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Principal’s Report

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Welcome to Term Two

 Welcome back to everyone, as the school year moves into a very important term.

This term is relatively short, and all our students will be completing numerous assessment tasks across all year levels. CATs for Years 7-10 and SACs for Years 11-12. There is also the changeover of VCE classes into Units 2 and 4 and the continuity of the VM.

Exams are also nigh, and the College exams set the tone for expectations and academic rigour. I have said it before and I will say it again – academic rigour and effort are non-negotiables at our college. Teaching and learning underpins everything we do. There is support for students who need it, there is acceleration for students who need it, there are extra classes, extra quiet rooms for study, as needed….EFFORT from all our students to be the best possible version of themselves is an important goal that enables all of our community to flourish.


 ….so, so proud of all our college leaders and ambassadors who spoke so eloquently at the Emerald RSL Anzac Day Service. Please read Mrs Korsten’s report in this newsletter.

 Emerald Secondary College VALUES…. (from the previous Newsletter)

 ….are in the throes of being finalised. Consultation with staff, students, school council and community members has taken place and we have settled on the ones that best exemplify our direction and identity as a college. We will unveil them next term at our whole school assembly and implementation of the College Values will start as soon as possible. Without giving too much away, Respect was definitely up there….

 College VALUES at Emerald Secondary College


  1. Behaviours and actions
  2. For self, others, the physical environment and property of others
  3. Rights of all members of our community to achieve their full potential
  4. For individual differences
  5. For diversity in our community


  1. Learning
  2. Growth
  3. Aspiration
  4. Achievement
  5. Personal Best
  6. Development of self discipline and pursuit of improvement in all endeavours
  7. Doing your best and supporting and celebrating others to do the same


  1. Wellbeing
  2. Empowerment
  3. Trying new things
  4. Courage to give and accept advice for improvement
  5. Perseverance and persistence
  6. Positivity adapting to change
  7. Providing opportunities for everyone to participate and feel included
  8. Strong sense of worth and the capacity to overcome setbacks with optimism


  1. Inclusivity
  2. Care and Compassion
  3. Playing a positive role in the school community
  4. Respectful Relationships
  5. Teamwork
  6. Optimism
  7. Concern for the welfare and needs of others
  8. Service and contribution
  9. Collaboration and co-operation
  10. Contributing to a safe, orderly school environment
  11. Strong partnerships between parents, teachers and students
  12. Working together in a positive and constructive way

Implementation: We are working to instil these values across all aspects of college life. Proactive programs form part of the wider curriculum at all year levels.

These Values will be integral in how our college operates for the entire community. Everyone will be responsible to uphold our Values….everyone.

Thank you to our students, our staff, our School Council and parent forums for their input over the last 18 months.

 Attitudes to School Survey information.

 The Attitudes to School Survey (AtoSS) is important for all schools in so many ways. It allows schools to gather data from students, staff and parents, that contributes to a college Strategic Plan and a whole school improvement agenda. This year, AtoSS will be completed by all students during one of their BEST classes, over the month of May. Parent participation and staff participation will follow. Please see the attached letter from DET that outlines the rationale and further information of interest.



2023 Student Attitudes to School Survey

 Dear Parent / Caregiver / Guardian,

This letter is to inform you about the 2023 Student Attitudes to School Survey (AtoSS), that your child is invited to participate in. 

About the survey

We value student voice as a means to improving student engagement, wellbeing and quality instruction and are conducting a survey to find out what your child thinks of their school.

The AtoSS is an annual student survey offered by the Department of Education to assist schools to gain an understanding of students’ perceptions and experience of school. Students will be asked about their thoughts and feelings in relation to their school, their learning, peer relationships, resilience, bullying, health and wellbeing, physical activity, and life in general.

This year, the AtoSS will be conducted at your school between the 8th of May to the 26th of May.

What are the benefits?

Young people enjoy having a say! This survey has been running for nearly 20 years and is invaluable in helping schools understand student views to plan programs and activities to improve your child’s schooling experience. The survey responses also help the Department of Education understand how student’s learning experiences can be improved.

What are the risks?

