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Busy Term 1 

Since our first newsletter, Term 1 has seen Parents Victoria very busy with stakeholder consultations, reviews, forums, feedback opportunities, regular meetings including with the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education the Hon James Merlino MP and the Deputy Secretary, Early Childhood and School Education Group, Katy Haire.  Parents Victoria values these opportunities as they provide opportunity to give a parent perspective.  Note the Department (DET) kicked off the new operative Regional structure with additional support staff from March 1 and Central Office has just finalised their new organisation structure effective from April 4, 2016.  Parents Victoria has some further meet and greet meetings over the school holidays due to these changes under the Education State Reform.

The Complaints Management work which we reported on in Newsletter # 1 2016, continues with Parents Victoria attending several meetings through Term 1 as the government investigates an independent mechanism for complex complaints.  DET has welcomed Parents Victoria to recommend to parents where helpful, re access to a Mediation service provider.  Parents Victoria continues to make suggestions re how to expedite complaints to protect and support families where relationships between the parent/s have broken down with the school.  For further information please contact the Office.

In Term 2 we hope to put a lot of energy into our aim of "advancing the agenda of the parent-school partnership".  This might involve visiting schools and their parent communities / parent clubs to discuss how this can work for the benefit of everyone at the school. As always, we welcome the opportunity to visit your school, so please contact us if you are interested.  We can run sessions for multiple schools if you are keen for a cluster or network approach.
Parents Voice

Volume 43

Newsletter # 2 2016 

Content includes  ........
* Year 11 & 12 Students
* VicSRC
* Youth Consultation
* Young Driver Safety ... and more

Parents Victoria Out and About
Here is a snapshot of a month in the life of the Parents Victoria team.  A reminder that our Executive members are volunteers and most work in other paid employment positions.  Our two paid contractors, Gail McHardy (Executive Officer) and Leanne McCurdy (Administration and Executive Support) support Parents Victoria on a part-time basis.

Phone calls:  On a range of issues from parents who require support or answers to questions regarding their students - to calls from DET staff looking to secure meetings or feedback/input from Parents Victoria on a range of current topics or issues - from other organisations and bodies who value Parents Victoria's input from the perspective of families of government school students - to various media looking for PV comment on current topics or stories of interest.
Emails:  Again on a range of issues as per phone calls.  Emails are certainly the most common form of communication to the PV office.
Meetings for the month of March 2016 included:
Parents Victoria Executive Team Meeting
VIT PaSCO (Parents and School Council Organisations) Meeting
Victorian Institute of Teaching Special Needs Reference Group
Australian Principals Federation
DET Wellbeing Health and Engagement Division
Education Equity Coalition
Parent Payments Policy Meeting with DET Project Team
AEU and stakeholder organisations meeting
Complaints Management Meeting
School Funding Meeting (SRP)
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment (VCAA) meeting of stakeholders
DET Secondary Reform, Transitions & Priority Cohorts Division
Media Meeting
Education State Update through Parents Victoria's Lens

As referenced earlier the new DET Regional Model is now operative here are some excerpts from a communication to Parents Victoria and other key education stakeholders which we received before close of Term 1.

"The Government announced its plans for the Education State in schools in September 2015.  Central to those plans was a commitment to significantly increase resources in our regions, including funding for about 150 additional positions and establishing 17 Areas within our existing four regions."

"A key feature of the new regional model is the establishment of multi-disciplinary teams in each of the 17 new Areas.  Through these teams, schools, early childhood services, vocational education services, learners and their families have access to a range of experts with a 0-18 focus - from executive leaders to curriculum and assessment specialists, and a dedicated health and well-being workforce.  These experts are all working together to ensure the right skills and resources are  deployed to those most in need.  Senior Education Improvement Leaders (SEILs) are at the centre of these teams, collaborating across and within teams to determine what support is needed where, and driving coordinated action to ensure schools take the most effective and strongly evidenced approaches to improvement."

"The new regional model makes a significant shift from a 'problem and program' focus to a 'people and place' approach.  By placing Areas at the core of the Department's regional operating arrangements, we can ensure deeper understanding of the characteristics, trends and issues of communities, and the operating context of each school and early childhood service.  Area teams are better placed to provide more expert advice and support on complex issues, and facilitate a stronger, more place-based and integrated approach to child and learner outcomes.  They will facilitate local networks, develop partnerships to support successful transitions between ages and stages of the learning continuum, and encourage collective responsibility for all learners in the community.  They are the primary point of contact day to day for services and the local community, with enough resources and capabilities to be able to respond to schools with support when required."

Parents Victoria looks forward to meeting with Kim Ryan, the new Director of Learning Places under the new DET Regional Model, to discuss this new support direction to local communities.

