Attention: Parent Clubs in Government Schools
URGENT - Education Regulations changes affecting Parent Clubsand Parents Victoria Media StatementThe Department of Education released on 21 December 2016 the proposed Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 for public feedback by 28 February 2017 before the current 2007 Regulations sunset on 26 June 2017. Read here.There are proposed changes in regards to Parent Club financial arrangements and fundraising rules. PV is concerned on the potential ramifications of these proposed changes going forward.Irrespective of what you read in the Regulatory Impact Statement on DET's website or any media commentary, the current Regulations 2007 require all Parent Clubs (regardless if they are operating under a School Official Account (Option A) or a Separate Bank Account (Option B) to have their financial details recorded on DET's CASES21 system). Note the Principal must co-sign any payments from a separate account if the Club has one (Option B). Refer to the current version of the DET Finance Manual (Section 11, page 14):It has been evident to Parents Victoria (PV) and our Clubs for a number of years now that Principals and School Councils are not fully informed or trained in their roles and responsibilities pertaining to the rules associated with School Community Associations (Parent Clubs).PV has also been contacted over the last eighteen mths by various Schools and Clubs (operating as Option A) with operational concerns. These approaches have related to the frequency and timing of Financial Reporting to Clubs for meetings and the expenditure of raised funds by persons outside of the parent club and without school council permission.For any Parent Clubs/Associations confused about what the current rules are, please note nothing has changed. If your club wishes to be constituted as an Option B club, it still can.If you are making a submission to the consultation please feel comfortable in sending us a copy for our information.Note if you have further questions we welcome you to make contact by emailing the Parents Victoria Office - we reopen 16th January 2017.Parents Victoria also advises that some of the comments attributed to Gail McHardy, Executive Officer, Parents Victoria in the Herald Sun article (google link) on 3/1/17 "School fundraising: Money raised by parents subject to greater scrutiny under proposed overhaul" were horribly misrepresented. (See PV Media Statement below)Parents Victoria Media StatementThe following are Parents Victoria (PV) comments supplied to the Herald Sun 3 January 2017"Since early 1900s Parent Clubs have provided an organised avenue through which parents have contributed their time, labour and material resources to improve Victorian Government Schools. The current Education Regulations (2007) permits a Parent Club to raise funds for school-related purposes subject to approval by the school council.According to the latest Governmentt information there are approximately 540 parents' clubs in Victoria, which represent about one third of Victorian Government schools. Collectively, these clubs raised an estimated $7 million in 2015.PVs expectation as per the current Regulations (2007) and DETs own policy is that all Parent Clubs in fact have the right to decide how their raised funds are spent with the approval of school council.DET are looking to remove the Option B (Separate Bank Account) under the proposed amendments claiming it will remove risk and tighten financial oversight. Yet PV is aware of existing Clubs operating under Option A presently where the Principal expended funds without Parent Club knowledge, consent or School Council approval process. According to the current rules, it is clear that Option B does not allow Parent Clubs to raise or expend publicly raised funds without school council approval.PV already sees this matter dividing communities with a club recently informing Parents Victoria that they consider the Principal's/school's spending of locally raised funds without consultation, as theft. *Government/DET need to be acknowledging, valuing, thanking and assisting parents in this role. Schools stand to lose many dollars if Government makes it more difficult to operate and/or portrays that parent clubs are not to be trusted!The draft of the Education Regulations does nothing more to ensure compliance with process going forward. It removes an option which some parent clubs see as "their only protection" or mechanism to have a say in the spending of locally raised funds."* PV believes that with better training and communication there would be less cases of locally raised funds being spent without school council permission and parent club knowledge.
Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year
The Parents Victoria team wishes you a safe and happy holiday break
Our office will close from Thursday December 22 and will reopen on Monday January 16
Lets Work Together
Straight from Parents Victoria's conference, Thursday October 13 the PV Executive team attended the Australian Principal's Federation (APF) dinner for a very special launch.
Professor Bill Lucas, Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning and Professor of Learning at the University of Winchester and International Adviser, Mitchell Institute,launched the resource for Principals and parents called Let's Work Together - The Importance of Relationships.
As the resource explains:
"An engaged school community is the best marketing tool any school can have."
The resource contains ideas that have worked successfully in many different school communities and have sown the seeds for friendships and positive relationships within which such explosive events might never occur.
The APF and PV have contributed to this material and welcome further ideas at any time, so that this becomes a repository for best practice into the future.
We welcome feedback and look forward to future projects with the APF going forward.
Independent Panel for School Dispute Resolution
"Parents Victoria is pleased that, after 11 years of working towards an independent complaints mechanism, Victorian government school parents now have such a service available to them," said Gail McHardy, Parents Victoria Executive Officer.
Parent Engagement Conference
Melbourne Pullman Hotel - June 6 - 8 , 2017
"The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) and The Smith Family are proud to present the Parent Engagement Conference Australia, to be held on 6-8 June 2017 in Melbourne, Victoria.
Supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, the conference will bring research, policy and practice together to advance discussion about the importance of parent engagement to maximise every child’s learning potential. A key focus will be on ways to increase the effectiveness of parent engagement strategies through relationships, and through capacity building.
What is Parent Engagement?
Parent engagement involves all people in the life of a child or young person working together to create a stimulating and supportive environment for their learning and development.
For parents and families this means taking opportunities in the everyday interactions they have with their children to promote and support learning, and to connect learning at school, in the home and in the community. For schools it includes looking at ways to work in partnership with families, helping to build their capacity for effective parent engagement.
Why does it matter?
A large body of research supports the value of parent engagement from birth and throughout the school years. Parent engagement affects what children achieve, how they experience school, and assists in the transition to school and into post-secondary education.
Parent engagement has also been shown to reduce the impact of socio-economic disadvantage on educational outcomes. This means that families have an important role to play in helping their children to become confident and motivated learners, regardless of their occupation, education, or income."
'Parents as Partners' interactive seminar No. 1
Twilight Seminar series
Parents Victoria's Executive Officer, Gail McHardy, presented at Seminar Number 1 - "Parents as Partners"