The AEU ACT commends the ACT Government for announcing that it will fully fund the Safe Schools Program in the ACT, and that it will not restrict the program’s accessibility. The announcement by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Minister for Education Shane Rattenbury acknowledges that the Safe Schools Program is vital in helping schools reduce bullying and support our LGBTI students.
The Safe Schools program was started in 2014 and has been used in schools across Australia without incident to educate students about sexuality and create a safe and more inclusive environment for all students. In Canberra, the program is delivered by Sexual Health and Family Planning (SHFP) ACT.
AEU ACT Branch Secretary Glenn Fowler said that the ACT Government’s funding of Safe Schools is essential to ensuring a safe and inclusive environment for all students.
“Educators across Australia have gained important resources through Safe Schools. The program provides professional learning for teachers and school staff ranging from general information to in-depth training adapted to suit the needs of the school. It also provides advice to school leaders and staff on making school policies and school environments that are more inclusive.”
“Safe Schools delivers practical support for educators to help navigate complex issues, which may be new to a school or where there may not be school-based expertise. For instance, the program can help support schools in hosting inclusive school formals, support a student to affirm or transition their gender identity, and speak to groups of students about diversity and inclusion.”
“Once again, Canberra’s public schools have led the way in ensuring a safe schooling environment for our LGBTI students. According to the Safe Schools Coalition website, so far, no non-Government school in the ACT has opted to become a Safe Schools Coalition member. This should be cause for serious reflection within that sector.”
“It is unfortunate that the ACT Government must fill the breach caused by an ideological, far-right attack on the program by some extreme elements of Malcolm Turnbull’s Government. Rather than using this program as a political football, we must always put the welfare of our students first.”