Implementing a Child Protection Curriculum: Lessons from a South Australian Trial

Professor Bruce Johnson


In 2004–5, the South Australian Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS) revised its child protection curriculum by producing new draft materials and having them trialled by teachers in a small number of schools. The trial was conducted to establish the quality of the draft curriculum and to identify the support processes used by schools to help teachers implement the new curriculum. The study confirmed that the curriculum materials were of good quality and generally helpful to teachers planning to teach child protection. It also revealed that school leaders and teachers used a range of sophisticated micropolitical strategies to address several key issues and dilemmas that emerged from the trial. These strategies included establishing the moral purpose of the child protection curriculum, reducing teacher isolation by building collaborative coalitions, integrating the curriculum with other school initiatives, and dealing with resistance to the curriculum. Knowledge gained from the study will inform other schools wishing to use the materials (launched this year as Keeping Safe (DECS, 2008)) to support the teaching of child protection strategies.



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