South Australian Area School Leader’s Association
President – Pat Maloney – Mount Compass Area School
Vice President – Chris Roberts – Streaky Bay Area School
Vice President –Robyn Wohling – Kimba Area School
Treasurer – Leonie Falland –Mannum Area School
Monday 4th February 2013
EDC 4 Milner Street Hindmarsh 5007
The Executive Suite – Level 2
Present: Pat Maloney, Steve Bennett, Kylie Eggers, Chris Roberts, Ray Marino, Leonie Falland, Robyn Wohling, Ian Kent.
Apologies: Lesley Murray, Prue Hunter
Minutes: Kym O’Loughlin
The newly appointed Minister for Education and Child Development – Jennifer Rankine may briefly pop into the meeting during the day.
Kylie Eggers has a member wanting other schools sites around 150 enrolments that can provide advice on leadership structure. The executive provided some suggestions.
Lesley Murray has resigned from the Executive.
The remaining executive need to decide how to fill the position. The next person going by the election held in 2012 was Jim Michalanney. The executive needs someone from the far north region for balance.
Before 2013 elections the Executive need to encourage nominations from areas/regions not currently represented.
Jim should be given first right of passage at the position first with an explanation of the regional balance on exec at the moment.
Pat Maloney will contact Jim as President of the Association and offer the position to him.
If Jim declines the exec will search for a rep from the north region.
Ray Marino feels that executive trips to regions and schools in the past have been a good exercise to drum up support and thinks this should be done again. The Executive agree that this would be a worthwhile exercise as Area School Principals would appreciate support from someone who understands and empathises with their situations.
FAR NORTH: Chris Roberts and Ray Marino
SOUTH EAST: Steve Bennett & Ian Kent
YORK & MID NORTH: Robyn Wohling and Kylie Eggers.
Steve Bennett suggests touching base with school sites in their area before future executive meetings to table issues/queries that members are currently having.
Chris Roberts suggests each executive member taking 5-6 schools from the member list to touch base with prior to executive meetings.
Suggestion made to contact schools prior to road trips to ensure the visit is at a convenient time for Principals.
Pat will send a letter to the regional directors to inform them of the Executive visits to school sites during Term 2.
Lesley Murray will be sent something from the Executive to thank her for her time.
1. Minutes from last Executive Meeting
2. Business Arising
Appear in the agenda.
3. President Report.
The CE’s Think Tank:
The CE’s think tank that took place in Term 4 2012 was not what Pat Maloney was expecting. This day was held here at EDC with DECD Executive in casual clothing, no mobile phones were allowed. People from Families SA and Health were also present. This day was really about how the three departments should work together.
Each session had a theme set around how the new agency would work together.
There was no chance to highlight what the executive had brainstormed in the teleconference prior to this meeting.
There is a follow up day on April 5th 2013 – Pat is hoping that this day will reveal more of what the new structure will actually look like.
Were there real outcomes from the day?
There were 5 focus groups visited during the day that was collated at the end of the day and the messages were presented to the attendees.
Some of the notions were making better use of schools resources and schools being open 24/7.
There is definitely a focus on more accountability and/or autonomy, and this was also a theme at the last executive forum attended by Pat.
How autonomous will Principals be for the health and families SA components of the new structure?
What level of cooperation and shared leadership will occur within a new structure or is this all going to fall on Principals shoulders and workloads?
Robyn Wohling highlights issues with one health representative in certain remote areas and the ability for that one person to service all school sites in that area successfully.
Ian Kent highlights that there are little funds left over in school budget to cover all school expenses. Who will make decisions about where funds are spent and how?
Pat states that there was no discussion about governance at the CE’s Big Day In.
The type of model emerging is not necessarily something that will work in both metro and country/rural areas.
There is a meeting with Garry Costello on 1st March 2013 and Pat suggests this is a good opportunity to table the Association’s input for how a new model should look and operate.
Chris Roberts shares that in a visit to his region early in Term 4; Keith Bartley said the notion of no regions was not correct and that they would exist in some shape or form and also reiterated that they are still building a proposed model from the ground up.
There is a concern that in this possible new model schools sites would be forced to compete against each other for access to services.
Cost factor of providing services through schools needs to be taken into account.
Who is going to ensure that the education agenda is kept strong through a combined new model with health and families SA?
Chris Roberts will accompany Pat to the meeting with Garry Costello on 1st March 2013.
The agenda for this meeting will cover better communication to school sites and leaders about as well as possibilities for a new structure.
