- Rationale and Scope
- Attachments and References
- Global Statements
- Principles of the Code
- The Code in Practice
- Interactions with Students
- Interactions with the Community
- Interactions with Colleagues
- Professional Competence
- Open Reporting of Criminal Convictions
- Breaching the Code
30 March 2020
11 June 2020
Chief Executive Officer
Board, staff, parents, volunteers
National Principles 1-10
- As Christian role models, we accept the authority of the Bible and seek to be guided by it in every aspect of behaviour and conduct. The College holds to a Reformed Protestant tradition and its doctrine, beliefs, and teaching as explained in the Westminster Confession of Faith.
- The Bible and the Westminster Confession of Faith reflect the fundamental belief that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God, and our only means of salvation from sin (Rom 5:8, Acts 4:11-12). God the Father has made Jesus King of kings and Lord of lords, which means that there is no authority higher than Him and that He has sovereignty over every aspect of our lives (Phil 2:5-11).
- Christ is fundamentally central to everything (Col 1:15-20). The College is committed to applying Biblical principles to inform and guide our convictions, lifestyle, values, and conduct. We remain deeply aware that we are Christ’s ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20a). We are entrusted to represent Him well in our actions and conduct.
- An outworking of the truth that everything belongs to Christ is that the College considers neither faith nor the study of the Bible as ‘add-ons’. Simply adding faith to the learning mix denies the fundamental and integral nature of the faith and learning relationship. It is therefore imperative to ensure that the behaviour, conduct, and lifestyle of all staff members is of the highest standard and is consistent with the Bible and the Westminster Confession of Faith.
- This Code applies to:
- all staff employed by the College;
- volunteers, parents, and guardians;
- Board members;
- practicum students;
- visitors and other adults who interact with the College in any capacity;
- contractors are covered under a separate Contractors Policy.
- This Code does not attempt to provide a rigid, detailed, or exhaustive list of what to do or not do in every aspect of work. Instead, it sets out general expectations of the standards of behaviour required. Rehoboth staff are advised that no item in this Code should be understood to limit the circumstances in which the College may take disciplinary action against an employee.
- This Code contains intrinsic links to the College Child Safe Framework. It places an obligation on all persons to take responsibility for their conduct and to work with others cooperatively to achieve a consultative and collaborative workplace where children are safe, and people are happy and proud to work.
Board members and employees of the College are required to review the list of documents below regularly. All other stakeholders should be familiar with the following:
- Staff means an adult listed as a stakeholder in the Overview above. The term is used interchangeably in this Code to apply to all these stakeholders.
- Volunteer means an adult who is not a College employee (typically, but not limited to, a parent or guardian of an enrolled student) completing unpaid time in a school-related activity or responsibility.
- Westminster Confession of Faith means doctrinal statement adopted by the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia. It is interchangeable with the Three Forms of Unity (consisting of the Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, and Canons of Dort). These statements establish the standards of Biblical interpretation at the College.
- All staff are expected to live in a manner which honours Christ and is consistent with Biblical principles.
- All staff are required to read and abide by this Code, any relevant legislation pertaining to educational organisations, and the policies and procedures of the College. This Code provides a list of relevant policy and legislation.
- The College will ensure that, so far as is practical, staff have continuous access to the policies that affect College life. Staff are expected to read and understand these documents, and to raise questions about any matter that may be unclear.
The faith basis of the College is founded on the following principles:
- The Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and proper conduct. It is the sole and final source of all that the College believes.
- The College is influenced by the doctrine, beliefs, and teachings of the Reformed Protestant tradition in its interpretation of the Bible. This interpretation is best expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith and is reflected in a range of documents and policies of the College.
- The Westminster Confession of Faith does not exhaust the extent of the beliefs of the College.
- For purposes of the College’s doctrines, beliefs, or teachings, the Board is the final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application provided that any such interpretation is consistent with the Westminster Confession of Faith.
- All staff members are role models and play a part in the expression of the faith basis of the College.
- As a condition of employment, it is essential that all staff members possess and maintain:
- a personal belief consistent with the Westminster Confession of Faith or has communicated any points of disagreement prior to appointment.
- an active commitment to and involvement with a local Protestant Christian church with doctrines similar to and/or consistent with the Westminster Confession of Faith.
- Should a staff member cease to hold a firm personal belief consistent with the Westminster Confession of Faith or cease to maintain an active commitment to and involvement with a local Protestant Christian church, the staff member must inform the CEO immediately.