While we do not anticipate many risks of participation, some students may find some of the survey questions personal and sensitive in nature. Should you agree for your child to participate, they are still free to skip questions or to withdraw at any stage if the survey makes them upset or uncomfortable. A teacher will be present during the survey to support students.

The questions are selected from validated survey instruments used in Australia and around the world, are strength-based, and tailored for each year level group.

What will my child be asked to do?

Your child will be invited to complete the survey online during class time using a purpose built secure online survey tool. It is important to note that we are not in any way ‘testing’ your child. Please note:

  • Student participation in the survey is voluntary and students may withdraw at any time.
  • The survey will take around 20-45 minutes to complete.

How is my child’s confidentiality protected?

Your child will be provided with a unique login to complete the survey from their teacher. The student login is an assigned identifier that may be used to link data for statistical and research purposes only. Personally identifiable data will not be recorded in the survey response file to ensure the confidentiality of your child’s responses is protected at all times.

How will results be reported?

The survey results will be reported back to the school in aggregate form throughout the survey period. All survey data that is made available in reports are for groups of students only so that no individual student can be identified. Data suppression rules are used for schools with low student numbers per year level.

Your school may share the results of the survey with parents, in documents such as the School Annual Report.

Options for participation

Participation in this survey is voluntary. If you do not wish for your child to do the survey, please opt out via email to your school: [email protected] Please do so before Friday, 12th of May, stating that you wish to opt out of your child’s participation, along with their name and year level.

If your school does not receive a Refusal of Consent email from yourself before the survey commencement date mentioned within this letter, it means that you give your consent for your child to participate in the 2023 Attitudes to School Survey.

If you would like more information, please speak contact the department at [email protected].


Yours sincerely,

Department of Education, Victoria


James Barut – College Principal


Assistant Principals’ Report

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Instrumental Music Scholarship

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rotary of Emerald for their continued support of our students at Emerald Secondary College.  Rotary have recently provided two scholarships for instrumental music lessons for two of our VCE students, Lucie Steckel and Harriet Vella.  The scholarships will allow Lucy and Harriet to undertake instrumental lessons in guitar and bass guitar, which will be a fantastic support to their current studies in VCE music.  We thank Rotary for their continued generosity.




Teaching and Learning Update

We have four new staff members joining us this term to support our teaching and learning program.  This week I would like to introduce you to Kimberley Herbert, who has joined us in the Art department. Kimberley joins ESC as an experienced art teacher with a passion for photography and an excitement to teach ceramics.

Welcome Ms Herbert!

I look forward to introducing you to further new staff members in our next newsletter.

New updates to Compass on the way

Following on from parent feedback, we have been investigating a more efficient way of letting families know when a student has not submitted an assessment task by the due date.  In the coming weeks we hope to be able to have automatic alerts built in to CAT/SAC learning assessment tasks for our students.  If a task is not submitted by the due date an alert in the form of a text message will be sent to the parent/carers phone to let them know.

We hope this new feature will be helpful to support our students in the timely submission and completion of assessments.

Progress Reports

The Term 2 round of progress reports will be published to the community this Friday afternoon.  At Emerald we have a continuous reporting and assessment cycle, where families can access compass and view a student’s progress on their learning tasks at any time.  We also have reports published every 6-7 weeks, either in the form of progress or Semester reports.  The progress reports allow teachers to provide feedback on a student’s progress on the 7 positive learning behavours as illustrated below.  Unfortunately, due to our extended staff shortages during Term 1 and the start of Term 2, there will be some classes that will not have progress reports completed during this progress report cycle.

With the unveiling of the new college values, we are undertaking a review of our current positive learning behaviours, to ensure that they are in line with the new values.  We will be seeking staff, student, and community feedback as we work through this process.  Watch this space.


