37 Guidelines on national best practice for student participation in school decision making should be developed. The guidelines should include material that assists students to understand their rights and responsibilities in the context of school decisions affecting them. A handbook for teachers and students explaining the guidelines should be prepared and distributed to all schools in Australia.
Implementation. DEETYA should prepare the guidelines and handbook in conjunction with State and Territory education departments, peak groups from the independent schools sector, relevant community groups, school students and in consultation with the OFC. DEETYA should co-ordinate distribution of the handbook.
38 NCAVAC should conduct a specific project aimed at reducing school violence. The Campaign should evaluate the benefits for youth crime prevention of anti-bullying policies, anti-harassment policies, peer mediation and peer support schemes and establish benchmarks in each of these areas.
39 All teachers and school counsellors should receive professional development training in identifying children at risk of dropping out of school and referring them to appropriate government and non-government support services and programs. Particular attention should be given to recognising this risk at the end of primary school and the beginning of secondary school.
Implementation. State and Territory education departments should provide this training.
40 In recognition of the relationship between effective early intervention and diverting involvement with the juvenile justice system, the STAR program should be re-established.
Implementation. The Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs should give effect to this recommendation in the next budget allocation.
41 For the same reason,additional local programs to identify and support at-risk and disadvantaged students and encourage their continued participation in education should be developed.
Implementation.These programs should be developed and implemented by State and Territory education departments in conjunction with DEETYA, peak bodies from the independent school sector and relevant community groups.
42 National standards for student support services in primary and secondary schools should be developed. These standards should take appropriate account of the nexus between access to primary and secondary education and involvement with the juvenile justice system.
Implementation. DEETYA should develop these standards in conjunction with State and Territory education departments and in consultation with OFC.
43 Each State and Territory education department should ensure that all teaching staff and school administrators are trained in disability, disability discrimination laws and obligations, and how to meet the educational and social development needs of students with a disability.
44 Government schools should distribute a Charter of School Education to each family at the start of each school year. The Charter should set out
the nature and extent of the education that will be provided in government schools at no cost to parents
government policy on voluntary contributions and any subject levies and charges and the rights and obligations of parents and students in relation to each
information on any financial assistance provided by government agencies, community groups and the school itself to assist families experiencing financial hardship with the costs of schooling.
Implementation. The Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs should seek the agreement of MCEETYA to the development of this Charter.
45 In light of the link between chronic truancy and exposure to the juvenile justice system, the federal Government should co-ordinate the development and implementation of a national strategy to reduce truancy.
Implementation. DEETYA should lead the development of the strategy in consultation with State and Territory education departments, peak groups from the independent schools sector, relevant community groups and the Australian Council for Education Research.
46 Research should be conducted nationally to determine the extent to which young people are excluded from school by informal processes and the extent of the connection between school exclusion and criminal behaviour.
Implementation. This research should be co-ordinated by OFC in consultation with the Australian Council for Education Research and the AIC.
47 National standards for school discipline should be developed setting out the permissible grounds for exclusion and the processes to be followed when a government school proposes to exclude a student. The standards should require that
the legislative provisions regarding discipline be widely publicised to students and their carers in readily understandable language, including community languages where appropriate
each State and Territory collect and publish annual statistics on truancy and on excluded students including age, sex, race, length of exclusion, reasons for exclusion and the support provided to excluded children
each State or Territory department of education establish a unit with responsibility for ensuring appropriate arrangements are made for each excluded child, including counselling or other support and alternative schooling or education.
Implementation. In consultation with OFC, DEETYA should convene a working group comprising representatives of State and Territory education departments, peak bodies in the independent schools sector and relevant community groups to develop the national standards mechanisms for obtaining national education statistics. Each State and Territory government should incorporate the standards into legislation and strongly encourage independent schools to incorporate the standards into their discipline policies.
48 The national standards for school discipline should provide that
students facing exclusion and their carers should be informed in writing of the reasons why exclusion is being considered and be given sufficient time and opportunity to respond to the allegations
reviews of serious exclusions, being exclusions for longer than 14 days, repeat exclusions totalling more than 14 days in a year and permanent exclusions, should be heard by a panel of school and community representatives at least one of whom is from outside the particular school community
an advocate for the child should be permitted and encouraged to be involved in the disciplinary process where a serious exclusion is proposed.
49 The national standards for school discipline should provide conferencing models appropriate for use in schools.
50 Corporal punishment should be banned in all Australian schools (including independent schools).
Implementation. Through MCEETYA the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs should seek agreement to the passage of uniform legislation to that effect. In the meantime, the Minister should take all available measures, including attaching conditions to financial grants, to eliminate corporal punishment in Australian schools.