Message from The Board Chair
Welcome to the first edition of the Mount Hawthorn Primary School's Board Newsletter. On behalf of the Board, I hope you and your child (or children) had a great start to Term 4! We hope you enjoy reading the first of what will be a regular series of Newsletters issued by your Board. As this is our first Newsletter, I thought it might be a good idea to say a little something about the Board and what it does.
STUDENT COUNCILLORS VISIT LOCAL TRADERS
One of the Board's functions is to promote the Schools in the local community and on the morning of Friday 26 October, members of the Student Council did just that. First and second semester councillors (Indira, Imogen, Isaac, Tylah, Mia, Nick, Annabelle and Hugh) split into three groups and we headed out with Mr Mackesey and Mrs Mears, to visit some local traders to thank them for their past support of the Schools. In addition to the "meet and greet" student councillors also gave out vouchers (redeemable by students for an icy pole at the Canteen) which local traders can present to students they consider are behaving in a courteous manner. The visits were very well received by business owners and the overwhelming feedback from the Councillors was that they enjoyed the chance to speak positively about their School.
Hugh, Tylah and Mia take a brief break from their "canvassing" duties and enjoy a restorative "Fluffy Koala".
THE BOARD'S STRUCTURE
As you know, the Mount Hawthorn Primary School and the Mount Hawthorn Education Support Centre ("the Schools") achieved Independent Public School status at the end of 2011 and this came into effect at the start of Term 2 this year. The School Education Act 1999 ("the Act") provides that every school must have a School Council. School Councils at IPS schools are referred to as School Boards – but only to make a distinction between schools with IPS status and those without.
Usually, every school has its own board, but the Act does allow for a joint Board to be formed in exceptional circumstances. It was decided that because of the close relationship and rapport between the Schools, and their close proximity, that we should apply to operate as a joint Board. I am delighted to be able to announce that the Minister for Education recently approved our request and that we are officially "a joint board" and therefore, we provide support to both Schools. Your Board currently has 11 members as follows:
2 x Principals of the Schools (Board members by virtue of their positions)
5 x Parent reps (elected by parents of students at the Schools)
3 x Staff reps (elected by staff of the Schools)
1 x P & C representative (elected by the P&C)
You might recall that this year, the Board election was held at the start of Term 2. We think this is a workable model because it allows for nominations to be called for at the start of the new school year, and for the Board's work to continue until the election has been held. We would therefore propose to continue using this election model. Board members hold office for 12 months, as does the Board Chair who is elected at the Board's first meeting after each election. Board members (including the Chair) can serve for consecutive terms of 12 months – assuming of course they are re-elected!
The Board is governed by the Act and by it’s "Terms of Reference". Board members are also required to observe the Board's "Code of Conduct". Copies of the Terms of Reference and the Code (plus a link to the Act) will be available on the Schools' revamped website.
The Board's role is very clearly set out in the Act. We are required to help the Schools deliver a quality educational experience to our children by:
establishing and reviewing the goals, priorities and policies of the Schools;
planning for and approving School budgets;
evaluating the performance of our Schools in achieving the goals set; and
promoting our Schools within community.
It is important to note that Act prohibits the Board from getting involved in the management and/or control of the Schools or in issues to do with the curriculum at the Schools. What this means is that management decisions that affect the Schools are taken solely by the Principals in accordance with relevant departmental policy. So whereas the Board's focus is more strategic and "big picture", the Principals are responsible to the Director General of Education for running the Schools in a safe, efficient and cost effective manner.
By way of an example, say the Board decided that in 2013, a goal of the Primary School would be to improve each student's performance in the NAPLAN literacy test by 5%. Whilst it is the Board's role to set that goal, it is up to the Principal to decide what resources will be needed to achieve that level of improvement in the area of literacy and how the curriculum will be delivered to students in order to achieve the set goal. In the example, the Board would have a role in evaluating whether or not the set goal was achieved.
WHAT HAS THE BOARD BEEN UP TO SO FAR THIS YEAR?
On taking office at the start of Term 2, our priority as a Board was to develop the necessary documents and structures to allow the Schools to successfully transition to Independent Public School ("IPS") status. This included developing Business Plans and signing off on the Delivery and Performance Agreement – the document needed to release departmental funding to the Schools. As part of that process, we also re-calibrated the Primary School's vision statement. Since completing those tasks, some of the things we have been working on include:
developing a communications plan to help guide the way we interact with the campus community;
developing a governance plan to help ensure that as a Board, we comply with all of our responsibilities under the Act and Terms of Reference;
writing to 137 local businesses and identities about our great campus and encouraging them to get involved;
developing a commendation scheme to enable the Board to recognise outstanding acts and/or conduct by students, parents, staff and community members;
successfully arranging for Kindy parents to be issued with vouchers by the City of Vincent exempting them from parking fees during the morning and afternoon pick-ups and drop-offs;
beginning work on a "master plan" for the campus to help guide our development over the next 10 years;
monitoring the budgets of the Schools;
working on the campus behavior management policy;
starting the consultation process about a possible revamp of the campus uniform policy; and
working on the school reporting policy.
Watch this space for more information and updates about your Board's important work.
Your Board meets approximately 6 times during the year on Wednesday evenings. All of our meetings are open, but we specifically invite the school community to at least one of our meetings in each year. This year our special meeting will occur on Wednesday, 07 November 2012
at 7.00 pm
in the Harbeck Resource Centre
– and we look forward to seeing you there! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will be more than happy to pass on your comments to Board members. Michael Jenkin, Board Chair
Do you know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to one or both of our Schools? If so, the Board's new Commendation Scheme will be of interest to you. The Commendation Scheme is designed to recognise:
"exceptional, outstanding or meritorious conduct or service that significantly impacts on and/or benefits the operations and/or activities of either or both of the Schools."
A Board Commendation consists of a beautiful certificate and can be awarded to students, teachers and staff of the Schools and/or parents and/or members of the community. A Commendation can also be awarded to a group of students or staff etc.
You can nominate someone for a Board Commendation at any time using the Commendation nomination form. The form will be available on the Schools' website shortly, but in the meantime, you can get a copy by emailing me at: email@example.com