Edmund Rice Education Australia Touchstones
Our community is accepting and welcoming, fostering right relationships
and committed to the common good.
St Edward’s College is committed to ensuring that we establish a safe and welcoming environment for the young men in our care. We aim to develop respectful relationships within a culture wherein protecting children and young people from harm, and the promotion of child safety, participation, empowerment and wellbeing, is embedded in the everyday thinking and practice of all our staff. This commitment is unwavering, and policies, procedures and practices have been established and staff training conducted to support and ensure this culture permeates the work that we do.
The concerning developments at St Kevin’s College in Victoria, which have been reported in the media over the last two weeks, tears at the heart of all staff in Edmund Rice Education (EREA) schools. The events reported in the Four Corners program and various media outlets throughout the country concerning St Kevin’s are diametrically opposed to the core values that we maintain as a community of schools in safeguarding young people. EREA has developed a Child Safeguarding Standards Framework (the EREA Child Safeguarding Standards) to enhance the way that each EREA school creates and maintains a child safe environment. The EREA Child Safeguarding Standards Framework is the overarching aspirational document that ensures our ongoing commitment to embedding a culture of child safety and wellbeing by demonstrating values in practice throughout the whole of EREA.
The Standards are designed to consciously and systemically:
- promote an environment where children and young people’s safety and wellbeing are the centre of thought, values and actions
- place emphasis on genuine engagement with and valuing of children and young people
- create conditions that reduce the likelihood of harm to children and young people
- facilitates circumstances that increase the likelihood of identifying harm
- respond appropriately to any concerns, disclosures, allegations or suspicions of harm.
The Standards are consistent with the essential principles that govern the approach to child safety in all EREA schools. The Gospel imperatives of truth, justice, compassion, liberty and reconciliation underpin the Standards as does the Charter for Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the staff, students and community of St Kevin’s as they work through a process of healing and community building in response to the events that have occurred. Executive Director of EREA Dr Wayne Tinsey and the EREA Board and Council are working alongside staff and students, supporting them in moving forward. A recent letter from Dr Tinsey to all EREA communities in response to the events at St Kevin’s can be accessed through the link below. Information regarding EREA’s commitment to the Safeguarding of Children and the Child Safeguarding Standards Framework can also be accessed by clicking on the accompanying image.
Season of Lent
On Wednesday February 26, we celebrated the beginning of the season of Lent with an Ash Wednesday Liturgy. Ash Wednesday is one of the most important Holy days in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday takes place forty-six days before Easter Sunday, and opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer.
The concept of fasting promotes the notion of giving up something throughout the Lenten period. A focus of our Ash Wednesday Liturgy was to challenge members of our community to give up some of their time to help others. Students were encouraged to make a concerted effort to complete some of their Waterford hours, to give up some of their time and reconnect with their parish, to devote some time to pray for those that are disadvantaged, in need and at the margins of our society. In keeping with the Catholic tradition of fasting, no meat products will be available for purchase in the canteen each Friday, throughout the Lenten period.
We will conclude the season of Lent with our Easter Liturgy on Thursday April 9. This Liturgy is held in conjunction with the students from St Joseph’s College and traditionally incorporates a powerful performance of the Stations of the Cross, by students from both Colleges. Parents are invited to attend this ceremony and further details will be made available in the lead up to this event.