Student Leadership, Voice and Agency

Even though it’s early in Term 2 our students are making an impression and doing great things in Student Leadership, Voice and Agency.  College Captains and College Ambassadors represented our College at Emerald RSL’s ANZAC Day services – both the Dawn Service and the march and morning Service.  Hayley, Caiti, Jackson and Ethan spoke very eloquently about the dedication and sacrifice of our Vietnam Veterans on this year, the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Service.  This is an excerpt from the speech our Captains wrote and delivered:

“[we] would like to acknowledge and appreciate the bravery and sacrifice of those Australian soldiers who fought for us in the Vietnam War.  Australia sent over 60,000 troops typically between the ages of 18 and 21 over to Vietnam between the years 1962 and 1975….These soldiers were almost the same age as the four of us standing in front of you this morning. Devastatingly, 521 Australian Soldiers lost their lives over the course of the war, and many more were left injured or with long-term impacts since they served.   Although facing confronting and very strenuous conditions these Australian soldiers continuously demonstrated extraordinary courage and bravery throughout the conflict.

 ….Today, we remember the courageous Australian soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War. We honour and pay our respects for their service and sacrifice, and we pledge to never forget the lessons that they taught us about courage, determination, and sacrifice.”

Jayden Regan, Ebony Ellis, Taesha Korsten, Lani Bach and Olivia Ellis also proudly represented the services as our College Ambassadors and laid wreaths on behalf of our College community.  Thank you to all our students – we are in turn so very proud of you.

Sharing our pride is Member of Parliament Daniela de Martino who has visited and supported our College several times already this year.  Daniela, in Parliament this week, will be congratulating the efforts of our College Captains Ethan, Jackson, Caiti and Hayley by name.  It is fantastic that our students are being recognised on such a platform.

Our Captains are very competently leading our own Student Parliament and this group meets this week to discuss school improvements for the betterment of a positive culture for our students, along with our House Leaders Lily, Sydney, Darcy and Kaylee, and Sub school Leaders Claire and Kai.  Our Student Representative Council – which is our open forum – has also met this term led by Keilah Dewar and assisted by Jayden, Ebony and Lacie-Joy.  Year Level Leaders and interested students discussed fundraising opportunities, ways to get students involved in lunchtime activities and collaborative community projects.  Daniel McAllister has been doing a terrific job as Communications Leader, connecting our two student leadership groups and publishing agendas and minutes.

ANZAC Day Assembly

Thank you to all staff , school captains, student leaders and students for their contributions to the ANZAC Day assembly. It was an important day to commemorate to remember the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women who lost their lives while serving Australia and its allies in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. Finally, a special thank you to Peter Maloney the President of the Emerald RSL for his speech while serving in Vietnam and what it means to him that we recognise all service men and women for the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Open Night

What an amazing night we had for our College ‘Open Night’ 2023!

The College was full with energy as students and parents made their way around the school discovering everything we have to offer at Emerald Secondary College. We had a huge turnout with over 150 guests from our community and we look forward seeing these students flourish at our College.

Thank you to all staff, student leaders and our community for making this night so special.

Uniform & Appearance

Emerald Secondary College is a uniform school.

The full list of Emerald Secondary College’s compulsory school uniform items are available at Appendix A to this policy.

General appearance

While at school, travelling to or from school or participating in school activities, Emerald Secondary College students must comply with the following:

  • Uniforms must be clean and in good repair
  • Additional layers of clothing may be worn underneath the uniform for added warmth, provided these undergarments are completely hidden.
  • No hoodies are to be worn.


Where a staff member has been made aware of a welfare issue in relation to uniform the student will be given borrowed items if available, and there will be support through State-School Relief. The student may be issued with a pass by the Learning engagement Leader for a set period of time.


Uniform – New Puffa Jacket

ESC’s new Puffer jacket is now ready for purchase at PSW. All sizes are available in store and online.

A new style uniform pant is also coming soon so keep your eyes peeled.

Emerald Secondary College School Tours –  Term 2

School tours run every Wednesday morning at 10.15am.

To book please click the link below.

Book a School Tour Here

Alternatively, please scan the QR code below:

We also offer School Tours for prospective Select Entry Accelerated Learning (SEAL) parents/students Wednesday at 11.30am. The tours are run by our SEAL Co-Ordinator, Tiana Clayworth. 

To book please click the link below.

