Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Meeting with the Minister

Forum on making school's community hubs
James Merlino 
Wendouree Campus Ballarat College ( soon to be Mount Rowan campus)

Minister discussed:
Looking for BIG IDEAS
$50 million for joint facilities in the budget: sport, medical health and well being and arts 
( Phoenix College dental clinic mentioned)
Breakfast clubs in 500 schools being rolled out.
$43 million for GPs in schools
EAL Boosted in the budget.
Education state targets include community pride in our schools.

Principal's discussed:
Co-location discussed and some issues surrounding the practicality of this
Lack of long term plan in education - comparing to Finland.
Need to make funding for student support more streamlined.
Look at the funding models for joint use community facilities.
Priority in funding towards the Early Years and promoting the profession.
More parenting support. A parent centre in schools was recommended.
Consider settings other than traditional school settings.(such as rural schools!)
General discussion until the Minister left at 3:00 pm.

I discussed the auditor general's report into the yawning gap in outcomes and opportunities for students between rural and metropolitan schools and a smarter approach to small school support. I suggested a forum to deal with explore solutions and mentioned the 2005 Shepparton Conference. We need more flexibility. I also raised the imbalance in quality facilities between private and public secondary schools here in Ballarat.

I sent this email to the Minister this afternoon. Hopefully something will come out of it...I'm starting to lose hope....

Hello Minister Merlino
Just a note to thank you (and Sharon and Geoff) for today’s education forum in Ballarat.
I would just like to follow-up comments I made during the meeting in the hope that you might be able to act on them.
I discussed the issue of closing the gap between rural school performance and opportunities compared to metropolitan schools as highlighted in 2014 by the Auditor General.(copy attached)
I suggested as my ‘big idea’ that DET or you convene a small school summit/conference/forum of small school principals to effectively brainstorm solutions to issues effecting small rural schools (issue such as staffing, provision, access to specialist support, communication etc ) I believe that unlike beauracrats and consultants which DET prefers to use we can provide workable, viable and sustainable solutions to some of the problems that threaten to create a 2 tiered education system (alluded too by the  Auditor General) in Victoria. 
The Shepparton conference of 2005 was a great success but never followed up! It wouldn’t need to be as grand as that: a central rural Victorian venue, a trained facilitator and DET representatives eager to take on board our recommendations is all we'd need. I spoke to the premier last year at a forum organised by Sharon in Ballarat and he put a lot of store by the additional funding rural schools were to receive in the budget and I appreciate that that has helped many schools but a lot of the ‘blockers’ and ‘hurdles’ we face require system changes not money to fix! None of them is insurmountable.
Tony Shaw
Principal Glen Park PS

No comments:

Post a Comment