How does Keith Bartley intend on pulling all the feedback together to start building/ new system from the ground up? What will be the process?
It is frustrating to give input into something when you do not know what it will or could look like.
Pat has picked up two new groups to represent Area Schools on
1. Adolescent Middle years of Schooling Working Party – this group are meeting quite regularly. Keith Bartley has asked this group to look at year 7 moving into Secondary. This is a valid Area Schools issue as it will affect the way Area Schools are funded if year 7 students are funded as Secondary students if moved. This group’s timeline currently spans to the middle of this year, and is chaired by Brendyn Semmons.
This group met last Friday with two meetings at the end of last year.
The next meeting is in a fortnight.
2. The Senior Secondary Working Party – another group that has formed run by Helen Wildash. This group met at the end of last year and looked at the SACE review and the Australian Curriculum.
An Area School’s issue surfaced here in the occurrence of school principals that are appointed with no primary background and other areas critical and individual to the Area School leader’s position.
Pat asks the Executive if this is an area the Association can give specific support on. This could be a session that Principals attend for 1-2 hours and would be helpful to new principals.
The Executive agree that this suggestion has merit.
Leonie Falland suggests to advertise on the chat list that this type of support can be provided and ask new leaders to let executive know if they would like to take up the offer.
A list of new Principals is needed to identify where support may be needed the most.
It is suggested and supported that SACE and DECD are made aware that this type of support is needed.
Pat will raise this at the SACE partnership meeting so SACE can pick up on this issue from their point of view. The best avenue for DECD is Richard Hellier – Pat will follow up with him also.
National Partnerships Funding Group:
Pat has been involved in this group – there have been a couple of wins such as keeping the regional leadership consultants.
All schools would not have had access to these funds without representatives on this group pushing for that to happen.
The Red Tape Review Group:
This is continuing with Pat as the representative.
This group has been asked to do a summary of what red tape they think they have reduced.
Index of Disadvantage:
Represented by Pat – he is pushing for an index of complexity that takes R-12 school sites into account along with isolation etc. The group seems to be in favour of this suggestion.
Conversation around the educational level of a student’s mother have taken place here as research shows that this is the biggest indicator of success – so this will be built into the index of disadvantage.
Numerous emails have been received about census data with the same purpose to it – this is very frustrating and Steve Bennett has sent an email to central office outlining this issue.
Learnlink has complicated email communication with leadership receiving all types of unnecessary communications. The benefits of Learnlink are not necessarily clear at the moment. Perhaps some time is needed to allow for the changeover period.
Area Schools list circulated for executive members to write their name against for contacting – list of Executive members and their group of schools provided as an attachment to these minutes..
4. Treasurer Report
Bank balance is healthy of about $30k approximately – Leonie will flick Kym a copy of the report.
New members need to be targeted. A bigger push on coordinators and deputy’s is preferred.
Ron Pratt from Lucindale has not continued.
There have been some movement amongst Area School Leaders this year.
There are some funds to be paid back to the Association from the Coalition SAEL profit.
Leonie is interested in her regional leader’s conference and sponsorship as a model for the Association to take on.
A gold/silver/bronze model would be good to offer to the Associations sponsors.
Sponsors for the coming conference include: KW Wholesalers, Teachers Health, Credit Union SA (this funds the best practice awards), Shadeport, Vectra and another company in the way of IT services. The executive need to decide which company the association would like to target for IT.
Devon clothing is a regular sponsor however often prices themselves out of the market for Area Schools.
Ray Marino suggests using the Credit Union newsletter to lift the profile of the Association.
Pat suggests looking at the criteria for the best practice awards as it seems a little narrow.
The Executive agree to send something out to the members first asking for feedback on the criteria, application process and any other areas.
Ray Marino will format a one page feedback document including the present criteria with an explanation of the purpose of the review.
Steve Bennett suggests that there are businesses each school site and leader interacts with that could be approached for sponsorship – Leonie is happy to contact people if names and contact details are given to her.
Chris Roberts has a list of contacts through booking the Eyre and Western conferences he is willing to tap into.
We should be setting the price of the partnership and honour the partnership by displaying their logos on the website, newsletters etc.
Leonie will bring a proposal for sponsorship structure to the next Association teleconference.
5. 11.30am-12.00pm: Steve Portlock and Jan Paterson – Coalition Update
Introductions – Pat Maloney thanks Steve and Jan for their time.
Both Jan and Steve are on national executives – with the upcoming national election these groups will want to flex their muscle.
