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"Funding for students at Catholic and independent schools in Victoria has grown almost 15 times faster than for state schools in the past decade, prompting warnings that disadvantaged students who need the most support are instead being left further behind."

This article in the Age highlights the growing disparity in funding between government and non-government schools. And it's worst of all in Victoria, according to Save Our Schools. Their analysis shows the average student at a state school in Victoria had $13,663 spent on their education in 2018, compared with $16,303 per Catholic school student and $25,000 for a student at an independent school.

Read the Age article


 

Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton has published a letter to all Victoria parents about the current COVID-19 situation. 

The letter begins:

"As the school holidays approach, we can’t ease up on looking after ourselves and our families. The only thing between us and a second wave is what we do next. Wherever you go, please be mindful of the risks. Be aware others may be carrying the virus and practice physical distancing."

Read the full letter


 

PV Executive Officer Gail McHardy was interviewed by 7 News on Friday - the last day of home learning for many Victorian students. 

Gail commented on the range of experiences reported by parents and the mixed feelings that many parents will have when students return to school on Tuesday.

See the 7 News interview 


 

UNICEF grants of up to $3,000 are available for Parent Clubs at drought and bushfire affected schools.

From the UNICEF website: "As part of our support to assist children and local communities in the context of COVID-19, we will be providing a one-off round of School Community Grants for 30 primary and high schools to use on activities related to strengthening connectivity, wellbeing and implementing social distancing programs in a child-friendly way during the pandemic."

More details on the UNICEF website

 


 

The Age reported late yesterday that "Two schools in Melbourne’s north-west remained closed for deep cleaning on Monday after students tested positive to COVID-19 last week, with one school telling families it would revert to remote learning until further notice."

The article includes comment from PV Executive Officer Gail McHardy:

Parents Victoria executive officer Gail McHardy sympathised with the VET students who had been sent into isolation so soon after returning to practical classes.

"It would be hard for those students when they have been missing out on doing certain tasks," Ms McHardy said.

She said inter-campus VET classes should continue, with arrangements in place to ensure students' health and safety.

"The chief health officer and the government have been clear that there would be further outbreaks, its just how we manage those outbreaks."

Read the full article

 


 

Preliminary results from ACSSO's parent survey on schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic are in. 

Over 3,300 families responded from many areas of the country. 

The survey weas designed to identify family circumstances, what worked, what challenges they faced and their input on safety and improvements.

“We’re still analysing, but comments from the ‘learning from home’ families suggest that increased school engagement and more consistency with the learning programs would improve their wellbeing emotionally as well as educationally,” said Andrew Bidwell, President of ACSSO.


 

The Herald-Sun reported on Saturday about concerns of COVID-19 infections in Victorian schools. The article included a comment from PV Executive Officer Gail McHardy:

Parents Victoria on Friday backed schools, saying they were well prepared to deal with any outbreaks.

“The parent community will still have mixed reactions to this latest outbreak when anxiety and uncertainty continues as we head into colder weather,” boss Gail McHardy said.

Gail also made some further comments on behalf of PV which were not reported in the story:

"Both Federal and State CMO's are on record advising us to expect instances like this. The State Government/DET have put in protocols and processes for schools to enact when these situations occur.

It's tricky for families if there aren't any apparent symptoms and at this point we can't blame school environments as the cause when incubation is 14 days. If there is awareness to a family or community cluster then added precautions by us all MUST be taken as a matter of priority to protect others.

It's a Catch 22, do we stay in lockdown because of a few cases or go back as we have in stages and act with caution? Closing down one or two schools caused by an outbreak may only disrupt up to 2000 students compared to 630,000 government school students."

Read the Herald-Sun article. 

 


 

The Victorian Ombudsman, Deborah Glass, reported last week on nepotism in our Victorian Public Schools.

In short, her office’s investigations found that there have been several cases of nepotism over recent years, where Principals have employed or given contracts to family members, friends, or business associates, often without advertising the positions or obtaining quotes.

We cannot condone this behaviour, and don’t accept that “not knowing” that such actions are wrong and create a conflict of interest is an acceptable excuse.  However, we do agree with Ms Glass’s statement that,  “Mostly, the subjects of these allegations were well-intentioned, busy people trying to solve problems, who got it wrong.”

As in all communities, the vast majority of Principals are doing the right thing.  It is only a small number who are not.  Yet the media focus is always on these few.  It’s the same when parents are collectively described in the news as aggressive or bullying. 

At this time of additional pressure on everyone, we would like to focus on the great job being done by everyone in our public school communities.


 

You may have seen media reports about the tragic death of Deborah Locco. Deb was well known and respected by Parents Victoria, for her work in support of families in the DET South Eastern Victoria Region. Yesterday our Executive Committee sent the following message to DET Deputy Secretary, David Howes:

Parents Victoria was greatly saddened to hear the tragic news about Deborah Locco today.  We know this news will be extremely difficult to hear and process, with a huge impact to her family and both her work colleagues and friends.

PV would like to express our condolences and heartfelt sympathy to all.  Please extend our heartfelt condolences to all the regional and central office employees close to Deb and that we're thinking of you all.

With deepest sympathy, on behalf of the 2020 Parents Victoria Executive Team  

The Education Department has issued its own statement about Deborah. 

The statement says, in part:

Deb was a much loved and admired colleague.

She was known to thousands of Victorian educators through her career as a Mathematics teacher, acting principal at Chandler Secondary College, principal at South Oakleigh Secondary College and her many regional roles, including as Acting Regional Director of the South Eastern Victoria Region.

At her heart she was a passionate educator, who always placed students first and had an unwavering commitment to supporting teachers and principals.

Read the full statement on the Education Department website

 


To all principals, teachers and education support staff in Victoria, thank you!


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