LawSense School Enrolment Workshop

Updating & Optimising Contracts, Declining Enrolment & Dealing With Challenging Scenarios

Date21 August 2024
Time10.00am-1.30pm AEST (Syd/Melb/Bris Time)
VenueLive Online with recording (recording access expires 21 September 2024)
Prices includes gst.
SectorNon-State Schools
CPDAddresses 7.2 of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.


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10.00    LawSense Welcome

10.05    Chairperson’s Introduction

10.10    Refusing Enrolment – Navigating Rights and Obligations and Managing Communications

  • Exploring the grounds upon which a school may wish to query or decline enrolment:
    • student behaviour record or incidents or school refusal in previous schools
    • student disability which is unable to be reasonably accommodated
    • other issues, including sex or gender, the religious/ideological basis of or operational limitations of the school
  • Examining best practice in assessing enrolment, including using enrolment panels

Sex / Gender

  • Navigating rights and obligations where the student is expressing a different gender to their sex on the birth certificate

Student Behaviour

  • Student behaviour record – ensuring you obtain all key information from parents and the student before forming a view
  • Examining key considerations in declining enrolment based on information you have about student behaviour

Student Disability

  • Student disability:
    • examining when and on what basis a school can decline enrolment
    • ensuring you have sought all the relevant information in order to make a defensible decision
    • declining enrolment where information has not been provided or where misleading information has been given

Incomplete Information or Failure to Provide Information

  • Exploring when you can decline enrolment for a failure to provide adequate or complete information at the time of application

Delayed or Conditional Enrolment

  • Exploring options to delay enrolment or make enrolment conditional

Defensible Documentation of Decisions

  • Documenting decisions to refuse enrolment to optimise legal defensibility

Jennifer Patterson, Partner, MinterEllison

11.10    Break

11.20    Updating Enrolment Contract Frameworks to Meet Legal Risks and Compliance and Optimise Effectiveness

  • Outlining key laws applying to enrolment contracts, including the Australian Consumer Law
  • Learning from notable cases
  • Identifying key contract clauses and documents to have in the current environment
  • Addressing particular challenges, including:
    • privacy and consent issues
    • inclusivity including sex/gender
    • information regarding student disability
    • separated families
    • student and parent behaviour
    • Consumer Law issues and fee recovery
    • other particular programs, including scholarships
  • Changing enrolment terms during the course of the student’s enrolment at the school
  • Managing pre-enrolment including:
    • the application form, what should be included and ensuring your collecting of data limits privacy breach risks and optimises privacy compliance
    • managing waitlists
  • Optimising communications with parents and students

Ben Tallboys, Principal, Russell Kennedy Lawyers; Legal Consultant to Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA)

12.20    Break

12.30    Case Studies: Relying on Enrolment Documentation in Challenging Scenarios, Including Student and Parent Behaviour, Expulsions, Withdrawals and Fee Recovery

  • Learnings from how schools have relied on enrolment documentation in particular circumstances and examining where schools have come unstuck. Areas include:
    • involvement of wellbeing staff, including student counselling
    • suspension of expulsions for student behaviour
    • withdrawing enrolment because of the conduct of parents
    • withdrawal of enrolment because of a failure of parents to provide key information
    • changing of fee structures or teaching arrangements
    • seeking fees relating to withdrawal of the student from school
  • Optimising communications with parents and advocates to ensure you can rely on enrolment terms and defend your legal position

Ben Tallboys, Principal, Russell Kennedy Lawyers; Legal Consultant to Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA)

1.25      Chairperson’s Conclusion

1.30      Event Close

Presenters / panelists include:

Jen Patterson has extensive experience as an industrial relations, employment and WHS law advisor. Jen has particular expertise advising schools. She has acted for the Association of Independent Schools in NSW for more than 20 years and sits on their Employee Relations Committee. Jen was the lead adviser to the AISNSW on industrial strategy for its member schools following the two most recent legislative reforms.
Ben Tallboys provides sector-specific, practical legal solutions to schools across Australia. Ben is a passionate and effective advocate for principals dealing with complex matters relating to parents, staff and students, as well as their own employment.

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