How do SAASLA get information about this? It is useful for the Area Schools Executive to gain information from these national executives through the Coalition.
Jan comments that regional/area issues come up regularly at ASPA Executive meetings.
In future Jan and Steve to use their time with the SAASLA Executive to relay this information.
Gonski is on the national agenda at the moment – at a recent meeting it was announced that SA will be signing off on Gonski soon – this is interesting news and is a space to be watched.
There has been a lot of gossip around Gonski however there is nothing solid yet.
NSW and QLD have suffered massive cuts in education across the board and gossip says under Gonski there is a sign off that there will be no cuts in state Education Budgets. The suspicion is that these cuts have taken place in case Gonski is signed off.
Underperforming schools and intervention is being picked up by the Labour Government.
Students with Disabilities:
The national definition and data collection and the process for this to take place state by state are happening. Interstate definitions are less inclusive that SA’s current definition. 70% of funding will still come under the state definitions.
There is a reference group taking place at the moment. The Minister last week announced that it is not something she is looking at as a priority.
Pre service teacher training:
Steve feels this is a high agenda item. Each University has a group looking at how they can implement a program for pre service teaching training. This issue is still in its early days.
Peter Popp/Rosalie Dohnt will be running workshops in relations to the new EB. There is quite a lot of unknown information at the moment.
Steve sees it as the role of the Associations to support Principals with the implementation of the EB.
The workshops need to be structured in a way that information is processed in a clarified manner.
Steve wants a strong statement about FIR from the HR group – however this is written in the new EB. Reclassification will be a topic covered in the proposed workshops.
Metro/Primary Weighted Issue:
Proposed version of recruitment and selection. In the metro area the green light for contracts happened the week before week 0. This is not acceptable and there needs to be a more timely procedure – Steve is presenting an alternative procedure to DECD in the near future.
Ian Kent tabled the issue of taking up better offers after an initial contract had already been accepted. The staff member should be made to honour the first contract unless it is for a higher paid position. Jan and Steve agree.
This occurs in some circumstances due to contract positions not having certainty around their positions continuing.
The big issues facing all Associations this year are the new Minister and the changed agenda in regards to the DECD structure as well as Australian Curriculum.
There is quite a bit of change federally and state occurring this year with Education as a platform.
Jan and Steve have briefly met the new Minister.
She has stated that she is frustrated when things do not happen quickly, so Jan and Steve feel she may shake things up a little.
Her ministerial staff has been described as very experienced by Keith Bartley.
Numeracy/Literacy Strategy is now in the holding bay without sign off – the new Minister needs to agree/approve this strategy before it now goes ahead.
DECD Central office has had massive movements in staff.
There will be a lot of support needed for leaders in regards to performance management.
Jan remarks that Performance Management of Principals has not been up to scratch.
How will Principal appointments happen in a new cluster type model? Watch this space.
The new DECD System:
The next CE day is April 5th 2013.
The structure is still very uncertain.
The Leadership Institute:
There has been no movement on this either – this is probably still on hold while the new Minister settles into her position.
Jan and Steve talked with Keith about the secrecy that exists in the Department and why this happens? Keith agreed with them that too much is considered confidential – it has become part of the culture of DECD.
A new communication strategy to schools:
Garry Costello has been working on this. He agrees that the major block to this is long standing central office employees that only know one way to operate.
There have been three reviews of this with the same recommendations.
There are new people in DECD central office that are great additions. These people are surprised by the ‘clunkiness’ of DECD processes.
6. Portfolio Reports –
Principal’s Australia – Ian Kent & Ray Marino
Jim Davie’s is the CE of this organisation now.
PALNET is really being pushed at the moment – it is like a social media for Principals.
John Laing Awards and Mind Matters happen through this organisation.
Next meeting is in March 2013. Feedback wanted on the John Laing Award, Ray feels the award needs to have its profile lifted and the current group is working towards this at the moment.
Better links with media is needed.
Are there interstate groups like SAASLA? Robyn Wohling has some contacts in WA. (Fiona Yeats) these contacts are coming to the 2013 SAASLA conference.
It is suggested and agreed that the Executive touch base with John Halsey for the next face to face Executive meeting (Week 2 Term 2).
HR – Steve Benne, Robyn Wohling, Kylie Eggers
Kylie attended the last meeting – the EB was signed off the following day.
There is not a lot of consultation in this group.
Next meeting is taking place at the end of Week 4 – please let Kylie know if there are any issues you would like tabled.
