DEECD Improving School Governance

30 04 2012

This session was held at the Loddon Mallee Regional Office on Monday 30th of April 2012 from 7.00pm to 9.00pm.  Peter Howlett presented the session.

This was an valuable session reinforcing some known details and providing details I had either not known about or had only a limited understanding of.

Importantly we were provided with a folder containing a number of key documents describing the function of school councils.  The majority of the session focused on what is covered in the induction section of the material. An electronic copy of the induction material can be found here at:  This site also contains electronic copies of the Finance, Policy Development and Review, and the Strategic Planning section. 

What are some things I learnt form the presentation

  1. School Councils no longer have AGMs.  Peter made a point of this although the module doesn’t specifically mention this. Peter clarified this is really now “The first meeting of the new council” and as such really just a name change.  Details are covered on page 23 of the Principal’s Guide to School Council Elections 2012.
  2. A Quorum requires not less than one half of school council members currently holding office, with a majority being not Department employees. Members can be present via tele or video conferencing.
  3. It was suggested that school councils should have a code of conduct for councillors and that this be part of the council’s “Standing Orders”.
  4. Subcommittees don’t decide anything.  They only require one council member and their task is to recommend things to the school council.
  5. School council members are not legally liable for anything if acting in good faith.
  6. When making decisions school council should consider the decision in reference to the Strategic Plan and Annual Implementation Plan.
  7. It’s a good idea to have the Strategic and Annual Implementation plan present for council meetings.
  8. Agenda is set by the Principal and President the week before each meeting.
  9. Although not covered in the written Induction document Peter made the point of ensuring that all parents going on an overnight excursion should have a WWC card.  This though is not government policy.
  10. . Don’t accept any excursion not on DEECD’s pro-forma for excursions.
  11. . It was suggested that at the beginning of the year parents be advised of “voluntary accident insurance” options through the newsletter.
  12. . If a school council member is absent for 3 consecutive meetings without special leave then their position becomes vacant.  This should be in the standing orders.
  13. . What an apology is should be in the standing orders.
  14. . Schedule 7 from the “Principals Guide to School Council Elections 2012” shows who’s on school council and I think Peter indicated should be available to council members.

From reading the Induction document I’ve noted the following:

  1. Functions of school council include the regulating and facilitating of after hours use of school premises and grounds.
  2. Council are significantly involved in the development of the strategic plan and the AIP.
  3. Council is responsible for how the school raises income (over and above the funding provided by the government).
  4. The school council is responsible for developing particular policies to reflect the school’s values and support the school’s strategic plan. Day-to-day policies and procedures are managed by the principal and staff.
  5. The principal is an ex-officio of all council sub-committees.
  6. Sub-committees must have at least three members with at least one school council member.
  7. Schools are encouraged to have a finance sub-committee and others as appropriate.
  8. Decisions are always the decision of the whole council.  Decisions are made by voting, ideally by, consensus.
  9. The school council should keep the community informed about its operations by publishing a report following a meeting in the school newsletter and/or on the school website. A person does not have the right of access to the minutes or other documents or records of a school council under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
  10. .  A school council must call a public meeting at least once each year and report the proceedings of the council since the date of the previous public meeting. The council muse present the annual report to the meeting and, if the school council accounts have been audited, present a copy of the audited accounts.

Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying course and Refresher

6 10 2011

On October the 4th 2011 I completed the Discrimination and Harassment online course.  I was also required to complete the Discrimination, Harassment, Bullying Refresher which I did on October 5th 2011.  I obtained a perfect score in both online tests and the courses were valuable in reminding me of the needs and issues around these subjects.

David Hopkins at Bendigo South East College

9 09 2011

David spoke to all teachers from BSSC 4pm to 6pm at BSE on 7/9/11 and to leading teachers from BSSC at BSSC from 2.30 to 3.30 on Thursday 8/9/11.

In the first part of the meeting on Wednesday 7/9/11 Ron Lake spoke to assembled staff and highlighted challenges for teachers in the Bendigo area. In particular written literacy was an area that was well below where it should be and the uptake of mathematics in later years was poor. With regards to BSSC staff it indicated the likely challenge as being to continue to work on literacy skills across the board with all students and in addition attract more students to complete higher level maths.

David’s message was interesting but not new. He in fact claimed that he was not presenting anything fundamentally ground breaking but rather emphasising known good practices.  With regards to BSSC in particular (on the Thursday) he emphasised that our content was fine, but what we needed to work on was our pedagogy.  He described five areas of teaching which I’ve listed below. In particular I found the description of operating within a students “zone of proximal development” a valuable idea for achieving good outcomes. This idea is discussed in greater depth in his book “Every School a Great School”.  Reference to this can be found at  Some of the pages re this topic can be seen through book previews at Google Books. David also referred to John Hattie’s book “Visible Learning” and it’s a book which on first glance appears to be a valuable summary or synthesis of existing educational research ( a little like Marzano’s “What works in schools”).


When teachers set learning intentions, use appropriate pace, and have a clear and strong narrative about their teaching, then students are more secure about their learning, and achievement, understanding and curiosity is increased.


When learning tasks are purposeful, clearly defined, differentiated and challenging ( according to the student’s zone of proximal development) then the more powerful, progressive and precise the learning for all students.


Teachers systematically using high order questioning leads to the level of student understanding deepening and the level of engagement increasing. Students who are regularly required to analyse, synthesise and evaluate are more motivated and engaged.


