COMMUNICATIONS PROCEDURES

PURPOSE

 

The School will provide both formal and informal mechanisms to facilitate communication between those with an interest in the student’s education and wellbeing. This may include communications between some or all of the following:

  • Student

  • Parent or Carer, or other significant family member of the student

  • Teachers

  • Counsellor

  • Head of Curriculum

  • Principal

  • School Board Members

 

OVERVIEW

 

Open and effective communication is vital to the health and wellbeing of the School community. Effective communication encompasses the exchange of ideas, where people feel they have been heard and their opinions valued, and where information is clear and accurate. All communication needs to be timely, relevant, accurate, well targeted, well delivered, clear and concise, open, honest and frank, reciprocal and interactive.

 

RATIONALE

 

This policy’s implementation enhances the quality of the School community through:

  • Providing a framework for effective communication.

  • Promoting understanding and co-operative teamwork between the school, parents/carers and students.

  • Promoting active participation of the whole school community in effective communication.

  • Contributing to the best learning outcomes for students.

  • Ensuring principles of effective communication are displayed by staff in their work within the School.

  • Collective understanding that parents/carers, students and staff have a common goal.

  • Promoting shared community values founded on effective Home/School partnerships.

IMPLEMENTATION

 

  • The School encourages open and cooperative communication. The School will use its website, newsletters, publications, email, Facebook, ClassDojo, WhatsApp and all available forms of media as a means of communication between the School and its stakeholders.

  • This practice however, recognises that staff members have legal obligations with regards the communication of information.

  • The school will provide four written reports for each student each year, as well two parent-teacher interviews. Additional interviews with parents will be conducted upon request. The school will comply with the annual reporting requirements as set out by the Minister.

  • As a matter of professional courtesy, staff will communicate with the Principal or Deputy Principal before making public comment or formal statements on educational or any other issue which may affect the School.

  • The National Privacy Principles contained in the Commonwealth Privacy Act require that schools protect the interest of individuals with regard to their personal information and respect the individual’s right to control how their personal information is used, and for what purpose.

  • The School will only collect consensual information that is required about individuals, and will only communicate and disclose information for the purposes for which it was collected.

  • Any person seeking information from the school that falls outside the school’s stated practices must be directed to the Principal or Deputy Principle. The Principal or Deputy Principal will inform the School Board of any such request.

  • Information sought by police, including interviews of students must be directed to the Principal.

  • Requests from all government agencies and personnel regarding students or families must be directed to the Principal.

  • The School will comply with court subpoenas to provide information at all times.

  • To ensure that any requests from the Minister for additional data are dealt with appropriately, the school charges the Principal with coordinating the school’s response. The Principal is responsible for the collection of the relevant data and for ensuring it is provided to NESA in an appropriate electronic form.

  • The School Business Manager (or Financial Officer) is responsible for completing the DEEWR Annual Financial Return questionnaire. The Business Manager is responsible for the collection of the relevant data and for ensuring it is provided to DEEWR in an appropriate form.

MECHANISMS FOR SCHOOL COMMUNICATION

 

  1. The School Board Meetings will keep the governing body aware of happenings within the community that may enhance or detract from the school’s greater vision.

  2. Parents & Carers (P&C) & Community meetings to provide ongoing opportunities for parents/carers to be involved in and informed of The School activities. (Maarif School do not have P & C & Community yet.)

  3. The School Newsletter to communicate key events, policies, ideas and achievements to the school community.

  4. Parent Handbooks to provide a comprehensive overview of important aspects of school life and details of appropriate channels of communication with the school.

  5. Parent/Teacher Interviews to provide opportunities for Teacher/Parent to discuss student achievement, progress and concerns

  6. Student Assemblies to recognise and share achievements and information with students and parents.

  7. The School Website provides information about The School, and its programs and achievements. It will provide links to other websites which might assist the academic, emotional and social needs of the School community.

  8. Weekly Staff meetings to provide information, raise issues, plan and discuss school management, activities and programs. Executive Meetings to ensure whole school cohesion, planning and management.

  9. Academic Reports to provide a formal, comprehensive report of students’ academic progress, achievements, social development and work habits from Primary.

  10. Parent forums (ClassDojo) to share information and receive parental feedback on issues related to school life as needed.

  11. Stakeholder Surveys from time to time may prove useful to survey sections of the School community providing opportunity for parties concerned to offer feedback with anonymity.