All types of school leaders experienced problems and this can be tabled through the Coalition also.
Performance management of poor staff processes need looking at it.
There is an issue with staff being made offers and then pulling out due to a better offer being made elsewhere after the original contract was accepted. This is not fair on the system and needs to be looked at.
What is the level of counsellor positions in a PCO6?
There is no Coordinator 2 position anymore apparently, so they are then paid as a Coordinator 3. However the Coordinator 2 position is still listed in the new EB.
FIR does not exist – a clear statement needs to be made to all Principals regarding this as there is a fair amount of confusion.
Ian Kent and other Executive members have concerns for this area.
Curriculum portfolio – Robyn Wohling (Secondary)
Not a lot of movement on Secondary issues.
Most things have come out to schools around the Australian Curriculum.
If there are issues or needs in regards to curriculum please let Robyn Wohling know.
Ross Shepherd is recommended for primary maths in this area.
The biggest hole for Australian Curriculum is primary history – we need to find someone that will support primary teachers with the implementation.
There have been funds for primary implementation but nothing for secondary.
Most schools have just labelled this as Australian Curriculum funds and use the funds across both primary and secondary.
Lesley Murray’s spot for Primary Curriculum needs replacing on a group run by Kim Grant.
Prue Hunter is suggested as she may have a primary background – Pat will contact Prue in regards to this.
Membership – Kym O’Loughlin & Kylie Eggers
Assigned schools list to be added into the minutes for Executive members to contact.
Coordinators and DPs to be contacted through the site leaders.
Only two new Area School leader appointments appeared in the DECD brochure but have heard of others so a list needs to be checked through.
Membership form to be emailed to all executive by Kym.
ICT / Learning Technologies – Chris Roberts & Ian Kent
A couple of key video conferencing personnel have been lost with the recent cuts to central office.
No answer as yet as to who will be the new go to person for this.
Chris has been involved in a panel looking at a way to procure ICT support for schools.
This has not concluded but the group has asked for tenders from large IT companies.
This will be like a menu of services that school leaders/sites can pick from depending on their needs.
The panel is probably ¾ of the way through their process, Chris hopes to be releasing information from this process by the end of Term 1 2013.
DIAF – Leonie Falland & Steve Bennett
Last meeting was held at the end of 2012, the group will continue to meet this year.
A lot of group members were retiring.
In Term 2 they asked Marlene Henschke to look at DIAF, a draft has come out to schools and nothing has been heard since then what is happening with this.
The new DIAF committee is made up of DECD/Families SA and is more of a combined group.
The decision making is not as rapid as before.
Leonie is unaware of who will head this group this year, watch this space.
No comment made on validation or what that process will look like.
Thoughts are that they will use the four broad areas.
Leonie feels this new group will not have the same impact as the previous group but this has been an interesting group to be on.
Katrina Webb who was part of the Literacy Secretariat has been a great help in this area providing great material and the Executive look forward to having Katrina’s input again in this area.
Literacy & Numeracy Secretariat – Ray Marino, Robyn Wohling & Steve Bennett
Robyn Wohling attended the last Literacy Secretariat meeting.
Garry Costello asked Robyn if she would be interested in sitting on the numeracy group but has heard nothing more since the invite.
The Literacy Secretariat is no more – it is now Literacy and Numeracy.
Steve Bennett was asked to be part of a group (of around 40) that conducted a one day think tank around the Literacy and Numeracy strategy.
Have they taken on board the success of the primary maths/science strategy?
This strategy was really good and useful in school sites.
The update on this will be put on the agenda for the Association meeting with Garry Costello.
Professional Support of (new leaders) & Student Voice – Ray Marino, Kylie Eggers & Leonie Falland
Strategy of visits to schools discussed earlier and the Executive have picked school sites for each to contact.
SACE Portfolio Principals Advisory Committee – Pat Maloney
This group is meeting next Monday; Pat will be attending the meeting and will report back to the Executive.
7. Issues from the field/AOB
1. Breakdown Maintenance
Ian Kent would like to know how people are going receiving their reimbursements from last year (2012). There is still a discrepancy in this area.
Clarification was one of the things that were promised by DECD.
There are perhaps too many grey areas with preventative maintenance.
This essentially ends in a decision between fixing things and proving curriculum for kids.
Christmas cleaning was far below adequate.
Ian had people arrive at 7.00pm at night and given access by the cleaner to clean windows at his school site.