Book a SEAL School Tour Here 

If you would like to request an alternate tour date, please contact reception on 5968 5388




Cross Country

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Cross Country 2023

It was a beautiful day for the cross country, all the Year 7’s and those who wanted to run in Year 8 – 12 ran a course around Chandler reserve and down the footpath.

The winning house was O’Neil only just out scoring Geysen, there were some amazing individual performances, and the top three place getters are listed below.

Well done to everyone involved!


12/13 Boys

Nate Hall

Jude Penketh

Ethan Thomas

12/13 Girls

Tia Mackenzie

Alice Mattille

Lucy Jones

14 Boys

Xavier Reining

Lincoln Smith

Tommy Riddell – Stephens

14 Girls

Jasmine Cochrane

Elizabeth Parer

Isabella Martin

15 Boys

Ziggy Ryan

Luca Scalora

Jack Anderson

15 Girls

Miah Beardshaw

Myra Incoll

16 Boys

Toby Storer

Kynan Bennett

16 Girls

Caitlyn Sampson

17 Boys

Seb Nash

Sterling Walker

Eric Huecherig

17 Girls

Lily Cochrane

Yvonne Mauger – Sports Co-Ordinator

Yr 11 RYDA Program

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Yr 11 RYDA Program

Road safety in our area is vitally important for our young people. We are striving to ensure that our students are educated about the risks involved with driving in the hills and give them tools to make wise driving choices.

At the end of Term 1 Year 11 students participated in the RYDA Driver Education Program.

This involved several sessions including ‘speeding and stopping’, ‘crash investigators’, ‘Drive S.O.S’ and ‘the ‘I’ in drive’ to name a few. These interactive sessions allowed students and staff to gain more knowledge about road safety and everyone found the Workshop to be both a worthwhile and valuable experience.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Emerald Rotary Club who helped facilitate the day and for their contributions prior to the day to ensure that the incursion was able to run.

Rebecca Holmes and Sean Reid – Yr 11 Learning Engagement Leaders     



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News in English


We would like to recognise one of our talented Year 11 English students, Harriet Vella.

Harriett submitted a foreshadowing story that she began in class to an Upper Beaconsfield writing competition and won! 

Congratulations Harriet, we are proud of you!

Have a read of the story below:


Bustling through the stained-glass door and hearing the familiar jovial ring of the doorbell behind me, my bags filled with clothes and toothbrushes and a pillow sticking half out of the unclosed zipper, I greeted the Lewis’. I heaved my bag to the ground, hearing it thud against the dark stained floorboards by the door. Pairs of shoes in all different sizes lined the wall messily. There were lines etched into the doorframe, with numbers written in blue and black pen up the height of the door. Lamps lit the rooms warmly, the corners projecting light to the middle of the kitchen where the table was set, plates and glasses and cutlery lined invitingly around the table. I’d been to the Lewis’ house many times, and this cutlery I had never seen before. It was fancy and well-polished, almost unused, contrary to the rest of the house which was well-lived in and had a sense of gentle familiarity seeping from every corner. There was a warm, homely smell drifting through the hallway. The Lewis’ house was comfortably lived in, complete with a whole novel of stories woven between the panels of peeling wallpaper and the uneven floorboards.

My eyes flitted around the room looking for the ecstatic wag of a golden curly tail, Bailey the family’s retriever. He must have been out in the yard, chewing playfully at their white picket fence. This inquisition must have been noticeable as Chloe’s mum hesitated, leaning towards Chloe’s younger brother Sam, grazing her gilded fingers across his shoulders maternally. She craned her head back towards the stairs, looking in the direction of Chloe’s dad.

“Mark,” she called, “Dinner!”

There was a muffled reply from upstairs. Moments later, footsteps travelled through the house and Mr Lewis bounded down the stairs, grinning widely. He stopped at the base of the stairs, faltered, and settled down at the kitchen table. Chloe and I took our seats beside each other, while Sam and Chloe’s parents positioned themselves around the rest of the table. Mrs Lewis got up suddenly, her expression unchanging and indiscernible. She opened the oven and pulled out a perfectly cooked roast surrounded by charred vegetables and garnished with sprigs of golden rosemary from their garden. My stomach growled with anticipation.