It is acknowledged that:
- the College bases its teachings and beliefs on the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, which the College regards as the inspired and inerrant Word of God;
- these teachings are expounded in many of the College’s public and internal documents, as well as the Westminster Confession of Faith;
- these documents reflect the College’s understanding of the lifestyle and values which all staff, regardless of their role, are required to support and maintain;
- these documents are to be understood as source documents, defining the College’s doctrines, beliefs, and teachings.
As a condition of employment, it is important and essential that all staff members serve as Christian role models to all students and families associated with the College by:
- conducting themselves at all times in a manner consistent with these teachings and beliefs and in accordance with College policies and the Christian ethos of the College;
- not acting in a way that they know, or ought reasonably to know, is contrary to the religious beliefs and values of the College – nothing in the deliberate conduct of a staff member shall be incompatible with the requirements of their position.
- Acting in a manner contrary to the lifestyle and value requirements set out in this Code is likely to cause injury to the religious predispositions of members of the College community who adhere to the College’s doctrines, beliefs and teachings.
- If a staff member acts contrary to the lifestyle and value requirements set out in this Code, the matter will be dealt with in accordance with the normal College procedures in relation to conduct and performance management.
- Living a life consistent with Biblical principles by:
- acting with honesty and integrity;
- accurately presenting information to students and their families;
- presenting facts in an honest and complete manner;
- maintaining the highest standards of professional behaviour;
- conducting themselves in an ethical manner;
- not initiating rumours or circulating false acts, and ensuring that rumours are not passed on in a way which could be construed as fact;
- striving to be a good citizen and achieving the respect of the community;
- acting in accordance with the policies and procedures of the College.
- Regarding gifts and money, staff should:
- not offer, solicit, or accept gifts, money, favours, or concessions which might affect their judgement in relation to their work, or which might be seen to compromise their judgement;
- not use or convert to their own benefit, funds, information or property of the College/Association, or assist others in such behaviour.
- Abiding by laws and confidentiality:
- abide by laws and regulations;
- not use information regarding the affairs of the College for personal gain, or for the benefit of others such as friends, relatives or associates;
- comply with the ethical standards and conventions adopted throughout the education industry.
- Working as a team:
- work together as a team to ensure a safe and harmonious workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination;
- avoid conflicts of interest with respect to any material personal interests (including non-financial interests).
- Refraining from working under the influence of harmful substances: staff must not carry out their duties on behalf of the College, or in any way represent the College, if under the influence of (or having consumed) alcohol, drugs, or medication which impairs judgement.
- Working within one’s authority level: staff should not operate outside their delegated authority levels unless authorised to do so by a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
- Choosing the correct approach when applying for a new job: inform a member of the Senior Leadership Team when accepting or seeking an external role in which knowledge acquired through the College is beneficial.
- Dress appropriately for work:
- aim for professionalism by dressing to an exemplary standard suitable to their role;
- avoid excessive jewellery or makeup;
- cover any visible tattoos or unusual body piercings.
- Identifying and managing conflicts of interest:
- staff should avoid conflicts of interest with respect any material personal interests (including non-financial interests) or, where a conflict is unavoidable, to be reported to a member of the Senior Leadership Team. Such conflicts may give rise to decisions which do not prioritise the interests of the College;
- conflicts of interest may be direct or indirect and may involve family, business partners, associates, or friends. They may include financial or non-financial benefits.
- Preserving copyright and similar intellectual property rights of the College and others: note that material developed as an employee of the College belongs to the College. Staff are expected to refrain from infringement of these intangible rights.
- Appropriate use of electronic communications and social networking: staff must ensure their use of such tools is in accordance with the College’s ICT and Social Media (Staff) Policy.
- We believe that students are made in God’s image and are therefore due the dignity and respect this entails. Each student is unique in character and gifted by God for His service (Eph 2:10). We view students as God’s children and hold that His covenant of grace extends to them also. Students have the potential to be future influencers for Christ in the culture and circumstances in which they live.
- While not all persons are required to manage and supervise students, it is important that all staff read, understand, and observe the College’s Child Safe Framework. In particular, all staff are required to read, understand, and observe the provisions of the Child Safety and Wellbeing Policy, the Child Protection and Mandatory Reporting Policy, and the Child Safety (Online Environments) Policy.
