School Funding Advocacy Campaign - May/June 2017
Over the past couple of months the VCSPB have been working alongside Catholic education authorities to understand the impact of the Australian Education Amendment Bill 2017. The impact on the families of children in Catholic schools is of major concern to VCSPB as many schools stand to lose funding over the proposed next ten years. This will either force school fees to increase or a cut back on staff and/or important programs that are currently being implemented across Catholic schools. Due to the Governments needs based funding model, the assessment of need should be reviewed before any legislation is passed in the Senate.
During our campaign we have written to parents across schools in Victoria to inform them of the impact this legislation will have on the affordability and choice for parents in sending their children to a Catholic school. We have also written to Victorian MPs and to Victorian Senators who will be voting on the legislation to ensure they are fully aware of the facts and the impact of the legislation on families. We continue to work with the National Catholic Education Commission, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria and Catholic School Parents Australia to understand the facts and the impact to ensure we are able to carry out our advocacy campaign effectively. For further information on the school funding debate, go to http://www.schoolfundingfacts.com
New Chairperson Elected - November 10 2016
At our recent AGM, following the resignation of our Chairperson of four years, Tracey O'Neill, a new Chair was elected to serve the term of one year in 2017. Mr Morgan Murphy, who has been a council member of the VCSPB since 2014, was elected to represent the body as Chairperson.
Morgan is a represenative from the diocese of Sandhurst and has many years experience serving as a volunteer on school boards and more recently as a parent representative of the Sandhurst Schools Education Board.
Morgan is looking forward to exciting times ahead as Chair of the VCSPB.
During our AGM we also welcomed new council member, Rhyannon Elliott who will represent parents in the Eastern region of the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
NCEC Conference - June 19-22 2016
Recently six VCSPB representatives ventured to Perth, WA for the annual NCEC (National Catholic Education Commission) Conference at the Perth Convention Centre. The theme of the conference was 'Faith to Lead, Lead to Faith'. The conference was attended by over 1300 Principals, teachers, Bishops, Deacons, CEO Directors, parents and special guest speakers from across Australia.
Across the four days we were treated to some inspiring presentations from keynote speakers The Most Reverend Christopher Saunders DD Bishop of Broome who shared many inspiring stories of overcoming hardship in remote communities in WA, Simon Breakspear who challenged us to change the way we think about education, Chris Lowney who was thoroughly engaging with his take on leadership and stories of Pope Francis as a young priest in South America, Professor Donna Cross from the University of WA who encouraged educators to integrate non cognitive skills into their teaching and learning and the importance of developing resilience in our young learners to face the world that awaits them. We were honoured to hear Minister for Education, Mr Simon Birmingham speak of the NLP support for Catholic education and also heard from Bill Shorten on his commitment to funding Catholic schools.
The highlight was a panel of students who discussed what education means for them and how they believe their eduction has prepared them for a promising future. We were also treated to a Q&A session led by Tony Jones from the ABC.
The conference concluded with a special and inspiring presentation by Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga SDB who reminded us all to never forget the joy of watching children as they learn and to never take for granted the priveleged position we have in educating and guiding our young people.
It was an absolute privelege for VCSPB to attend the conference and also enjoy many concurrent sessions on various topics in education, with many of our delegates attending sessions on parent engagement in learning to learn more about various initiatives and resources being developed in other states of Australia to continue to educate schools and parents of the importace of engaging in children's learning.
Appointment of new Executive Officer - May 2016
The VCSPB recently appointed as our new Executive Officer, Mrs Rachel Saliba, following the departure of Patricia Palman at the end of 2015. We are looking forward to exciting times ahead with many new intitiatives taking place in 2016 and beyond.
VCSPB commenced working on a research project titled, "Parent Connectedness". Following the development of a strategic plan 2015-2018 it was agreed by council that the VCSPB should undertake to research other like and external organisations to determine successful engagement strategies for VCSPB in engaging with parents of children in Catholic schools. The project will be completed in early 2017 with the results of the research forming future projects and initatives that will be undertaken by the VCSPB to more effectively represent parent voice in education at a state and national level.
A new mobile app has been launched by the Australian Government to encourage parents to get more involved in their children’s education. Find out more at www.australia.gov.au/learningpotential
Tracey O'Neill, VCSPB Chair, meets with Christopher Pyne, then Minister for Education & Training at a cross-sectoral Forum held in Melbourne (Ringwood).
L to R: Minister Christopher Pyne, Stephen Elder (Exectuive Director Catholic Education Commission) with Tracey O'Neill (VCSPB Chair)
Reform of Federation White Paper Issues Paper 4 - Roles and Responsibilities in Education