“This tastes amazing Mrs Lewis, is this lamb?” I asked, still savouring the mouthful of roast settled comfortably in my stomach. Mrs Lewis glanced to her husband and gave me a tentative smile.

“Sure is,” she said with a look I couldn’t quite place.

I felt a piece of gristle slide between my teeth. Picking it out shyly, I turned away to see if Bailey was patiently waiting for a scrap of my dinner. My glance was met with darkness under the tablecloth. I’d forgotten, Bailey was probably still outside.

After dinner, I retrieved my bag from the hallway, passing through the kitchen to get set up in Chloe’s room for our long-awaited movie marathon. As I hauled my bag to the stairs, my eye caught something shiny sitting on the kitchen bench. My stomach lurched, the evening’s roast doing cartwheels in my small intestine.

I leaned in, reading the word ‘Bailey’ engraved carefully on a bone-shaped piece of metal attached to a light blue collar.


Middle Years Health

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Egg Babies

Towards the end of Term 1, our “Health Matters” class undertook a task where they had to look after an Egg Baby as part of their unit on Pre-natal, Infancy and Childhood Development.

In an effort to experience some of the responsibilities and commitments that are involved in the care of babies and young children, students had to take care of their Egg Baby for 3 days, gaining an understanding of the adjustments and implications this can have on the lives of the parents.

Students also had to demonstrate how they could spend time promoting the Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Social development of their Egg Baby – which resulted in some fantastic images!

Students named their eggs (Egg Sheeran is still my favourite!) and created a safe “capsule” to transport them around.

It seems that locker areas, buses and aggressive peers were some of the greatest problems encountered, along with not being able to leave them alone and engage in their normal behaviours. Sadly, some of our eggs failed to survive this troublesome time.

On the other hand, play dates were fun, mother’s meetings were had, extended family members became attached, baby sitters were enlisted, and the creative ways students demonstrated dimensions of development were great!

Well done to all the students who took part, either enthusiastically or under sufferance, you did a great job.

Melissa Stephens – Health Matters Teacher


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Big Ideas in Art

The Middle Years ‘Big Ideas in Art’ class have been working hard completing some amazing Surrealist paintings. Inspired by artists such as Salvador Dali, students explored dreamlike and experimental subject matter in the creation of their works.

In addition to this, the class finished off Term 1 by visiting the ‘Melbourne Now’ exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. Students spent the day viewing and interacting with the work of numerous local contemporary artists.

Dale Fyfe – Art Teacher

VCE Students

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VCE Students: what to do if you have to isolate due to COVID-19

We have noticed that COVID-19 infections are on the rise. If you have to isolate it is imperative that you do the following:

  • Make a phone call to the Senior Sub-School office to notify us.
  • Take a photo of your positive RAT if you cannot get a medical certificate.
  • Email your teachers to let them know you will be away so they know to reschedule any SAC you might miss.
  • Where possible, follow the lesson plans on Compass and keep up to date with your coursework.

Jack Talbot – Senior Sub-School Leader 


Year 9

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Year 9 Camp

The Year 9 students have an exciting opportunity to attend Waratah Beach Camp in December this year. There is a planned day trip to Wilson’s Promontory as well as a bunch of high energy activities available on site. The camp will be a great opportunity for students to finish off the year in a positive way, and we hope to see as many attendees as possible. 

Important details below:

Where? Waratah Beach Camp with a day trip to Wilson’s Promontory

When? Wednesday 6th December – Friday 8th December (The last week of classes)

How much? $395 (You can be put on a payment plan if you want)

Deposit: $50 deposit by the 17th of May with consent forms signed and submitted

Literacy Support Volunteers Wanted

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Literacy Support Volunteer

The College is currently looking for volunteers who would be happy to work with our students to support them in their reading. These would be in weekly small group or 1:1 sessions. If you have the ability and time, it would be great to have more members of our community involved in our Learning Program. Please contact Sarah Deer – Literacy Learning Specialist via email if you are able to volunteer and/or have any questions.


