Schools and the law

Schools and the law

Any school leader can tell you that their job entails an enormous load of responsibility.

Duty of care, privacy requirements, caregiver consent, and health and safety issues comprise common conversation topics for those managing schools and their staff. Much as these make up the ‘bread and butter’ of running a school, they also present significant legal risks.

As a principal, have you considered – and do you fully understand – your legal obligations?

Identifying and preparing for key legal risks that may impact upon the running of their school are crucial processes for every school leadership team. From understanding a school’s duty of care, discrimination against principals, and managing social media and photo/video consents, to stress-related claims, employment law, workplace health and safety, and family engagement, every school principal should know how to manage these situations.

Principals Australia Institute (PAI) recognises the necessity of relevant legal advice for school leaders - provided proactively, rather than reactively in a crisis situation - for the benefit of the leaders themselves, as well as their teams and school communities.

“By offering the Schools and the Law seminar series, we’re aiming to prepare principals and their leadership teams so that they can deal with such issues, if the need arises,” says Paul Geyer, Chief Executive Officer of Principals Australia Institute. “In today’s increasingly litigious society, it’s one way we can help you feel confident and informed.”

Schools and the Law is being delivered in partnership with Wallmans Lawyers, a respected law firm with extensive knowledge of key industry sectors. Each event will take the form of a two-hour seminar led by a nationally recognised legal expert, themed around a topic of high relevance to school leaders.

The first topic for Schools and the Law in 2018 is ‘Managing employee contracts and claims’, and will cover such issues as preparing and drafting employment contracts; relevant considerations including industrial awards, policies and procedures; part-time and relief staff; performance management; managing staff who are ill or injured, or have extended absence from work; and contract termination.

Other topics offered this year include bullying and discrimination claims against principals; managing staff; preventing and managing stress-related claims; duty of care and management of violent or problematic students; managing difficult or hostile parents; and social media in the school context.

Wallmans Lawyers’ presenters for Schools and the Law are Chris Wellington and Michael Kay. Chris is a Special Counsel, Risk Management and Dispute Resolution. He is a highly experienced litigator with a significant client base in the education sector, providing advice and training to teachers on a range of professional and legal issues, as well as to the University of South Australia.

Michael Kay heads Wallmans Lawyers’ specialist workplace relations, employment and safety practice, providing clients with day-to-day advice in relation to all aspects of workplace relations and employment management. He has presented at the Law for Schools Legalwise Seminar, where he discussed employment contracts in the education sector. Both Michael and Chris have had their expertise recognised in the prestigious Best Lawyers Australia list, as well as Doyle’s Guide.

Schools and the Law seminars are being offered in Sydney, Hobart, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide this term. You can check the Events Calendar at to find the scheduled date for your location.

For more information or to register for Schools and the Law, please contact Principals Australia Institute on 08 8394 2100, or email [email protected]


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