The principles that the ATA espouses with respect to child protection are based on:
- An overriding concern for the welfare of children
- A desire to see uniform national child protection laws
- If uncertain, take a precautionary approach.
The ATA will NOT accept applications for membership from tutors where it is known or disclosed that the tutor, in any Australian State or Territory or in any other nation: has prior, current or pending charges or convictions in relation to children, or has been suspended from teaching on account of child-related matters, or has been deregistered as a teacher on account of child-related matters.
When in doubt, the ATA will be still
Where there is uncertainty as to the status of an applicant for ATA membership (for example, in the subsequent reregistration of a teacher) the ATA takes a precautionary approach. That is, unless the Board is convinced that there are compelling reasons otherwise, a person will NOT be accepted as a member. Wherever there is doubt the ATA Board will err on the side of children and will place their interests higher than the interests of the person applying for membership.
The preferred legislative position
The ATA prefers a national system of cohesion in regards to child protection matters. This means that we would like to see ALL States and Territories require that all tutors pass have a current Working With Children Check (WWCC), and that any WWCC undertaken in any State or Territory be conducted to a standard that would make it applicable to ALL States and Territories. There should not be inconsistency between the various Australian jurisdictions, nor should there be Australian jurisdictions without robust child protection laws.
Child protection and tutoring
Child protection is a matter that should be central to the training, awareness and understanding of all tutors. Amongst other things, tutors should apply the following standards:
Tutoring in centres
Tutoring should be conducted in rooms where there are windows, so that a person outside the room can see into the room, or the door should be open so that the tutoring can be viewed and heard. Furthermore, no child should be disciplined by a tutor in a room with a closed door.
Tutoring in the child’s home
Tutoring should only take place in a public part of the home with a parent or responsible adult present. Tutoring should never take place in a child’s bedroom. At the end of each session that takes place within a child’s home a responsible adult, who was present in the home throughout the duration of the tutoring, should sign off the session as having been conducted appropriately and in a public space.
ATA members that provide an on-line service to clients are required to explain their child protection policy.
For any text-based on-line tutoring a record detailing the contents of each communication must be kept and made available to parents regularly and also anytime upon request.
For any video and/or audio-based on-line tutoring and live streamed sessions the tutor must ensure that parents/guardians are aware of the type of interaction the child is having with the tutor on the computer, tablet, mobile or other device being used by the student. It is a further requirement the provider to be able to ensure, through software or human means, that all interactions are appropriate, safe and secure. This may take the form of the parent/responsible adult being present or within hearing range during the tutoring and being free to observe, and be present for, each session.