Last updated 23 November 2016
A state school principal may develop a dress code for the school’s students when attending or representing the school (s 360 Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld) (Education Act)). The Department of Education and Training may also develop guidelines for a state school’s dress code (s 361 Education Act).
Noncompliance with the dress code cannot be a ground to suspend, exclude or cancel a student’s enrolment.
The Department of Education and Training’s policy Temporary Removal of Student Property by School Staff notes that ‘… school staff can search school property such as lockers or desks being used by a student without the student’s consent …’.
Generally no-one can search or deal with a student’s own property, such as their school bag, unless the student or their parents have consented to this. For example, a staff member who takes a mobile phone from a student may not unlock the phone or read, copy or delete messages stored on it.
There may be emergency circumstances where it is necessary to search a student’s property without consent (e.g. to access an EpiPen for an anaphylactic emergency, or other situations where the life or welfare of students is at immediate risk).
The policy provides that a staff member of a state school (which means anyone employed at the school) can take an item away from a student temporarily if they are reasonably satisfied this is necessary to:
- preserve the caring, safe, supportive and productive learning environment of the school
- maintain and foster mutual respect among staff and students at the school
- encourage all students attending the school to take responsibility for their own behaviour and the consequences of their actions
- provide for the effective administration of matters about the students of the school.
The policy advises that the principal should retain the property for handing to police if:
- it is illegal to possess the item
- it is likely to threaten the safety or wellbeing of students or staff
- there is a reasonable suspicion is has been used to commit a crime.
Otherwise, it requires that property must be available for collection by the student or their parent within a reasonable time.
If there is reason to believe the property does not belong to the student, the school must make reasonable efforts to identify the owner.
Staff are advised to take reasonable care to ensure that the property is returned in the same condition as when it was taken.
A teacher at a state school may require a student of the school to complete homework. The school’s principal decides what is a reasonable amount of homework for a student at each year level. In deciding what is reasonable, the principal must have regard to any homework policy they have developed for the school under s 427(2)(f) of the Education Act.
The Department of Education and Training’s Homework—in State Schools notes that homework should be relevant to class work, year level, learning needs and skills development, and effective in supporting learning. The amount of homework should allow sufficient time for family, recreation, and community and cultural activities and not disadvantage students with a lack of access to resources such as computers and the internet outside school.
Schools may include a reference to obligations concerning homework in their responsible behaviour plan.
Religious leaders, who wish to provide religious instruction to students of their faith group, can apply to a state school principal in writing to establish a single faith group or collaborative arrangement with more than one faith group working together (s 76 Education Act).
Queensland state schools make up to one hour per week available for the provision of religious instruction to students (except prep students) who are members of a faith group that has approval to deliver religious instruction at the school.
Where the parents have nominated a religion on their child’s application for enrolment form, and the school has that religion as part of its religious instruction program, the child will be sent to that class. If the parent puts ‘no religion’, ‘no religion nominated’ or a response that is not represented within the school’s religious instruction program, the child will receive other instruction in a separate location during the period arranged for religious instruction.
Parents may withdraw their child from all religious instruction by notifying the principal in writing at any time.