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Research quoted in an article in today's Herald-Sun shows that there is a strong link between the socio-economic status of a school's community, and the NAPLAN scores of its students. The article points out that this effect crosses the public/private divide - government schools in affluent areas may out-perform expensive private schools. 

Parents Victoria Executive Officer Gail McHardy is quoted in the article. Gail said it was important all school sectors were funded on an equity basis.

“Those schools with students mainly from low SES backgrounds require much more funding, and many more resources, to bring their students to an equal playing field,” Ms McHardy said.

“If the NAPLAN results show this to the federal and state governments, then we must ask why the federal funding model is not reflective of that need for fairer distribution to our public schools.”

The Herald-Sun report draws on a research paper from the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education by Dr Jenny Chesters and Prof. Anne Daly, titled Family and school effects on educational achievement across the school career. The report makes for very interesting reading. Here's an excerpt from the conclusion: 

The persistence of inequality in levels of educational achievement and attainment associated with parents’ education suggests that Australian education systems are reproducing, rather than alleviating, social inequality.

 

The Education Department has developed two fact sheets for students and families to support the mental health and wellbeing of students during the school holidays. The fact sheets provide guidance on how to:

  • Support positive mental health and wellbeing of students
  • Identify signs students may need mental health support
  • Access available support.

The fact sheets are available in 19 languages.


 

The Herald-Sun published a report yesterday (22 June) about a Catholic primary school teacher who has had his registration cancelled and has been disqualified from teaching by the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT).

PV Executive Officer Gail McHardy is quoted in the article. Gail said the register was important to protect children.

“The royal commissions have taught us to do it better in the future. So it’s important their safety is paramount and the regulator is given the job to do what they have to do,” Ms McHardy said.


 

 

Our online survey brought in a wide range of views – as you might expect on this topic – but a few clear trends were evident.
Three-quarters of respondents agreed that both schools and families have a role to play in teaching sexuality and consent education. The remaining quarter expressed the view that sexuality and consent education is solely the parents’ responsibility.
The same divide was apparent in answers to the question, “Do you feel teachers need more quality training to support them with this curriculum?” Again, three-quarters answered Yes to this question.
The consensus was even clearer when answering the question “Would it help you as a parent to know what your child/children want to ask or find out?” 82% answered Yes, with some additional comments such as, “I think if parents know what their children are interested to know more about then it supports the discussion to be relevance focused and children view their parents as having listened and validated them.” And, “Yes, then the school could offer parents resources so we are equipped to expand on the areas at home.”
An overwhelming majority of respondents thought that consent and sexuality education needs to begin early, in pre-school or primary school. Many people pointed out that the issue of consent applies not just to sexuality but in many other areas of life as well, and that this fundamental idea can be introduced at a very young age, independent of any reference to sexuality.
When asked “What would help you the most with this topic?”, there were some interesting responses. Here are just a few:

  • Information sent home after lessons so parents have a brief summary of what was discussed if we want to go through it or continue the conversation with our kids.
  • I would like to know that all children have access to trained teachers able to provide them with universal, age appropriate, comprehensive, evidence based information about how their bodies work, how they can recognise predatory behaviour from adults & what they can do about protect themselves & their friends from problems.
  • What age appropriate responses are suitable. There is no point talking about biology with a 6 year old who can't grasp the technical terminology. It would help to know what answers can be shared with the child so that we aren't dismissive of the question because we haven't turned our mind to it or are caught off guard.

One final comment from a survey respondent really resonated with us here at Parents Victoria: “Everything is about developing really good relationships from the first day at school and continually through school years.”

 

Great news today re 'back to school' for Metro F-10 Students from Friday 11 June. Don't forget there's a DET hotline if you have questions your school is unable to answer.

Ask questions about COVID-19 and education settings by calling 1800 338 663.

Call 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays). If you need an interpreter, call 131 450 first.


 

Acting Premier James Merlino has announced significant changes to the Covid restrictions, to come into force midnight Thursday.

Among the changes: schools will return to on-site learning from Friday.

Mr Merlino is quoted in today's Age as saying, "All students will be back at school on Friday, in terms of the government system. There is no pupil-free day on Friday, students will be back at school."


 

This Statement sets out Parents Victoria's concerns about the Education and Training Reform Amendment (Protection of School Communities) Bill 2021, introduced into the Victorian Parliament on 4 May, The proposed legislation would give school Principals the power to ban parents from school grounds if their behaviour is regarded as “harmful, threatening or abusive”. See the announcement of the Bill from Education Minister James Merlino. 

We fully understand and appreciate concerns for the safety of all school staff. Threats of violence are unacceptable in schools, any time, anywhere, from anyone. 

However we have many questions and concerns about this proposed legislation, for example:

  • How is it determined what is “harmful, threatening or abusive” and what is not?
  • How will the relationships be set right once the order has expired?
  • Who will assist vulnerable families to have the difficult conversations with schools?
  • Why legislation specifically for schools? Other organisations, agencies and departments have to work with current laws to deal with conflict situations, e.g. trespass orders and intervention orders. If they are not working, then that's what needs to be strengthened for the protection of everyone.

We note that ‘Building Pride and Confidence in our School Communities’ is a target focus of the Education State. These punitive steps to provide powers via this Bill, are counter-productive, divisive and destructive to community cohesion.


 

The Education Department has sent an update on the Covid situation to schools. 

The update covers changes to the restrictios in rural and regional Victoria, and in Melbourne metropolitan schools. 


 

PV Executive Officer Gail McHardy was quoted in a Herald-Sun article today, titled Home schooling Melbourne lockdown: Parents guide to home teaching

Gail said she wanted to emphasise to all parents and carers in Lockdown 4 (which we she hopes is a very short stint) to do the best they can with what they can.

"Every household is different, no one's situation is exactly the same and there will be families under extreme stress, be it financial and emotional. Can't emphasise enough how important it is for the adults to be mindful in the presence of their children and young people.

"Parents were resourceful in the longer lockdowns and were extremely adaptive and PV can only ask all the families and the educators to keep going, but do take breaks as required.

"Remember students learn in many ways and reflect on the creative ways we all used in 2020 to change it up and maintain positivity.

"Maintaining optimism,sticking to routines as best you can, looking after yourself and asking for help will be key things to consider right now."

The Herald-Sun article is behind a paywall - you can read it if you have a subscription. 


 

A 7-day lockdown announced on 27 May means that schools will close for on-site learning. See the statement from Acting Premier James Merlino.


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