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To our valuable Parents Victoria Members and readers, from this first Issue of Parents Voice in 2016 we will be providing our newsletters in electronic format.  Our aim is to provide more regular newsletters so that the content is always up to date and timely!

We encourage you to  :
  • Circulate the newsletters to ALL members of your Parent Club via email
  • Agenda the newsletter for discussion at your Parent Club meetings - discuss items of specific relevance to your Club/School
  • Highlight relevant information from the newsletter to your school and request them to place in the school newsletter - for the benefit of other members of your school community
Parents Victoria's Executive Officer Gail McHardy, has already been active post Christmas with media seeking comments re BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in schools; parent payments; cost of schooling / keeping costs down; and school canteens.

Parents Victoria has regular meetings with many divisions within DET - representing the views of parents and families on a range of topics.  One of the key items for Parents Victoria is the Review of the DET Complaints system.  We are currently meeting as part of the Complaints Review Stakeholder Group to discuss how a reformed Complaints system might look.  The government is still investigating an Independent mechanism for complex complaints. We will keep you posted re this work.


DET website information states:

"Where schools merge, the schools involved close and then form a new school entity.  If the schools have parent clubs, the clubs will also close.  A new parent club can be formed once the new school entity has been established.   Any funds from the closed parent clubs go to the newly merged school entity.  It is the school's decision how the funds are allocated."

Parents Victoria recommends that prior to a schools merge, their parent clubs might benefit from the following tips :

* The Principal/s could facilitate a meeting of both parent clubs (if both schools have an existing parent club)
*  The Parent Clubs could discuss how they might coordinate formation of a new Parent Club at the new school (i.e. "Formation" of a parent club -
* Interested parents of the closing schools could meet informally until the new school is up and running
*  Coordinate a handover meeting to foster smooth transition (i.e. maybe plan a launch or kick-off activity for the new entity).

We're going to be working up the agenda soon.  Tell us what's of interest to you, your parent club, your school.   Send us an email.  
"Parents Voice"

Volume 43

Newsletter #1 2016


This Issue

* Parent Clubs of Merging Schools

* Snapshot of PV Conference 2015

* ACARA Update

* Parents Victoria Joan Kirner Award

2016 Parents Victoria Membership Fees

Please look out for our Invoice
It will be mailed to the Parent Club c/- your school address
We would appreciate your assistance to facilitate payment either via your Parent Club or your school office


for a list of school council training sessions for

"Governance" and "School Council President"
 Synergistiq website

for a list of school council training sessions for 
"Finance" and "Strategic Planning" visit the National Curriculum Services (NCS) website

The DET website also has information re School Councils and re access to online training


"Schools that are Kicking Goals"
The Parents Victoria 2015 conference was opened by the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, James Merlino.  The Minister's opening included the valued work of Parents Victoria and the current work of the State Government and DET under the Education State.    He informed that the Regional Services Review will highlight that there are changes and improvements required with the Regions to be able to support schools and families.

Keynote Speaker, Carol Cooke, AM
Carol delivered an inspiring address - "The Cycle of Life".  
Carol took attendees through her story of grit and determination.   One Dream – 35 years, 2 countries, 3 sports.

Some pertinent comments from Carol’s presentation:
“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” (I.e. Take advantage of opportunities).
  • Courage / Chance / Change
  • If Carol could, would she change history?  (“No”, the diagnosis has made her who she is.)
  • A lesson :- “To love the journey and not the destination because today is not a dress rehearsal, today is the only guarantee you get.”
  • Take two words out of your vocabulary – “can’t” and “never”.
The Third Umpire - Complaints Resolution - Russell Rees, DET
Russell acknowledged that often by the time complaints get to DET, they are not in good shape.  Also, that issues mostly fall within a well recognised range of items.

* In 2014 the Complaints Management Stakeholder Consultative Group was formed.  (Parents Victoria is a member of this Group.)
* The current State Government made a pre-election commitment to investigate an Independent Schools Commissioner.   Independence is the key.  This work is still underway.
*  Too many complaints are not resolved at the local (school) level.  Nor are they resolved quickly enough.
*  There is currently too much diversity in approach and practice to resolve complaints.
*  Under the Education State Reform, it is acknowledged that there needs to be improved Regional supports.  Work is currently underway to ensure that there are the right people with the right skills to support Regions.

Russell also commented that in the middle of any DET complaint, there is always a child.  The student's education comes ahead of all.

Creating your Fundraising Dream Team - Mandy Weidmann, The Fundraising Group
Mandy informs that fundraising is about collecting your volunteers.  She acknowledges that often it's the same people doing the same stuff.  But this drives her.  She encourages - energise your group and get it together - have fun - be successful.  She acknowledges volunteers become burnt-out.  She acknowledges there is no time to do the strategic stuff.  But Mandy says you can have access to other people's brain power.  Have a game plan.  Work out who is the brains trust in your community.  Once you're on a winning streak, nothing can stop it.  Success feeds motivation.

