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Are you supporting a young person living with disability, chronic illness or a mental health condition who is about to transition out of secondary education into tertiary education?

Do you want to learn about the different pathways into tertiary education available?

Hear directly from University and TAFE staff, NDCOs, and other industry experts to help you develop your knowledge and skills to support a smoother transition into tertiary education for your young person with disability.

 

Education Minister James Merlino has announced a $10.4 million funding package for much-needed maintenance to 230 Victorian schools. 

The funding will be used for a range of maintenance work such as plumbing, painting, resurfacing floors and replacing windows, as well as external landscaping works including pathways and lighting.


 

Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge recently commented that "the school funding wars are over."

According to this article in The Guardian, "The reality of his strange declaration of victory is seven-and-a-half-years of neglect." The article details how public schools have been denied billions of needed funding over four years as the federal Coalition government systematically entrenched the underfunding of public schools.


 

The Age reported today that Victorian state school families spent more than $400 million last year in “parent payments” on education essentials. This is equal to $619 in parental payments per child every year. The article also points out that schools in socio-econonically advantaged areas are able to collect much more in parent payments than those in disadvantaged areas. 

PV Executive Officer Gail McHardy is quoted in the article. Gail said, “It shouldn’t be about their capacity to pay. It should be about how they can give children a quality education to meet their potential, without that pressure of having capacity to pay.”

Gail also commented on the time and effort school leaders put into fundraising for educational basics. “They have got enough to do: their priority is to teach our kids," she said.  

 


 

PV likes to share stories about other government schools with our readers.  It could be a good news story, a program or event recently conducted at the school, student success or achievement stories - feel free to send them through to the PV office email address.  We welcome your stories.
The following article was submitted to us by Bundoora Secondary College. 

Bundoora Secondary College – the future of schooling

Bundoora Secondary College (BSC) is unique and offers a specialised approach to learning providing each student an opportunity to follow their own passions and interests. The student-centred philosophy allows students to take agency of their own learning, develop deep understanding of course content, cultivate a range of interests and skills, and achieve across various contexts.

BSC informs and transform young adults to be better prepared for the jobs of tomorrow by designing programs that enable students to develop essential skills, capabilities and mindsets for jobs that don't even exist yet.

Academic progress is separated from the traditional age-based model, and every student from years 8 to 10 at BSC is in a vertical mixed-age cohort. This flexible vertical structure, known as the PACE years, allows students the freedom to choose from a wide range of subjects according to their interests, ambition, and preferred pathway. They are not restricted by studying subjects from the set menu of traditional year levels. This model is based on the successful work of Templestowe College, and together with the Big Picture Academy, make BSC standout from other secondary schools by providing flexibility and true individualised learning opportunities to their students. BSC has built partnerships with many universities and leads the way with non-ATAR pathways for university entrance.

With an intake of less than 50% from the local catchment area it shows how many parents are looking for a different educational model than the traditional one offered by most secondary schools.

BSC has a very active parent community, and through the P&F Club, we work hard to create a school environment that compliments the wonderful educational model. Over the past 18 months the parents have worked tirelessly with the school to complete many projects such as revamping the canteen outdoor space as designed by the students, replanting the remaining outdoor space and purchasing outdoor table tennis tables for students as well as making bean bags for the classrooms, and even sewing and donating masks in those crazy early COVID days. Unfortunately, BSC has received very little government funding over the last few years and is at the moment needing a lot of TLC. The P&F Club knows this, and in conjunction with the inspirational Principal, we have developed a ‘wishlist’ of projects to update the school and are working through completing these.

Late in 2020, the State Government announced a number of grants. BSC missed out yet again, and together with the Principal, the P&F has played an enormous role in progressing discussions with the local State MP to ensure our blight is known about and highlight our desperate need.

2021 is looking to be an amazing year for BSC, and we as the P&F, are delighted to be work with the school to achieve its goal of shaping future citizens of the world who are highly skilled, competent, and responsible.

 

A recent article in the Herald-Sun is a timely reminder of schools' and parents' responsibility to keep children safe on play equipment. 

According to the article, more than 1,000 primary school students injure themselves in the schoolyard each year, with monkey-bars and climbing frames causing 70 per cent of injuries.

PV Executive Officer Gail McHardy is quoted in the article. Gail said everyone had a responsibility to keep children safe. “Parents need to familiarise their children where possible to play safe on equipment at home, before and after school,” she said.

 

The Herald-Sun reports today that students returning to school this week have been told to carry a mask at all times, but they will only be “recommended” when in class.

According to the article, Education Minister James Merlino on Thursday confirmed the controversial coverings would not be “mandatory in schools, but it’s recommended if you can’t maintain social distancing”.

PV Executive Officer Gail McHardy is quoted in the article. Gail said communication between the government, schools and parents on masks had been clear.

She said the requirements were “no different to what’s out in the wider community”. 

 

According to a report on 3AW,  new research has found that two thirds of Victorian parents are worried about their child’s education after the state’s extended lockdown.

An Australian National University study found 43 per cent of parents surveyed in other states, which did not experience such lengthy school shutdowns, are concerned about their child’s learning.

PV Execuitve Office Gail McHardy was interviewed by 3AW's Tony Jones on Friday about this topic. The conversation ranged over the differing impact of the pandemic on different families, the way teachers and parents managed to be adaptable in difficult circumstances, and what it means for the future. Gail emphasised the importance of strong relationships between schools and families - where those are working well, both schools and families have benefited. 


 

A delayed Victorian State Budget 2020/21 was tabled in Parliament on the 24 November 2020 and on that same morning media reported the Government’s announcement of accepting ALL the recommendations from a recent review of vocational and applied learning pathways in senior secondary schools, conducted by former Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) chief John Firth. Further detail is available on the DET website.  

