

  • Student Wellbeing Management Team conducts tutor check-ins on progress and feedback
     

Ongoing Training

Developing and implementing ongoing training processes is required within BTA to ensure that all staff are fully trained and aware of any organisational or legislative changes in regard to Child Safety.

This will primarily be provided through BTA’s Learning Management System which has specific Child Safety modules that are updated and require annual completion from BTA staff.
 

Ongoing Review

Ongoing review of BTA staff is achieved through the following:

  • Frequent check-ups and follow ups with staff

  • BTA’s Student Wellbeing Management Team

  • Ensuring Working With Children Checks are up-to-date

  • Staff meetings to discuss updated legislation and policy changes
     

 Training and Supervision (New and Existing Staff)

 

 Strategies to promote the participation & empowerment of children

Promoting Participation
BTA encourages our students to be involved in our organisation through the use of QR codes in all of our academies. When scanned, students are directed to a form so they can contact BTA management. All submissions are carefully considered by BTA Management and BTA’s Child Safety Committee. Alternatively, BTA tutors are encouraged to openly communicate with the BTA leadership team any suggestions or recommendations from students.
 

Empowering Children
BTA empowers our students by ensuring open communication channels are easily accessible and available for them to make suggestions on upgrades and improvements, as well as reporting signs of abuse or any non-adherence to BTA’s Child Safety Policy.
This is achieved through:

 

  • Having anonymous reporting forms available in all our academies

  • Ensuring BTA staff are easily identifiable either through BTA hoodies or lanyards

  • Maintaining safe designated waiting areas for students

  • Implementing clear and unobstructed signs throughout BTA Academies outlining where the designated waiting areas are

  • Providing anonymous QR codes for students to report any concerns to BTA Management in a discreet and confidential manner without fear of repercussions

  • Clearly visible contact information for BTA Management in each Academy

  • Providing the means for students to be actively involved and participate in reporting concerns to BTA Management

  • The option to meet with BTA’s Student Wellbeing Management Team

 

Risk Management Process

BTA’s Risk Management Process includes identifying settings and timings in which child abuse may occur. Once this has been done there is a focus on identifying, analysing and evaluating the risks associated with each, and in-turn developing effective and targeted interventions that aim to prevent, reduce or remove the risks.
 

Settings and Event Timings

The event timings and settings considered in our Risk Management Process include:
 

  • Before lessons

  • During lessons

  • After lessons

  • Communicating outside of lessons

  • Home lessons

  • Online lessons

  • There are also a general range of other settings and events which may be potential risk areas.
     

Types of Harm
The types of harm considered in our Risk Management Process include:

 

  • Physical

  • Mental/Psychological

  • Emotional

  • Sexual

  • Neglect
     

Identifying Risks

The risks identified in our Risk Management Process include, but are not limited to:
 

  • Unsafe physical environment

  • Lack of supervision

  • Medical emergencies such as asthma attacks or anaphylactic reactions

  • Food allergies

  • Harm or abuse in a private room (such as a bedroom or home office) or from a member of the public

  • Inappropriate relationships outside of an educational context

  • Inappropriate communication via text or social media

  • Inadvertently sharing content, personal photos or inappropriate information

  • Special treatment or favouritism of certain students

  • Gift giving

  • Harm or abuse from other students or members of the public

  • Recording lessons without consent

  • Discussing inappropriate topics

  • Fires and other natural disasters

  • Failure to report

 

Each of the above risks have been thoroughly analysed and assessed, sorted then assigned via a Risk Matrix into low, medium, high and very high risk. This Risk Matrix has been communicated to the BTA Leadership Team, Child Safety Committee and Student Wellbeing Management Team, and is available for them to access as and when needed.

Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse

 

Strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse
(cont.)

Interventions to Manage Risk

Develop Interventions

Each and every risk identified in BTA’s risk management process has had a corresponding targeted intervention developed to help reduce or remove the risk of harm to children.
 

These interventions have been designed to promote early reporting and thus intervention can truly take place, as well as who to report to and how to communicate it to them. At BTA, these interventions are covered in our Induction Program via our Learning Management System.
 

These interventions have been shaped through the following considerations:
 

  • Removing excuses to offend: This includes setting clear rules, posting instructions and updates to staff via different communication channels, and promoting strong governance and leadership that prioritises student wellbeing and child safe standards.

  • Understanding harm and abuse: This includes teaching staff about the different types of harm and abuse which include neglect as well as sexual, physical and psychological abuse.

  • Understanding precursors to offending behaviour: This includes recognising an offender’s internal motivation as well as the factors involved in child abuse which include but are not limited to overcoming initial inhibitions, overcoming external impediments and overcoming a child’s resistance.  

