Recognised as a Sunday Dhamma School operated by the BSWA

The Sunday Dhamma School is operated by BSWA and under its control.

Key Responsibility

Overall responsibility for the Sunday Dhamma School is to be taken by a designated School Manager.

The School Manager is responsible for ensuring that there is a succession plan in place.

The Constitution has the Sunday Dhamma School reporting to the Volunteer Coordinator. It is proposed that this be changed, so that the Sunday Dhamma School reports directly to the Committee.

The Volunteer Coordinator will continue to be responsible for ensuring that the teachers have the relevant Working With Children checks and documentation.

Reports to the BSWA Committee

The Committee Agenda & Minutes shall include an item “Sunday Dhamma School”.

The Committee meets every two months.

The School Manager shall provide a brief report tabled to the Committee.

The report shall include:

  • A list of the names, phone number and email address, of all teachers.
  • A note of the number of children enrolled in each class.
  • A note of how many children are on the waiting list to join.
  • If appropriate, a note of any issues that are being addressed.


The stakeholders in the Sunday Dhamma School are:

  • BSWA
  • The BSWA Committee
  • Teachers
  • Children
  • Parents

Each stakeholder should take responsibility for their part in the smooth running of the School, should abide by dispute resolution processes, and should be aware of Occupational Health & Safety (“OHS”) issues.

Attendance at the Sunday Dhamma School is a privilege, not a right, and subject to the approval and arrangements of the teachers.

Occupational Health & Safety

All stakeholders have a responsibility to be aware of Occupational Health & Safety issues, and should take actions to minimise risks, particularly for children attending classes. The rooms should be cleared of any equipment or items that are potentially damaging to children or the risk that if misused could cause injury.

Any Occupational Health & Safety policies developed by BSWA should be understood and adhered to.

Operating Schedule

School hours are set by the regular teachers under the guidance of the School Manager, and subject to BSWA confirming the availability of the space at those times. In the event of disagreement or urgent decisions, the School Manager can set the operating schedule. Casual teachers (i.e. teachers present less than twice a month) may have input but do not vote on these issues. Regular staff (defined as those who are in attendance at least twice a month) will have the opportunity to vote on critical issues.

Currently classes are run on Sundays at 9 a.m. for one hour.

The School Manager may vary, cancel, close for holidays, or temporarily suspend classes at any time with appropriate notice to parents.

A non-refundable enrollment fee of $40 is payable upon enrollment. This fee assists with running costs such utility bills and building maintenance.

Any formal communication between the school and parents are to be approved by the School Manager. This ensures that parents are provided correct and consistent information.


Only current BSWA members are eligible to be considered for appointment as a Teacher.

Teachers are not employees of the BSWA, but are volunteers.

Teachers are appointed and removed by the School Manager, usually in consultation with the other teachers. The final decision rests with the School Manager.

Teachers have a responsibility to be aware of Occupational Health & Safety issues and to manage their class to minimise OHS risks.

Teachers will normally make the day-to-day decisions about their own class, how to operate the class, the subject material, and who is to attend.

The School Manager determines the composition of students in all classes. This depends on the maturity and knowledge of the student and is decided on case-to-case basis. There are general age guidelines but they are flexible. If a teacher believes that a student is unsuitable for his or her class, they must consult with the School Manager before action is taken. The School Manager has overriding authority to decide on these matters.

The teachers may or may not have formal training as teachers. They are regarded as volunteers and should only take on teaching tasks, and children, for which they personally feel capable of managing.

Willing teachers should have a clear understanding of their own capabilities and class-level they intend to teach. If the School Manager finds that a teacher is not delivering acceptable standards of Dhamma lessons, the School Manager has the right to dismiss him / her accordingly.

Where a teacher considers that a particular child presents issues beyond their ability to help or teach, they should follow procedures to review the progress of that child and whether that child should continue attending.

The teachers are generally not trained to deal with children with specific problems, such as health issues, attention deficit disorder, overactivity, high or low intelligence. In such cases, teachers should be aware of their responsibility to advise a referral to other medical or school or special needs expertise.

Teachers should become familiar with the parents of children, to ensure that a child is not collected by a stranger. In the event of a stranger collecting a child (e.g. a friend or relative) that person should be asked for identification, and the parent should be phone to confirm that the person is a proper person to collect the child.

Where a teacher becomes aware of an issue or problem with a child, the teacher should not delay dealing with it, but should take prompt action so that issues do not grow.

The teachers should respect that privacy of parents and the right of parents to be advised directly of issues of concern.


The School is intended to provide schooling in Buddhist teachings and ways, as appropriate to the age of the child.

Classes will be conducted in the English language. Reasonable and appropriate proficiency in English is a pre-requirement for attendance.

The age is only a rough indicator of the child’s ability to learn and participate in classes. Therefore, age should not be utilised as the sole determinant of where a student is placed. The placement of the child is also dependent o the information provided by the parents and the initial enrolment interview. Each student is assessed individually and allocated to a class based on all the information gathered.

It caters for children with a normal range of behaviours and learning abilities.

Where a child has particular issues or difficulties outside the typical range, the School may follow procedures to decide whether that child should continue attending.

Each new student will be subject to a three-month probationary period. During this period, the cooperation of the student (if at all) will be assessed. A student’s place will be withdrawn if the School Manager deems that his or her behaviour disadvantages other classmates or threatens the learning environment (i.e. physical aggressiveness, hyperactive tendencies) or their attendance record or any other matter is not satisfactory. The form teacher will raise this issue with the School Manager and together, they will determine the best course of action.


