Schedule 2017

Wednesday 30 August 2017



Registration Opens



Opening remarks from the Chairperson


Alena Titterton, Partner, Clyde & Co

9:00am   Advanced Employment Law for Schools

School leaders today need a solid understanding of workplace laws in order to mitigate the risks of managing staff performance. This session will provide an overview of the laws that apply to NSW school employees.

  • Best-practice guide to managing and disciplining poor performing teachers
  • Managing, disciplining and terminating ill and injured workers, including long-term absent teachers
  • Legal and effective discipline and dismissal processes for staff engaging in misconduct
  • Investigating workplace bullying allegations - what constitutes bullying, and how should you manage it?

 Mark Bastick, Executive Counsel, Harmers Workplace Lawyers

9:45am   Workplace health and safety risk management for schools

Balancing workplace health and safety risks alongside conflicting laws and insurance obligations is quite the juggling act. How should you assess and manage risks?

  • Balancing the conflicting obligations between the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Education Act 2013 when dealing with concerning student behaviour
  • What health and safety risks should look out for, and how can you avoid common pitfalls?
  • Can you be too cautious? Assessing new risks and responding appropriately

Lucy Bochenek, Special Counsel, Clyde & Co



Morning refreshment and networking break

11:00am   Applying family law to your school

State and Federal laws are often complicated by feuding parents. How should you manage these situations whilst remaining legally compliant?

  • State vs. Federal jurisdiction and family law: What do you need to know for New South Wales?
  • How to manage issues of consent when parents are separated, yet have no legal orders around child custody
  • Managing AVO situations and the implications for schools
  • Manage the information sharing and access rights for feuding parents
  • How does the separation process work, and what do different orders mean for schools?
  • Breaking down a court order into plain English - understand the "legalese"

Annabel Murray, Head of Family Law, Australian Family Lawyers

11:45am   Complying with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992

Educating and caring for students with disabilities is a vital part of daily school life - yet the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 can have different interpretations. Gain clarity with this important session:

  • An overview of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and clarification on grey areas
  • How do mental health issues apply to excursions – both day trips and overnight?
  • Ensuring staff-wide compliance to the DDA throughout your school
  • What factors should you consider in the wider context of disability?
  • Make sure your school enrolment policy complies with the DDA

Kellie Edwards, Barrister, Greenway Chambers



Networking lunch

1:30pm   Litigation in the education sector

Schools are often threatened with litigation from angry parents and staff, and have to tread a fine line ensuring compliance to various acts. In addition, they can find themselves in situations where they instead need to litigate.

  • What immediate steps should you take if you are threatened with legal action?
  • Examine the critical relationship between causation and liability
  • How do you defend your school and staff from threats of litigation whilst enforcing your policies and procedures?
  • What are your legal rights if you find your school - or your staff - being defamed online?
  • The litigation process from both a public and private school perspective

Abigail Tisbury, Special Counsel, Makinson d'Apice


Afternoon refreshment and networking break


Online bullying and the sexting problem


The astronomical rise of social media use amongst students has created a multitude of legal, moral and social issues for schools.

  • What are your legal responsibilities when bullying involves your pupils, yet takes place online?
  • When should sexting become a police issue, and how can you discipline underage students whilst remaining compliant to child pornography laws?
  • When does cyber bullying become criminal, and what are the legal consequences in cases of 'revenge porn', identity theft and threats of harm?
  • How can you effectively explain the law clearly to parents, staff and students, and ensure they know the consequences of misconduct?

Sara Delpopolo, Principal, Axis Legal

3:15pm   Managing staff relationships with students

In the age of online, it's easy for staff and students to forge relationships outside of school hours. How should you manage these relationships, set unmistakeable and enforceable boundaries with staff, and clearly identify misconduct?

  • Managing relationships between staff and pupils off campus - When does the school become vicariously liable?
  • Define what acceptable communication is, and when it should be labelled as misconduct
  • How to establish clear and legally enforceable communication boundaries between staff and students
  • When does a relationship become an abuse of power?
  • Legal steps for disciplining staff engaging in misconduct

Jacquie Seemann, Partner, Thomson Geer




Conference concludes



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