  • Increasing the effort needed to offend: This includes deflecting offenders from our organisation by highlighting our commitment to Child Safety such as through strict Child Safety policies, thorough screening and interviewing processes, and alterations and adjustments to the physical environment which include, but are not limited to:

    • Using  clear glass in doors and walls where practicable, so that there is clear vision across our academies

    • Not conducting lessons in closed off rooms such as student’s bedrooms

    • Requiring doors to be unlocked at all times

    • CCTV installation at the entrance of all our academies

    • Well-lit offices

    • Regularly reviewing our offices and practices in light of current events, best case practices and new legislation and/or policies

  • Understanding grooming and professional boundaries. This includes teaching staff about grooming and ensuring professional boundaries aren’t breached. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

    • Gift giving: BTA staff are not permitted to give gifts to students over the value of $10 (AUD) without the permission of BTA management

    • Physical interactions: BTA staff are not permitted to physically interact with students.

    • Special treatment such as attending special events for children: BTA staff are permitted to attend student’s academic events as long as they are directly related to the content the tutor has been teaching them in lessons and parent or guardian permission has been received.

    • Social Media: BTA staff are not permitted to add students on social media or communicate via social media unless the student is at least 18 years of age and they must also no longer have a working relationship with the student.

    • Text messaging and email protocol: BTA students are not permitted to text students under the age of 16 without parental or guardian consent. Further, no students are to be texted between the hours of 9pm-7am and no personal photos or images are to be sent or shared with students.
       

BTA’s Child Safety Committee
 

BTA has established a Child Safety Committee with both male and female representatives. This Committee changes members over time however includes a wide range of representatives who have been selected based on their experiences, roles and cultural backgrounds.
 

BTA’s Child Safety Committee consists of the following representatives:
 

  • Tom Downie – Co-founder of BTA

  • Lachie Siemsen – Operations Manager

  • Victor Chen – Chief Marketing Officer
     

The role of BTA’s Child Safe Committee is to:
 

  • Hold open and accessible forums for BTA staff

  • Develop, implement, monitor, control and re-evaluate or adapt BTA’s Child Safety Policy

  • Follow up and collect feedback on BTA’s Child Safe Policy
     

BTA’s Child Safe Champion’s are:
 

  • Tom Downie

  • Victor Chen
     

The role of the Child Safe Champion is to:
 

  • Have formal training in identifying and responding to child abuse

  • Be experienced in responding to and managing all complaints and allegations

  • Be aware and knowledgeable of current child protection legislation

  • Provide support and guidance on expectations of appropriate behaviour for BTA staff when interacting with children

  • Be proficient at educating or training BTA staff, particularly in the area of child protection

  • Interact with children on an informal day-to-day basis
     

Mandatory Reporting
 

Sections 23 and 27 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act (NSW) 1998 require mandatory reporters to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect to the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.
 

BTA’s mandatory reporters are:

  • Tom Downie

  • Victor Chen
     

Mandatory reporters will report concerns about but not included to the following:
 

  • Physical or psychological needs not being met

  • Necessary medical care not being arranged

  • Education not being arranged

  • Risk of physical or sexual abuse or ill-treatment

  • Behaviour by a parent or caregiver risking psychological harm or emotional abuse

  • Incidents of domestic violence
     

It is important to note that while mandatory reporters have an obligation to report, anyone with a concern is able to make a report. Section 43B of the Crimes Act (NSW) 1900 requires that any adult working in a child-related organisation (as a paid employee, contractor or volunteer) will commit an offence if they know another adult working there poses serious risk of abusing a child and they negligently fail to reduce or remove the risk.
 

Breaches of Policy, Procedures and Code of Conduct

Certain circumstances that constitute a breach of policy, procedure and/or code of conduct may lead to disciplinary procedures pending on the type and severity of the breach.
 

In instances that breaches are considered minor by BTA Management, a three-strike warning system will be used. Both the first and second warnings will be accompanied with training to prevent further breaches, but the third breach can lead to employee termination. Numerous reporting avenues are available and easily accessible to all staff and students. These include but are not limited to anonymous contact forms in all academies, the BTA texting number and the BTA Student Wellbeing Management Team. Any breaches or reports of breaches will be treated with strict confidentiality by BTA management.


How We Report

If there is a breach of this policy, the following steps are taken:  

 

  1. If the child is in immediate danger, call 000 for the appropriate emergency service.  If you are unsure, call management immediately on 1800 002 085.

  2. Contact a BTA Child Safety Champion and assist them in fulfilling reporting duties. The Child Safety Champion will examine the details to determine the level of risk involved, the severity of the breach and the reporting duties.  

  3. If necessary, the Child Safety Champion will report to the Office of Children’s Guardian (OCG) NSW using the 7-day reportable form.  If the report is made, an update on the status of the investigation must be made to the OCG within 30 days. Lastly, the BTA Child Safety Champion must notify the OCG once the investigation is finalised and supply them with all the relevant documentation. The Child Safety Champion may use the Reportable Conduct Directorate – (02) 8219 3800 – to assist on certain reportable offences within our organisation.
     

Processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse

_edited.png

Ongoing review and regular evaluation of this Child Safety Policy is necessary to ensure the continual wellbeing and safety of BTA students.
BTA’s Child Safety Committee is committed to bi-annual reviews of this policy to ensure any legislative changes are reflected.