Parents have the prime responsibility to their children , and attendance at Sunday Dhamma School is not a replacement for parental responsibility.

Parents must fill in a application form for their child to attend school, giving inter alia, personal address, phone and email contact details. Parents should updated these details when they change.

While a child is in school, parents should remain in site, or ensure that they can be contacted by mobile phone, in the event of any emergency.

Parents should promptly attend the completion of classes to pick up their children. Where a child has some issue or difficulty, the teachers will discuss this. Parents should agree to a reasonable meeting time to discuss.

Where a teacher or teachers wish to meet with parents to discuss issues , the parent will agree to a meeting at a convenient time for all. Failure by the parent to attend meetings or otherwise cooperate with the school may be grounds for the summary removal of a child from the school.

In the event that decisions are made regarding a child, such as changing class, removing from class, the parents should accept the decision or advice as provided in a helpful spirit.

It is not the duty of teachers to make up for shortfalls in the parenting habits of parents, but they may communicate on such issues with parents as required.

Where a problem arises with a child, parents have the right to be contacted directly by the teachers concerned. Their privacy is respected by not communicating issues with others, unless circumstances indicate that others are involved that need informing.


The privacy of parents and children shall be respected. Contact details will be kept confidential to the school or given out to third parties only as properly required. Discussions with parents over child attendees are not to be discussed with anyone outside of the volunteer staff, President and Spiritual Directors without proper cause. Children and parents should not be photographed without consent.


Decisions concerning the School and its operation , attendees and issue resolving, are to be made by the teachers collectively, being as many regular teachers as may be available for a meeting, led by the School Manager. Decisions should preferably be made with the approval of a substantial majority of teachers.

In a situation where a substantial majority of teachers cannot agree on an issue, the School Manager may decide on an issue.

Apart from the appeals process, BSWA will not normally interfere with school decisions.

Appeal Process

BSWA will not normally interfere with school decisions.

However, if a situation arises where a party wishes to appeal a decision of the teachers, the process will be:

  • In the first instance, to put the nature of the appeal to the President of BSWA.

A note of the circumstances must be made in writing, preferably by email to the President. If the President agrees to meet and discuss, then such meeting will be arranged at a convenient time.

The President may choose not to change the decision of the teachers. If the President choose to change the decision of the teachers, then the teachers shall accept that decision.

  • In the second instance, after a Presidential decision, a further appeal may be made to Ajahn Brahm or another monk or nun as appropriate, as spiritual director.

Such appeals should be regarded as rare.

A note of the circumstances must be made in writing, preferably by email to the President. If the President agrees to meet and discuss, then such meeting will be arranged at a convenient time.

The spiritual director may choose not to change the decision of the teachers. If the spiritual director chooses to change the decision of the teachers, then the teachers shall accept that decision.

Managing issues with child attendees

Management of children and their parents shall be as follows:

A decision to allow a child to join the school, or change classes, shall be made by the school manager. The school manager is responsible for determining the class size and student composition of every class.

After having attended school for no more than 3 months, a parent / school manager meeting shall be held, advising the parent of the child’s progress and issues.

The School Manager may specify that periodic parent-teacher interviews be held at intervals to be nominated by the School Manager. In any event, an annual review of progress will be arranged as a parent-teacher interview. In such an instance, it is the School Manager’s responsibility to nominate an appropriate time period for interviews. Annual interviews will preferably be held before the rains retreat.

Managing difficulties with children:

Where a difficulty is perceived with a child, the following procedure also referred to as the “dispute resolution procedure” will be followed:

  1. The privacy of parents should be respected and issues should be raised directly with the teachers, not with other persons, unless such persons are directly involved in some way.
  2. A teacher should not delay dealing with an issue, as delay can exacerbate a problem that may otherwise be dealt with.
  3. The teacher involved shall discuss the issue in a meeting with other regular teachers and the School Manager, with as many teacher as can be available for the meeting.
  4. If the matter is considered one that should be raised with parents, then a meeting should be arranged promptly, to explain the issue to parents, and to provide suggestions for outside help if appropriate.
  5. The teachers may decide to hold further meeting with the parents concerned, at times, to review progress, if any.
  6. If a point is reached where a child needs to be excluded from school attendance, then a meeting shall be arranged promptly with the parents, to inform them of the decision.

If this procedure is followed, and a child needs a removing from the school, then by the time the decision is made, it should not come as a surprise to the parents who will be aware of the problems.

Such decisions will be made by the teachers, and BSWA will not normally interfere in such decisions unless exceptional circumstances apply.

Managing applications to join the Sunday Dhamma School

Children enrolled in the Sunday Dhamma School and their parents are not required to be BSWA members. BSWA members’ children however now have priority on the waiting list and will be offered vacant positions first.

A list of applicants for the School shall be maintained.

The parents shall fill in an Application Form.

The School Manager shall decide who may attend the school.

Applications confer no right to attend the school, not any order of preference. E.g. applications do not necessarily need accepting in date order or nay other order. The School Manager may make decisions on which children to accept.

Application Form

The Application Form must comply with the procedures outlined herein.

Motion to accept the Policy was concluded by the BSWA committee on the 2nd March 2014