Child protection - responding to and reporting students at risk of harm

Direction and guidance on identifying and managing risk of harm concerns to keep children and young people, including students in statutory out-of-home care, safe and supported in NSW public schools.


All NSW Department of Education employees.

Version Date Description of changes Approved by
V03.0.0 09/05/2024 Under the 2023 Policy and procedure review program, this policy is consolidated with the Out of Home Care policy. Policy converted into the new template, and improved readability. Executive Director, Inclusion and wellbeing

Document history

2022 Sep 26 - updated policy statement contact details and amended outdated department names (to Department of Communities and Justice). Updated sections 4 and 5 to comply with template.

2020 Jun 29 - made typographical changes and updated contact details to policy statement.

2018 Apr 23 - change to the current title from previous (Protecting and Supporting Children and Young People).

2014 Mar 14 - at the beginning of the 2014 school year, the requirement for principals to provide a copy of Child Protection Form A reports to their Director, Public Schools NSW was removed. This requirement was deleted from the policy and procedures.

2014 Mar 14 - terminology updated to reflect the new model of support to schools.

2010 Mar 3 - policy released on 5 Mar 2010 reflects revisions to Child Protection Legislation under Keep Them Safe: A shared approach to child wellbeing.

Superseded documents

Policy for Protecting Children and Young People PD20020067/V01

  1. Policy statement
    1. All NSW Department of Education staff are responsible for providing safe learning environments.
    2. All staff are required to recognise, respond to and report safety, welfare and wellbeing concerns for all children and young people in NSW Government schools and preschools regardless of their identity, location, cultural and/or linguistic background or disability status.
    3. The department has zero tolerance of child abuse or neglect of any kind.
    4. The department recognises and provides additional support to all children and young people enrolled in NSW Government schools and preschools impacted by trauma, including those in out-of-home care, to enhance their participation, retention, educational outcomes and wellbeing.
    5. All NSW Government education settings must implement the Child Safe Standards. These standards embed child safety in attitudes, behaviours and practices and promote effective strategies and systems to keep NSW students safe from harm.
    6. All staff are required to report any suspected risk of harm concerns to their principal, workplace manager or a delegated staff member.
    7. All staff are mandatory reporters and must ensure any suspected risk of significant harm concerns are reported to the Department of Communities and Justice and suspected risk of harm concerns are reported to the department’s Child Wellbeing Unit.
    8. All staff must complete mandatory child protection training.
    9. Schools must confirm that appropriate probity checks have been carried out in accordance with the Working With Children Check policy and procedures, and school induction processes are in place to ensure understanding of child safe practices.
    10. Children and young people’s care, protection and safety is a collaborative, shared responsibility of NSW Government, non-government agencies and communities, and includes proactive information sharing and coordinating service provision.
  2. Context
    1. All children and young people have a right to be safe and supported in our schools.
    2. Schools are uniquely positioned to identify concerns that put the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people at risk.
    3. The department has an important role to play in leading, influencing and raising awareness to embed child safe practices and the Why we have Child Safe Standards | Office of the Children's Guardian (
    4. The department supports the priorities of the NSW multiagency public health framework, Children First (PDF 14 MB) and reflects its vision in its responses to children and young people displaying or experiencing problematic and harmful sexual behaviours.
    5. Schools play a key role in realising the aim of Safe and Supported: The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021-2031 to reduce the rate of child abuse and neglect and its intergenerational impacts.
    6. Schools should support students to mitigate educational disadvantage arising from the child’s gender or from geographic, economic, social, cultural, lingual or other causes.
    7. Principals, teachers and school staff acting in accordance with this policy (refer to Guidelines for responding to concerns in specific or unique circumstances) are acting with the authority of, and are supported by, the department.
    8. The following procedures support this policy:
  3. Policy contact
    Director, Behaviour and Student Participation
    02 7814 0662

  4. Monitoring the policy
    The Director, Behaviour and Student Participation, monitors the implementation of this policy, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.
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