Student Discipline

The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) has established minimum standards in relation to School Registration.

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Do you need to comply?

Yes, under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic.) and the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2007 (Vic.).

Conditions of compliance

The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) has established minimum standards in relation to student discipline.

Note: A school’s discipline policy must explicitly state that corporal punishment is not permitted.

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

A school’s discipline policy might cover expectations relating to:

  • attendance
  • grooming, including make-up and hair styles
  • carrying valuables to school
  • travel to and from school
  • out of bounds areas within the school
  • litter
  • jewellery
  • completion of work
  • language
  • chewing gum, and
  • any other expectations of student behaviour in the school.

References to behaviour and discipline should be mentioned in other school policies such as: Alcohol, Drug Use in Schools, Anti-Bullying and Harassment and Student Driving.

Schools need to ensure that all members of the school community are aware of the expectations for student behaviour. The following are approaches that schools might consider to ensure that this occurs:

  • Expectations of students could be made available, usually through a student diary, to all students and their families. Teachers and school staff should refer students to these expectations and ensure that they are clear as to their meaning.
  • Expectations and policies could also appear on the school intranet and/or the school website.
  • Reminders could be made in the school newsletter at pertinent times.
  • School assemblies and parent information nights are another way of informing the school community of the school’s expectations of student behaviour. Expectations for student behaviour should be reviewed regularly and the school community informed of any changes.

Schools should also have a list of pre-determined graded penalties which keep in mind procedural fairness. These could include:

  • detentions
  • extra duties
  • withdrawal of privileges
  • exclusion
  • suspension, and
  • expulsion.

Decisions made should not be biased, or seen to be biased, and the circumstances surrounding breaches of expectations should be considered. The interests of the individual and the school community should be considered when implementing a disciplinary policy.

Schools need to develop procedures for notifying the parents/guardians of breaches of expectations by students and the penalties imposed as a consequence. These could include:

  • notes in student diaries for detentions
  • interviews with families, and
  • written notification in the cases of serious penalties such as suspension and expulsion. Records of breaches of expectations and penalties imposed should be retained in individual student files.

What are the consequences if you don’t comply?

If the VRQA determines that a registered school does not comply with one or more of the minimum standards, it may:

  • impose conditions on the school’s registration
  • prohibit the school from enrolling any new students
  • require the school to report its non-compliance to parents
  • suspend, cancel or impose conditions on the school’s registration.

Who will help you?

Independent Schools Victoria contact:

Elspeth Adamson
Manager, Student Services
Ph. 03 9825 7204
elspeth.adamson@is.vic.edu.au

Documents for Download

PDFSouth Australian Department of Education and Children’s Services: Positive Practices for Staff in their Interactions with Children and Young People

Links and Resources

External linkISV: Alcohol

External linkISV: Anti-Bullying and Harassment

External linkISV: Graffiti

External linkISV: Illicit Drugs

External linkISV: Student Attendance

External linkISV: Student Dress Code

External linkVic DET: School Policy and Advisory Guide – Student Engagement

External linkVic DET: Student Engagement Policy Guidelines