Mandy says there are five secrets to successful fundraising:
* A strategic plan
* Communicate Expectations

* Cultivate inclusive culture
* Ensure you have effective leadership
* Handover to retain and pass on knowledge

Mandy's advice also included:
* Be clear on goals (know your fundraising purpose)
* Accept others' knowledge and ideas (be open minded to new people and new ideas)  Provide a safe environment for even the bad ideas!
* Create an inclusive culture
* Find a "champion"
* Consider a code of conduct
* Have fun
* Be incompetent (allow others to step up)
* Share the vision
* Communicate, communicate, communicate
* Have fun

* Ensure people feel valued for their contribution (appoint a "thank you" sergeant)
* Respect the gift of people's valuable time
* Provide feedback on fundraising results and spending (people like to know the result of their efforts)
* Have fun

Schools that are Kicking Goals 
Conference delegates heard from :
* Bundoora Secondary College re their Allied Health Program 
* Bendigo Senior Secondary College re their Netschool, Confucius Classroom
* Pembroke Primary School re Embracing and celebrating diversity (working with families from refugee backgrounds)

evelling the Playing Field - Schools and Families of refugee backgrounds working together - Sharrin Murphy, Foundation House
Sharrin informed that under the Refugee Education Support Program (RESP), a partnership between Foundation House, five Victorian schools, the Centre for Multicultural Youth and the Department of Education and Training (and other colla
borators), a desktop guide resource was developed - "Schools and Families in Partnership" "A desktop guide to engaging families from refugee backgrounds in their children's learning".

The Ultimate Team - How parents and kids can work together to have a healthy relationship with one another - The Reach Foundation
Once again the Reach team took delegates on a short journey back to what they were like as a teenager.  The facilitators' skills need to be experienced to be able to appreciate.  The short message is that experiences in our life drive the messages we send to our young people.  And that the conference room was full of expertise in interacting with young people!

Team News - SchoolMate App
What can you do at home to support your children's education?  SchoolMate is an essential App for parents of school-aged children in Victoria.  It will provide parents with a roadmap to aid their child's learning at home and at school.  Free to download.

Match Ready - Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Kids - Parents Jury
Alice from the Parents Jury discussed the role of school canteens.  She explained that currently 30% of primary schools and 9% of secondary schools are compliant with the healthy eating guidelines.  Except for South Australia, secondary schools have more "red" items on their menus than primary schools. 24% of Victorian schools assessed, have soft drink on the menu. Recommendations have been made that all government school canteen menus contain over 60% green menu items and that canteens use a traffic light, front of pack food labelling system.  Alice advised that some parent concerns are taken directly to the manufacturer.   For DET information re Healthy Canteens: (Parents Jury)
Special Mentions
1.  PV was delighted to receive two nominations to the PV Executive team - Tina Ili from Broadmeadows Valley PS and Wendy Oh from Whittlesea Secondary College.  We welcome them aboard!

2.  PV has established an ongoing (annual) award to acknowledge the late Joan Kirner AC.  Joan was a former President of Parents Victoria from 1971-1977.  The official naming of the Award will be announced at a later date and we aim to announce the inaugural winner at our 90th birthday celebration (Term 2, 2016).  Thereafter, the Award will be presented
annually at conference.
3.  PV Life Membership was awarded to Sharron Healy, Nicki Sweeney, Wendy Mackinlay and Leanne McCurdy.
PV would like to thank our major conference sponsor:

and minor conference sponsor
Paula's Patties and Custom Cakes (0488 888 681).

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:  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.)
Parents Victoria as an affiliate of the Australian Council of State School Organisation (ACSSO) receives updates from ACARA via ACSSO representation and here below are some updates for our member clubs and individual parents - to keep you informed.
NEW > Parent Information Sheets re Australian Curriculum – "resources and support"
If you have a specific interest in
NAPLAN - "national reports"
ICT Literacy – if you missed this article from November 2015 it’s worth a read  . 
ACARA's response to the column about the teaching of ICT skills in our schools.
MySchool website is a useful tool if you’re  wanting to know more about your school or others.  ACARA has been updating data on My School since 2008; they provide seven years of valuable data in one location. This allows for comparisons of results from schools with students from similar socio-educational backgrounds, using the index of community socio-educational advantage ((ICSEA).
Do you understand the term ICSEA?  If NO, here is an
infographic and video link to help!
Family Life Victoria (FLV) is pleased and proud to announce that tickets for the
two Steve Biddulph talks on
21st and 22nd of March, are now open for
bookings.  FLV inform that "these talks are so powerful that many people find themselves both laughing,
and crying at the same time".

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