It is evident that there are many day to day activities within the school community that teachers can face when it comes to caring for students. The Duty of Care for Students policy from the Western Australian Department of Education describes many ways in which teachers should direct their duty of care to students. This report will discuss how teachers and other members of teaching staff should direct their duty of care to students as stated within the duty of care policy in context of a primary school. (The Department of Education and Training in Western Australia, 2007)
The three scenarios in this report will highlight the need for the Duty of Care for Students policy and how it can be used in relation to caring for students. The three scenarios are as listed below.
1. Students arriving to school earlier than teachers.
2. Students on school grounds after close of school.
3. Students leaving the school grounds during school hours.
1. The policy
The Western Australian School Education Act 1999 has a main objective, which is to confirm that there is a compulsory education period for children, and that it is compulsory for children to be enrolled in an education programme by their parents/caregivers. These objectives and be found and section 6 and 9 of the act (The Department of Education Services In Western Australia, 1999)
With this act in place, it is obvious that government departments need to put guidelines in place to ensure that all students are safe and their welfare is protected while they are not in the care of their parents/caregivers. The duty of care policy was created for this reason, to guide teachers and school staff on how to protect students from harm and foreseeable injuries that could occur while students are active in the school community.
A main issue that the duty of care policy covers is, the duty of care owed to a student from the teacher. Section 5.2 of the policy quotes “The duty of care owed by a member of the teaching staff to a student automatically arises out of the teacher-student relationship. Such relationship will exist whenever and where ever a student is involved in a school activity or a student is present for the purpose of a school activity.” (DETWA, 2007, p.7)
Duty of care existing between a teacher and their students is well recognized in case law and is demonstrated by the judgment of Justice Stephen of the High Court in Geyer v Downs & Anor  (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1977/64.html) when he said:
“Children stand in need of care and supervision and this their parents cannot effectively provide when their children are attending school; instead it is those then in charge of them, their teachers, who must provide it.”
A clear example of duty of care being owed to a student could be, if a teacher saw that two 9 year old students where having a physical fight in the playground, it would be the obligation of the teacher to intervene...