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."
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Getting things done
The following chart describes the different roles and types of behaviour that can help a group achieve its short or long term goals. Group members should perform these functions as they are needed.
A petition is a demonstration that the aims of your campaign are supported by a substantial number of people. Petitions provide an effective way of getting support from the wider school community. However, they are seldom effective on their own and should only be used together with other methods in a campaign. Deciding to use a petition will depend on the particular situation.
The general form of a petition is as follows:
- Description of the person or organisation you are petitioning ("To Mr X, Principal of Jonesville School").
- A description of your group that is accurate and covers everyone ("We, the parents and citizens associated with Jonesville School...").
- A short statement of the situation ("Are appalled at the dilapidated and dangerous state of repair of the school buildings.").
- A statement of what you want done about it ("We request the Department of Education to arrange for immediate maintenance and refurbishing work to be carried out."). This is the crucial part and must be absolutely clear so people have no doubt about what they are signing. Your demands should be as succinct as possible.
- Columns headed:
Name Address Signature
This makes it easy to count how many signatures you have.
Each sheet should have the statements 1 - 5 at the top. You should not attach lists of signatures to one statement as it is no proof that the signatures support that particular petition.
Organising the petition:
The face to face approach is the most effective, so don’t forget to use public places such as pubs, workplaces, shopping centres and outside the school when parents drop off and pick up kids. Always check for duplicate signatures and joke signatures that can discredit or invalidate your petition. People tend not to like being the first to sign so show them other completed pages when starting new sheets. Don’t forget to tell people what happens to the petition when all the signatures are collected (e.g. “We will be sending the petition to the Minister for Education.”).
Online petitions are convenient and offer the opportunity to gather support with far less leg-work. Opinions differ about whether they are effective, but the same might be said of any type of petition. There are many online petition sites, for example Change.org and Petition Online.
Petitions to Parliament:
There are strict rules to follow if you want to present a petition to Parliament and slightly different forms for Federal and State Levels. They have to be presented by a member of parliament so it’s important that you get local member support as members are not compelled to present a petition that you simply send to them. Appropriate forms are available from your local member of parliament’s office.