Phase-out of VCAL

The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) – the VCE alternative taken by more than 25,000 senior secondary school students in 2019 – will begin to be phased out as a standalone qualification in 2023 and will be scrapped by 2025. Instead, industry-focused subjects will be included within the VCE, with students given more freedom to combine academic and vocational pathways.

Firth’s review found major changes were needed to make sure all Victorian secondary students have access to high quality vocational training that meets their strengths and interests, and gives them the skills they need, and that leads them into further training, education and, ultimately, a great job.

Consultation

PV awaits the detail of the next steps as this will be a long-term reform agenda with Government stating it will be with minimal immediate changes for schools. Adding they will take a measured and consultative approach to the reforms.

Moving to a single certificate to happen in stages - first creating a new vocational specialist pathway within the VCE, with the first cohort of students starting the new certificate in 2023. The next stage to create a fully integrated senior secondary certificate by 2025.

We’ve been advised the Department and VCAA will consult with students, schools, universities, TAFEs, peak bodies, industry and employers and other service providers. Students, schools, families, training providers and employers giving plenty of notice about what these changes mean for us all and providing support in the lead up to the introduction of changes to the certificate.

Interviewed by the Age, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority current chief executive, Stephen Gniel said “the world of work was changing and senior secondary education had to evolve with it.”

2020 has been another busy year for Parents Victoria.  We wanted to bring you a snapshot of our achievements for the year.

Major Events

  • Parents Victoria (October) 2020 online conference - "Brave New World"
  • November Careers Webinar in partnership with Myfuture (Education Services Australia).   

Who we worked with

  • Department of Education
  • Australian Council of State School Organisations (ACSSO)
  • Victorian Institute of Teaching - including Parents and School Council Organisations (PaSCO) quarterly meetings
  • Commission for Children and Young People 
  • Victorian Qualifications and Registration Authority 
  • Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority
  • School Governance Network
  • Victorian Student Representative Council
  • Victorian Council of Social Service
  • Australian Education Union 
  • Victorian Principal Associations (APF, VPA, VASSP)
  • Several Victorian Universities - including work with Deakin and Monash on a Partners in Parenting Expert Advisory Committee 

Communication

  • 11 Parents Voice Newsletters 
  • Website (being upgraded early 2021)
  • Social Media platforms - Facebook and Twitter
  • Responding to media opportunities 

The PV website and social media platforms were used extensively in 2020 to provide families with the most relevant and up to date information-at-a-glance, in relation to COVID-19.  

Advocacy

We advocated on behalf of parents on a range of school-related topics including:

  • Attendance
  • Bullying
  • Disciplinary (including suspensions & expulsions)
  • School Council
  • Teacher/Principal
  • Student Wellbeing
  • Support for students with additional needs
  • Cybersafety
  • Career Education
  • School Selection
  • Naplan
  • Support for Principals
  • Student Safety
  • School zones and boundaries
  • Covid-19

We also advocated on a range of Parent Club-related topics including:

  • AGMs
  • Constitutions
  • Formation/reformation of clubs
  • Relationship with school
  • PV membership
  • Finances
  • Registration of members
  • Office bearers
  • Managing volunteer groups.   

In 2020 Parents Victoria's support of Parent Clubs has pivoted to online support via zoom and via our regular email and phone support.

Governance   

  • Parents Victoria Strategic Plan - 2021 - 2024
  • Parents Victorian internal Governance training session
  • Working with DET to review and promote policy in support of School Councillors

Relationship Based Education

Parents Victoria promotes the importance of relationships and communication at every opportunity. 

  • Working with John Hendry OAM (Relationship based Education and Parents Victoria's website platform - to support and provide resources for schools and families)
  • Working with Dr David Moore (Relationship Reparation)
  • Working with Universities - especially to promote the importance of relationships and communication for Initial Teaching Educators and Students
  • Melbourne University and University of WA on a research project re how schools engage with parents to inform school decision-making processes

Parents Victoria's Strategic Goal Number 5 is "Successful Relationships":

We promote relationship based education (RbE) because this is how we teach our children and the whole school community to build healthy relationships, resilience and confidence. We believe that modelling respect, positive attitudes and behaviours is how you bring about an exemplary school culture and improved student outcomes in schools. 

We do this by working with all education stakeholders to influence policy and implementation and embed the concepts of RbE in education. 

Submissions & Feedback

  • DET Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors
  • Parliamentary Inquiry into Managing School Infrastructure
  • Australian Education Amendment (Direct Measure of Income Bill 2020)
  • DET Review into vocational and applied learning pathways in senior secondary schooling
  • DET Consultation on proposed school council consolidated Ministerial Order
  • Joint NSW, Queensland, Victoria and ACT Review of Naplan
  • National Architecture Review Taskforce
  • DET review of Naplan
  • DET - VCAL and VET Review Consultation
  • Senate Select Committee Inquiry on COVID-19
  • Engage Victoria - Education State : Lessons from Remote and Flexible Learning
  • Skills for Victoria's Growing Economy
  • PAEC Inquiry into the Victorian Government's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • PAEC Panel Hearing for the above
  • DET Complaints Resource
  • DET Family Engagement Resource
  • Rural Inspire program consultation (Country Education Project)
  • Office of Women (experience of and opportunities for women, given learnings from the Pandemic)
  • DET Review and Update of the Improving School Governance training package for 2021
  • Victorian Teaching Profession's Code of Conduct consultation draft
  • DET re Camps and School Excursions funding extension
  • LGBTIQ Engage Victoria (Youth strategy)
  • DET Exemption from School (support documentation review)

 

 

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