The Catholic Education Office (CEO) schools in the Diocese of Wollongong are constantly striving to provide well-planned support to students who face these challenges. The increasing complexity and accountability requirements surrounding the nature of this support has heightened the need for a co-ordinated and standardised approach to the local and system-wide management of student concerns.
Catholic schools are recognised within the community for an authentic; values based approach to the pastoral care of children and young people, particularly in response to the concerns that arise for those who encounter specific challenges over their schooling years.
In meeting this need Managing Student Pastoral and Educational Concerns (MSPEC) is intended to provide a clearly articulated approach to the response and management of concerns pertaining to students that manifest themselves in any or all of the following:
behaviours of concern, extreme or persistent problem behavior;
poor or underestimated educational outcomes;
identified or emerging special needs;
known or suspected pastoral needs;
· indicators or disclosures of harm, abuse or ill-treatment;
· indicators of lack of or inappropriate physical, social or psychological development; and
· risks to self, peers, staff or others.
MSPEC is the CEO policy and support material required for addressing these concerns and has been developed in consultation with key CEO staff and a range of school staff. The MSPEC support material is designed to provide a facilitation structure of procedures and documents to be used in each school when preparing to respond to students with these particular needs. Advice is provided about when and how to seek assistance from the appropriate CEO staff and external services. MSPEC recognises the current educational and legislative context and aims to assist schools in complying with these requirements while responding positively to students, promoting their dignity and helping them experience school to the fullest. Specifically the NSW Anti-discrimination Act 1977 (notably Disability Standards for Education), the NSW Education Act 1900 the Commonwealth Privacy Act 2000 and the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 are of significant legislative relevance and have been taken into account in the preparation of these strategies and support materials.
The document has been further informed by the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young People (December 2008) and resources produced by the Broken Bay Diocese and Sydney Archdiocese Education Offices.