"A key Education State initiative, the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) has been developed to assist schools to focus on key priorities that are known to have the greatest impact on school improvement and support the achievement of the targets."

Do you know what initiative your school has selected to focus on?  For further details.

Parents Victoria had the opportunity to present at the Bastow Institute in December 2015 on one of the four statewide priorities "Community Engagement in Learning" (Seminar 4) which you can view (Gail is the second presenter at approximately the 20 minute mark).
What can parents of Year 11
 and 12 students do to help them be effective?

Andrew Fuller, Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist provides this resource and others, which may "kick-start your thinking!"

"When you have a student completing the senior years of school, everyone in the family is doing Year 11 or 12.  Here are a few ideas for coming through these years flourishing and having everyone's dignity intact."

Catching up and working in partnership with other Education Stakeholders!
Like the voluntary PV Executive, the VicSRC Student Executive team work tirelessly to have a voice and PV have been great supporters.  We have developed a long term relationship since the early years (mid 90's) and Gail had the pleasure of gearing up for the 2016 school year with a catch up with Krista Seddon, VicSRC Manager, in January.  We look forward to working further together on areas of education policy interest with the Student Executive, sharing and promoting resources and ideas for our school communities.  Check out the VicSRC webpage for further information.
Parents Victoria Joan Kirner Award 

NOMINATIONS OPEN:  February 1, 2016  NOMINATIONS CLOSE: April 15, 2016
(Nominations must be received in writing to the Parents Victoria Office by the closing date and must provide detail in consideration of the criteria below.)

Criteria:  A Parents Victoria member Parent Club or Individual Member who has demonstrated, encouraged or facilitated parent participation or engagement in their school.  (A nominated Individual Member must be a parent at the nominated school and their contribution must be in the capacity of a volunteer.)
Victorian Government Youth Consultation

Our Executive Officer, Gail McHardy has represented Parents Victoria on the Sector Reference Group in relation to the Victorian Government's Youth Policy consultation since September 2015.  Gail has been in the company of other community, youth, academic, private, philanthropic and local government representatives to provide their insights, experiences and share ideas for the purpose of this project.  A welcome opportunity to do this on behalf of parents in Victorian Government Schools to make sure your voices are heard on behalf of your sons and daughters who may not be able to raise their voice to influence Government policy in the past, for the future.  We look forward to positive outcomes from this process and will keep you posted.  For recent updates on the consultation process and findings so far visit
Young Driver Safety Package - Towards Zero 

"The Victorian Government has committed to implement a plan to reduce further young driver crash rates through the development and delivery of a suite of education and training initiatives.  These initiatives referred to as the Young Driver Safety Package (YDSP), are grouped into five clusters and will be put in place either by TAC or VicRoads. 

The YDSP initiatives are: Road Safety Education Complex (TAC); Practical Safe Driving Program (VicRoads); Free licence scheme (VicRoads); L2P - learner driver mentor program (VicRoads); Youth grants, communication activities and forums (TAC).
This fundraising tip is brought to you by Fundraising Directory
"The Alphabet Raffle - is a fundraising idea that can be used at events such as gala balls, trivia nights or even a fete.

Each mini raffle has just 26 tickets - labelled A-Z.

Sell each letter or ‘ticket’ for whatever amount you think you can get away with. This will depend both on the prize value and how deep the pockets of your audience are. I would think that around $10 per ticket is about right, although if you have a high-value prize, you could go crazy with such great odds of winning!

Make certain the letters are selected at random.

Get creative with the prizes, you can either seek donations or purchase them (hint: seek donations people!). The prizes need to have general appeal (good wine, a box of coffee pods, massage voucher, a bottle of spirits…you get the drift) as you will need to motivate the crowds to participate.

If you want to keep it super easy, you can offer a cash prize. At $10 a ticket, you will raise $260 from each round so be sure that any cash prize still leaves good money for the effort taken.

Once all tickets are sold, pull a letter out of a hat and you have your winner!

A variation on this is to offer three prizes - one main prize and two token prizes. Have a large range of three letter words in a bucket. The winners are then drawn - the first letter is the main winner, and the other two letters get the token prizes. For example, if ‘Cat’ is drawn, the holder of the ‘C’ ticket wins the main prize, and ‘A’ and ‘T’ get the token prizes.

The key to this one is keeping everything sharp and short. Have one person (preferably on a microphone) spruiking the tickets, and a couple of runners to sell them and collect the money. This activity should be knocked over in 10 minutes, making it an ideal filler activity for a trivia night or a lunchtime fundraiser.

To run multiple sessions, simply prepare alphabet tickets in a variety of colours.

My ‘hidden tip’ variation ( today is pretty crazy, but I like it that way! Head to the website to find out what twist I have come up with for this fundraiser :-)"
DET Circulars - to note
Contact the Principal of your school to find out more.

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