[email protected]

Cognitive Study

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Opportunity to take part in a research study – 2 x free cognitive assessments for your child

Emerald Secondary College is participating in a new research study.  Qualified researchers will provide two free neuropsychological assessments to participating students.  Families will also receive a free report for each session. These reports will assist in better understanding how students think & learn and how their thinking skills develop.  More details below.

Tanja Korsten


Dear Parent/Guardian,

I am writing to let you know about a new research study being run by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, The Royal Children’s Hospital and The University of Melbourne. You and your child may be interested in taking part in this project.

You might also like to view The COGNITION Study Animated Video which provides a visual summary of what it means for you and your child to be involved in this research project. The video can be accessed via the following website:, or by scanning the following QR code:

What is this project about?

We are inviting you and your child take part in a research project called The COGNITION Study.

Cognition or cognitive development are words that we use to explain how you think, explore and figure things out. This can include tasks such as learning, memory and attention.

We will be using a cognitive assessment called the CANTAB to collect information about children’s cognition. The CANTAB stands for Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery, it is owned by a company overseas called Cambridge Cognition.

Children and adolescents will be invited to participate in a number of assessments on 2 occasions, 9-12 months apart. This will include assessments of cognition, problem solving, and academic achievement. Additionally, we are interested in collecting information on children and adolescents’ quality of life and behavioural and emotional symptoms from both students and parents.

The main aims of this research project are:

  • To have 1300 school aged children (5-18 years old) complete the CANTAB across Victorian schools. This will form what we call a ‘normative data set’ and this will allow us to compare cognitive performance of children and adolescents.
  • To create a chart which maps typically developing cognition based on age and gender. This is similar to charts which map weight and height as you get older. For example, it might tell us if children have normal or expected cognitive performance in comparison to other children their age and gender.
  • To understand the links between cognition and children’s level of problem solving and academic achievement. We also want to know the links between cognition and children’s feelings/emotions and behaviours and children’s overall level of health and happiness.

Why am I being asked?

You and your child are being invited to participate in this project because your school has agreed to participate in this research study.

What do I need to know?

The cognitive assessments, testing of problem solving, academic achievement, quality of life and behavioural and emotional symptoms will be administered by researchers at your child’s school over 1.5 hours (2 school periods). These assessments will be done on iPads provided by the research team.

What happens next?

If you and your child are interested in taking part in this research, please complete the bottom of this letter and either return it to the Emerald Secondary College front office (Att: Tanja Korsten), email to Tanja (Assistant Principal) via [email protected]  OR send it directly to the research team via [email protected]

If you indicate that you and your child are interested AND you provide permission to provide your contact details to the research team, a member of the research team will be in contact with you by phone to talk to you about the project. Your contact details will remain confidential, and the research team will only use them to contact you regarding this research.

We will discuss whether the research study is suitable for you and your child and provide further information about the research study in detail for you to read through via email.

Following this we will ask you and/or your child to formally provide consent to participate in the research study. We will also give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the research.

When consent has been provided, you and your child will be considered enrolled in The COGNITION Study and we will be in contact with your school to organise when the first assessments will occur.


Please email us at [email protected] with any of your questions. A member of our research team will get back to you.

You can also call the study coordinator Yasemin Mehmed on (03) 9936 6475.


Yours sincerely,

Prof David Coghill
Principal Investigator, The COGNITION Study
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Please click on the link below for a printable copy of the Permission to Contact form

Cognitive study Permission to Contact form

Please return this permission slip to the Emerald Secondary College front office (Att: Tanja Korsten), email to Tanja (Assistant Principal) via [email protected]  OR send it directly to the research team via [email protected]

Community News

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School Crossings

It is expected that School Crossing Supervisors will get to know the children and adults that use their crossing. Supervisors are discouraged from becoming too friendly as such behaviour can be misinterpreted as ‘favouritism’ towards individuals, and in some circumstances, may even lead to accusations of inappropriate behaviour. Cardinia Shire Council, in accordance with the Child Safety Standards, encourages supervisors to interact with the children, but any physical contact including High 5s and hugging and distribution of gifts such as lollies, toys or cards is not acceptable, under any circumstance.

Cardinia Shire Council













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