Introduction: Education and the law

Some areas of education law are more refined than others. This chapter aims to provide overview of the current education laws influencing the provision of education in Victoria.

Educational policies and practices are subject to a vast variety of Commonwealth and state legislation, delegated legislation and common law.

Some areas of educational law are more developed than others: the law has laid down clear guidelines in areas including supervision and care of pupils by schools, authority to use reasonable force to discipline pupils, duty of parents to send children of certain age to schools and employment of teachers. On the other hand, teachers’ duty to educate pupils and pupils’ rights to education, fair treatment, privacy, equal opportunity and due process are less clear.

This chapter aims to provide an overview of the law relating to teachers’ duty of care to pupils, discrimination, family law, copyright and privacy issues in school. For a general discussion, seeRights and duties at school”, in Young people’s rights and responsibilities.