Why have I been asked to attend a conciliation conference?
You have been asked to attend a conciliation conference because your child or a child you are responsible for has not been attending school regularly, and we want to see if we can find out why and help you to assist that child to improve attendance.
Who else will be at the conference?
A representative or a number of representatives from the child’s school such as the Principal, a teacher or a social worker. You and any other parent or guardian of the child. Possibly a doctor, psychologist, police officer, youth worker, support worker or other helpful specialist person.
What happens at a conciliation conference?
A conciliation conference is run by an experienced and independent conciliator. The conciliator will run through the concerns about the child’s non-attendance at school and you will then be given an opportunity to raise any issues you may have that might help to explain the child’s non-attendance. The school representatives will then also be given an opportunity to rise any issues or concerns they have. The conciliator may then take each of you into separate rooms and talk through your issues privately with a view to seeing if agreement can be reached.
Is what happens confidential?
Yes, proceedings at a conciliation conference are to be kept confidential. The only people that can know what happens are the Registrar and the Principal Officer Non-attendance.
Will a decision be made?
Possibly. If you can come to an agreement between all of you as to the best strategies to help the child return to full attendance at school, then that agreement will be recorded and you will all sign it. If an agreement can’t be made then the conciliator will record that and you will all sign that too.
What happens to the signed document?
The conciliator is required to report to the Registrar, Education on the outcome of the conciliation. If there has been an agreement reached the Registrar may make a formal Requirement that the parties do those things they agreed to do. If there is not an agreement reached, then the Registrar will consider the conciliator’s report and make a determination based on the report and what happened in the conciliation and make a formal Requirement.
What is a Requirement?
A Requirement is a formal order of the Registrar which parties to the conciliation who are named in the Requirement must comply with. If a Requirement of the Registrar is not complied with then the Registrar may decide to refer the matter to the Principal Officer Non-attendance for a Compulsory Schooling Order to be made.
What is a Compulsory Schooling Order (CSO)?
A CSO is an Order requiring the child to attend school. It is made by the Principal Officer, Non-attendance. A CSO is made where there is no good reason for the continued Non-attendance of the child.
Who is the Principal Officer Non-attendance?
The Principal Officer Non-attendance is a senior officer who is independent of the conciliation process and the Registrar. The Principal Officer Non-attendance has skills and experience in the law, education, procedural fairness and policy.
Do Requirements or CSOs end up on a record like a criminal record?
No, this information is kept only in the Registrar’s office.
What happens if a CSO isn’t complied with?
Failure to comply with a CSO is an offence under the Act. It may be preferred to the Magistrates Court and a charge may issue. This could result in a criminal record and a fine or community service order.