 

COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

 

Parents or Carers communicating with Staff

 

Parents or Carers wishing to contact staff about a matter related to The School have a number of options.

Phone the School Reception on 02 8316 0651 or 1800 Maarif (1800 622 743)

  • Arrangements will be made for the staff member to contact you as soon as practical. If the matter is urgent, and cannot contact with those numbers, parents can send a message to classroom teachers vis ClassDojo to contact HoC or the Principal.

  • If the matter is related to curriculum or class matters, request to speak to the classroom teacher or the person in charge of Teaching and Learning (HoC).

  • If the matter is related to a welfare issue, request to speak your son’s or daughter’s class teacher (for Primary). If not available and the matter is urgent, contact HoC or Principal.

 

Procedures for Staff communicating with Parents or Caregivers:

 

As a general rule, parents or caregivers should be well informed about the academic progress and pastoral wellbeing of their child.

The following section provides guidance for academic staff when communicating with parents about academic, pastoral and discipline issues outside the more formal mechanisms, such as parent-teacher evenings. In all dealings with parents and caregivers, communication should be open and frank. At the same time, it is essential that staff communicate with empathy, understanding and respect for students and their parents or caregivers. The following procedures have been divided between academic and pastoral communications.

 

Academic Communication (Primary School)

 

  1. Minor Academic issues such as missed homework or assignments appropriately begin with a note in the Class Dojo. Similarly, the Student exercise books related with the subject may be used to communicate positive work habits, academic progress or improvements in attitude or effort by a student.

  2. When there is concern for the academic progress of a child, such as the need for extra class attention, tasks for follow-up at home then parents should be contacted by phone or by organising a meeting seeking their input.

  3. Follow-up phone calls or meetings should be held on a regular basis when a child is at risk academically.

 

Responding to and Following up Parent/Caregiver Enquiries

This section deals with responses to parent/caregiver enquiries to teaching staff about student related issues.

1. Where a parent/caregiver has contacted a staff member by phone or personal interview, notes should be taken and all aspects of the conversation should be clarified to the satisfaction of all parties.

2. When the contact is by email or if the staff member was not available to take the initial phone call, the parent/caregiver should be responded to within 24 hours of the initial contact.   Teachers may need to communicate by email or by phone or ClassDojo to state that they need time to look into the matter before they can provide a full response.  No parent or carers contact or request should be ignored and some form of response should occur within 24 hours.

3. Where some action is agreed on following a meeting or communication, a time frame should be established to either review progress or resolve the issue.

 

Additional Information for Staff

 

  • Mechanisms for school communication, and All communication in the Media are directly controlled by the Principal. Brochures, publications, official letters and electronic communication with the wider School community should all conform to the school’s guidelines on style as directed by the Principal and senior executive.

  • Should a staff member be directly approached by telephone, email or in person to answer specific factual questions on financial, logistic and/or administrative matters then they should be open, frank and professional in relaying information that has been published by The School and is in the public domain. Should extra details or factual information be required, the staff member should refer the enquiry on to someone with access to such information or to the Principal informing both the enquirer and the other member of staff of the enquiry.

  • Matters of a private or sensitive nature regarding your work or the work of others and questions inviting you to offer judgements or personal views should not be discussed. If questions are not factual but enquire into the area of policy and procedures, reasons or rationale for policies and procedures, staff should courteously explain that a member of the School Executive would be better equipped to answer the query and refer it on as outlined above.

 

Staff to Staff Communication

 

Open, honest and effective communication throughout the school is our goal and professionalism at all times should be our guiding principle.

1. Communication with colleagues should be conducted in a professional and courteous manner.

2. Confidentiality and privacy are to be respected and maintained at all times.

3. All forms of communication with colleagues should reflect an understanding, empathy and respect for individual circumstances, differences and needs.

4. There is no time or room in this workplace for passing on hearsay, rumour or gossip. Do not engage in it or tolerate it from others. In particular, do not pass on to the actual person who was the subject of the hearsay, rumour or gossip what was being said about them.

5. If a staff member is uncomfortable or concerned about matters that have been communicated, implied or suggested, they should refer it to the Principal.  It the staff member’s responsibility to report any negative or hurtful communications to Principal.

 

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Grievance Policy and Procedures

Assessment and Reporting

Student Welfare and Pastoral Care Guidelines

Discipline Policy and Procedures

Child Protection Policy and Procedures