The director of the cleaning company insisted he did not need approval to gain access to the school.
Cleaning standards are not acceptable either – which is partly due to insufficient time allowances to complete the job properly.
The DECD formula for cleaning (x no of students = x no of sq. meters cleaning) seems to be a conversation being had at the wrong level.
Cleaning schools needs to be valued from the top down.
Some Executive members believe that cleaning was much better when the Principals could organise their own cleaners locally and not use large companies dictated by DECD.
Steve Bennett suggests that when contacting allocated schools specific feedback is asked on issues such as cleaning to determine specific patterns in occurrences. The Executive agree to do so.
Pat will take cleaning and breakdown maintenance to the Coalition to see if this is an issue across the board.
The Executive agree that when visiting school sites they will try and construct a picture of how they are travelling in these areas.
Three people from WA will come and attend the conference and act as a speaker/presenter.
Public Independent Schools – communities had to apply to become this in WA, and then the school site received a resource allocation.
John Boylan – recently retired, was a principal of an independent public school for 4 years. These schools are similar to Area Schools in SA.
John has been recommended as an engaging speaker.
Fiona Yates – Secretary of the District High Schools Association (similar to SAASLA).
Fiona has committed to attending with the President of her Association.
Funding offered to help these people attend the conference – Executive suggests paying for airfares and accommodation.
Three people in total committed from WA.
Robyn Wohling tried other states but with no luck so far.
Chris Roberts suggests some principals in NSW that have been appointed a cluster principal.
Ian Kent suggests that these schools have a few issues in attracting staff as they have separated themselves from the ‘system’.
WA schools seem to of originally been a lot more controlled so with the new system are now similar to what Area Schools have currently.
WA attendees have flagged issues with being part of a cluster.
This could offer a really good opportunity to see how another state operates.
A session with small group work and then a panel is suggested by Robyn.
(If this was implemented in SA – how would affect our schools?)
Joint Conference with the SA Small Schools Association:
The Executive suggest presenting Susan Podger with rough idea of what the Area Schools Executive focus will be for the conference.
Robyn will try and connect with a NSW contact – however 3 from WA might be enough to hear their model in detail.
Ray Marino’s son in Victoria may be able to suggest a couple of people to connect with along the same lines.
Is it worth inviting Garry Costello, Gino DeGennaro and other DECD Executives to be part of the discussions in the group work session and then be part of the panel?
Steve Bennett suggests to find a school site story Australia wide that has turned outcomes around and delve into the what, why, when, where?
This story could already exist in WA – Robyn will discuss with Fiona.
Suggested conference date: Thurs/Fri 8th & 9th August.
An initial session to give the context of the WA system would be good.
Middle section could be discussion time – a good chunk of time needed for this.
Wednesday night conference dinner – Keith Bartley could possibly give the context of the new system.
Thursday programme centred on WA guests – Garry Costello could be invited for the day so he has the context when it comes to the panel session.
Last session of the conference will be the Panel.
AGM to be held after conference programme on the Thursday.
Thursday night dinner will occur with the presentation of the Best Practice Awards.
Friday could feature sharing of best practice in schools.
Outline of the programme to be given to Small Schools for them to have influence on the input.
The Executive are open to both dinners being held together with SSASA Members.
The whole Executive will assist Robyn Wohling in the planning of the 2013 conference.
4. Disability & Down Syndrome Support – Steve Bennett
Steve would like the Executives opinion on his situation.
His school was given 20hrs support last year for Down Syndrome Child Level D by The Department, this year has been given only 11hrs support. This child needs just about 24 hour care.
Ian Kent suggests for the parents to write a letter to the Minister and CC in David Pisoni.
There needs to be a seamless transition from kindergarten through all schooling support.
Robyn suggests only having the child for the amount of time that support is given.
However this may get the family offside. It is best to not try and exclude the family.
Ian suggests bringing this up with the Coalition – as Special Schools is a member association also. This may be a general issue with all school sites – Pat will table at the Coalition meeting.
5. Change of Executive Meeting Dates:
Term 2 meeting will be changed to Wednesday 8th May (Week 2) – Kym to change room booking to accommodate this.
The next SAASLA Teleconference will be in Week 7 – Wednesday 13th March
8.00am – 9.00am. Kym will organise the teleconference details.
Note: Jim Michalanney has accepted the vacant SAASLA Executive position.
Kym will forward minutes and meeting requests to Jim.
Meeting close 2.55pm
Wednesday 13th March 2013 (Week 7)