Using feedback to inform future learning.


Peer assessment


Cooperative group structures to mediate between whole class instruction and students carrying out tasks.

Cisco Victorian Networking Academy Conference

26 05 2011

This was an all day conference from 9.30 till 5.30 at Cisco Head Office in Melbourne on 26th of May 2011.

A number of topics were covered at the conference. 

  1. New mappings had been made against the ICA11 Training Package and the Cisco Discovery and Exploration courses.  This work had been completed by Box Hill Institute.
  2. An Academy Evolution had occurred which meant we can can go anywhere for training of staff in the future.  BSSC will have a direct relationship with Cisco rather than Regional Academy. The following will exist.
  3. a) Instructor Training Centres for Victoria will be Box Hill and RMIT

    b) Academy Support Centre will be Box Hill

    c) There will also be NetAcad Resource Partners

  4. The role Cisco Academies will continued largely as is and therefore there appears no significant change directly to BSSC
  5. Harry Wang will look after quality assurance. Can share best practice with Harry as he needs to share best practice with Asia Pac – it needs to be measurable.
  6. Equipment Update
  7. a) New CCNA bundles

    b) ~72% off RRP for CCNA

    c) License Key required for new routers New equipment will require Windows 7 style security to protect IOS. Cost of new routers are slightly higher due to max RAM, flash. (i.e. a $600 router might become a $950 router). Only one IOS available for new routers. 2901 – 1 RU, 1941- 2 RU

    d) $4300 per pod basis

    e) Version 12 to version 15 of IOS – should be no cost for IOS under smartnet

  8. Telstra Graduate didn’t fill all positions – students with CCNA are highly regarded in this process – technical starting salary $60,000 –
  9. Netriders Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th of September, 2 members per team, and as many teams as you like. 18 years and over 31st Dec 2011.  50% theory and 50% packet tracer.

Bendigo Loddon Mallee Cyber Safety Project Presentation

3 05 2010

Attended 3 May 2010 – 9.30am to 3.30pm

Melissa Sevil of the Australia Federal Police spoke and described a number of aspects about the AFP’s involvement in cyber safety and a number of actual cases in which AFP were involved.

AFP have involvement with the Virtual Global Taskforce which have connections around the world and which has led to arrests in Australia for cyber related crimes.

Some other aspects spoken about:

  1. Child pornography is explicit content of persons under the age of 18.  Creating it is a illegal as is possessing and distributing.
  2. Think you know website has been setup by the AFP and has useful cybersafety information.  The think you know approach is have fun, stay in control, and report –obviously the reporting part is when the fun and control part aren’t what’s occurring.  The website has a report button.  Also it is possible to book a presentation from this site.
  3. Facebook has recently updated their safety centre at  You need to be 13 to have a facebook account.

Robyn Treyvaud also spoke.  She is the Founder & Director of CyberSafe World

Of interest was:

  1. Law report on radio national will be on tomorrow and the topic will relate to cybersafety 4 May 2010 – 8.30am
  2. Recommeded TED “what adults can learn from kids”.  I subsequently listened to it and although amazing it wasn’t really Cybersafety related.
  3. Links in her notes include one to which seems to be part of site which has interesting cybersafety related info and research.
  4. A number of statistics around cyber safety issues.  For example cases which concern an adult predator are only a small percentage of cases (i.e. 1%), most cases involve peers.  64% of bullied children seek help from friends rather than parents.  Other data was around children not getting a satisfactory response (i.e. things made worse) when details were shared with a teacher/guardian.  Perhaps most interesting, but I’m not sure I fully understood it, was around most of education and training should be directed towards training the largest group of children/students who are neither the perpetrators or victims but are the bystanders – aware but not necessarily acting.

Outstanding Education Support Team Award

4 10 2009

Before I recycle the print copy the 2009 award for BSSC for outstanding education support team was covered in the Shine publication for DEECD and is available here:

Charles Leadbeater – 2Treasury Place Melbourne 25 Sept 2009

25 09 2009

What follows are my brief notes from the one hour session with Charles Leadbeater who is a leading authority on innovation and creativity. Leadbeater sees relationships for learning embracing the family, workplace and community as well as the school as being centres for learning and being just as important.

Innovation occurs in extreme environments (i.e. 3rd world with limited resources). Charles had spent some time studying entrepenarial approaches to education in places like India and suggested their approach offered some leading examples of the changes required in education. He suggested the traditional way of trying to improve schools has reached a plateau.

People learn through relationships.  Learning with not just from – is more effective than.  His personal experience of secondary education was that of being done to and not being engaged.  He sees learning as a set of relationships.  Relationships build participation, recognition, care and motivation.  Without motivation the teaching skills are of limited value and the motivation frequently doesn’t come from teachers.

He used a fried egg on a plate analogy and suggested a need to operate on the white and the plate rather than just the yolk.  

Looked at social entrepreneurs.  He saw improvements in schools and reforms of schools.  Outside schools supplements schools – parental support, safety net around schools and then alternative radically different from current schools.  These radical alternatives are based on pull rather than push.  What you are going to learn will help you in the next few months.  We will start from where you are not from.  Make education fun – enjoyable to bring them back, “hole in the wall program” in india which has done well.  Huge reliance on peer to peer learning.

I enjoyed what Charles had to say and believed it made a lot of sense.  However, what was covered perhaps elucidated a problem more than a clear solution. Charles encouraged us to contact him and to continue the conversation. His contact details can be found at