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Equal Opportunity and Anti-discrimination

Advice on developing policies and procedures related to equal opportunity and anti-discrimination.

Please scroll to the bottom of the page for contacts and links

Do you need to comply?

Yes, under the provisions of a range of Commonwealth and Victorian laws.

Conditions of compliance

Equal Opportunity and anti-discrimination is a requirement under Commonwealth and State legislation.

Equal opportunity and anti-discrimination practices should be addressed as part of a school’s duty of care to provide respectful, safe and inclusive school environment which is, free of discrimination, harassment, bullying, vilification, victimisation and otherwise unlawful and unacceptable behaviours.

Schools must adhere to the following Commonwealth and State legislation:

  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth.)
  • Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth.)
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth.)
  • Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 (Cth.)
  • Charter of Human Rights & Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic)
  • Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth.)
  • Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic.)
  • Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (Vic.)
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic.)
  • Multicultural Victoria Act 2004 (Vic)
  • Education & Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic).

If you have to comply, what do you have to do?

Schools have a responsibility to ensure students are safe within the school and broader learning environments and must provide an appropriate duty of care to all students.

Schools should implement a whole school approach and implement policies, procedures and strategies that are guided by the principles of acceptance, dignity and respect for diversity.

Policies should include strategies to:

  • create a positive school culture that is fair and respectful
  • expect positive, supportive and respectful relationships that are inclusive and value diversity
  • promote pro-social values and behaviours
  • proactively engage with students, parents/ carers, local community and promote consistency and a positive approach by all stakeholders encouraging student participation and student voice
  • implement strategies that enable students to communicate with teachers or other school-based staff when support is required
  • regular self-monitoring to review policies, programs and practices and include feedback mechanisms to ensure continuous improvement
  • programs to up-skill young people, e.g. bystander training, resilience training
  • modifications to the physical environment
  • teacher professional development.

What are the consequences if you don't comply?

You may be putting your students’ health and wellbeing at risk.

Who will help you?

Independent Schools Victoria contact:

Peter Roberts
Director, School Services
Ph: 9825 7211
peter.roberts@is.vic.edu.au

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Documents for download

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PDF icon Independent Schools Victoria: Equal Opportunity guidelines for schools
   
PDF icon Independent Schools Victoria: Equal Opportunity policy checklist
   
word icon Independent Schools Victoria: Sample Equal Opportunity and Anti-harassment policy for schools
   
PDF icon Independent Schools Victoria: Equal Opportunity and Anti-Discrimination Online Links
   
PDF icon Office of the Child Safety Commissioner: A Guide for Creating a Child Safe Organisation
   

Links and Resources

(Please note that all links open in new browser windows)

Worldwide web icon DEECD: Building Respectful and Safe Schools
   

 

Similar matters

The VRQA requires schools to have policies and procedures in place in relation to student bullying.

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Submitted 15/1/2007, edited 17/07/2013