- In dealing with students, staff will:
- understand their responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare and wellbeing of students;
- remain conversant with the College’s Occupational Health and Safety Policy;
- be appropriate role models for students, modelling effective leadership and respect in interactions with students;
- treat students with courtesy and respect and provide an environment that encourages students to do the same;
- have high standards and be professional and competent in their duty of care to students;
- behave in ways that promote the safety, welfare, and wellbeing of students;
- actively seek to prevent harm to students and support those who have been harmed;
- not be physically intimate with students;
- avoid being alone with a student in circumstances where no line of sight with other adults can be facilitated;
- report to the Principal or other senior staff member any advances toward an adult by a student, or any suspicion that a student may have or may be developing a romantic infatuation with them;
- not have conversations of a lewd or sexually suggestive nature with students or make comments of this nature to any student;
- not court, date, or develop a relationship with students enrolled at the College other than the appropriate professional relationship that acceptably exist between adults and students.
- never punish a child using physical force or strike a student for any reason – note that any punishment that lacks respect for human dignity, including non-physical punishment which belittles, humiliates, denigrates, threatens, or ridicules a young person is strictly prohibited;
- report to a member of the Senior Leadership Team any action or activity of another person that is inconsistent with the child safety principles contained in College policies. The College undertakes to protect such persons who report in good faith from any negative consequences of making such a report;
- where a circumstance is not classed as requiring a mandatory report but is nevertheless indicative that some action is necessary in relation to another person, staff must report such circumstances to a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
- The College places a high value on its community and families. We believe families are a God-ordained and fundamental unit of society. Though subject to sin and imperfect relationships, it is within the family unit that children first encounter a model of Christian living and discipleship. Parents are primarily responsible for raising their children in the fear and knowledge of the Lord, and Rehoboth exists to assist them in meeting this responsibility via a God-honouring partnership. Rehoboth is therefore a community of like-minded believers, unified under the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Eph 2:19-22).
- In dealing with the College community, staff should:
- be respectful, courteous, and responsive;
- communicate promptly and sensitively, especially where concerns have been expressed;
- maintain high standards and be professional and competent in their duty of care to others; and
- work collaboratively at all times.
- We believe that staff are Christ’s representatives to the College and external communities. We believe our staff are made in God’s image, are uniquely gifted, and called to influence students for His glory. Staff are lifelong learners, both spiritually and professionally, and play a central role as custodians of the College’s Christian worldview.
- In dealing with colleagues, staff should:
- understand their responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare and wellbeing of colleagues;
- always demonstrate courteous and respectful behaviour ;
- seek to foster collaboration and work effectively as a team;
- be supportive and encouraging of one another;
- adopt a generous approach towards the sharing of ideas, learning, and resources and;
- resolve differences in a spirit of Christian love and unity and according to the College’s Complainants and Grievance Policy.
Staff are required to:
- maintain professional competence in their field;
- perform their duties to the best of their ability and be accountable for their performance;
- follow reasonable instructions given by the appropriate senior staff member;
- comply with any reasonable and lawful directions from senior staff;
- approach their work in a conscientious manner, while seeking suitable opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills, including thorough participation in relevant professional development;
- act honestly and in good faith;
- adopt high standards in record keeping and document management;
- be approachable and prompt in dealing with other people, including students, parents, colleagues and members of the community, thus faithfully representing Christ and the College; and
- ensure that their conduct, whether during or outside working hours, is consistent with the ethos and reputation of the College.
- Staff are required to provide a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check that is no more than three months old at the time of their appointment, as well as a valid Working with Children Check. For teachers, these checks are incorporated in their teacher registration.
- Where a staff member has any criminal convictions, he or she should report them promptly to the CEO.
- Staff should promptly inform the CEO of sexual abuse against them or any other person.
- Be alert for unusual activity, which may suggest inappropriate behaviour and report such activity to a member of the Senior Leadership Team. The College will to the best of its ability ensure that no person suffers any negative consequence as a result of making a report in good faith.
- Staff who have formed a belief that a student is being harmed is required to submit a Mandatory Report to the appropriate authorities immediately. This is a duty under law which may not be avoided – refer to Child Safety (Mandatory and Non-Mandatory Reporting) and Child Safety and Wellbeing Policies.
- Any alleged breach of this Code will be scrutinised and fully investigated and illegal activity reported to the relevant authority.
- A matter classed as reportable under the Mandatory Reporting Framework will be escalated under that protocol.
- Critical Incidents will be reported to the Department of Education and the Board.
- General breaches, if proven, will be dealt with under the most appropriate policy. This may be the Discipline (Staff) Policy or the Performance Management Policy. The consequences flowing from a substantiated breach will be matched to the seriousness and degree of pervasiveness of the breach. In the most serious of cases, a breach may lead to separation of employment. The principles of procedural fairness will prevail.