October 2016
2/13-21 Vale Street, North Melbourne, 3051 | P: 9320 7100 | F: 9326 8147 |
E: |

Search VASSP web site:


 VASSP Executive

Judy Crowe

Noel Claridge
Deputy President

Harvey Wood
Harvey Wood

Anne Abbott
Vice President (AP)

George Porter

Sue Bell
Committee Nominee
to Executive

Tim Blunt
Committee Nominee
to Executive

Heather Thompson,
Committee Nominee to Executive

Executive Officer

Vicki Forbes

Field Officers


Rob Newton
Mobile 0408 347 202

Marie Ghirardello
Mobile 0438 373 017

Greg Williams
Mobile 0488 482 281

Garry Fletcher
Mobile0419 563 812

Project Services

Ian Wallis
Ian Wallis
mobile 0412 805 895


President’s Report


Initial Teacher Education

At recent VASSP regional meetings Marie Ghirardello, Greg Williams and I have been seeking feedback from our members so that we can put together a VASSP response to the Discussion Paper on Teacher Education in Victoria. It is worth noting changes that have occurred in the last decade.

  • Undergraduate acceptances into teacher training courses have increased significantly, due to the uncapping of undergraduate Commonwealth Supported Places in 2012.
  • The number of first preferences for teaching programs is about the same as they were a decade ago. About half the current pre-service teachers did not list teaching as their first preference.
  • Online ITE programs are becoming much more prevalent.
  • In 2004 approximately 4000 individuals commenced teacher training programs in Victoria. The number had increased to about 6500 by 2014. This explains the over-supply of candidates for vacancies in many schools and the huge burden being placed on schools to provide in-school experience – often for candidates who have no hope of eventually gaining employment.
  • In 2014, 23.8 per cent entered ITE in Victoria via the school leaver pathway with a reported ATAR. Admissions pathways for ITE students have changed in the last 10 years, with the biggest increase via VET/diploma/bridging course pathways.
  • Recorded ATARS for entry to ITE courses have fallen significantly. In 2004 a negligible number entered with a recorded ATAR between 30 and 50. The numbers in this category have increased considerably in the last ten years. As well there are increasing numbers gaining entry with scores even below these recorded ATARs.
  • Department data indicates that there will be a significant surplus supply of teachers in Victoria from 2016.

The discussion with our members affirms the vision that teaching should be a profession of choice for committed people from a range of backgrounds who have the capabilities and qualities to be successful in their studies and make excellent teachers. There should be multiple high-quality pathways into teaching that attract high-calibre candidates and ensure schools have a diverse and steady supply of teachers. Induction, mentoring and professional development opportunities are necessary in every school to support beginning teachers in their early years.

Our VASSP members have also generally indicated that they believe capability and suitability should be independently assessed and that threshold levels must be achieved in both areas. Effective teachers require both skill sets. 

There is strong support from our members

  • for a minimum ATAR to be set at 70+
  • for selection processes like that used by Teach for Australia
  • for the ‘filtering’ of suitable candidates at the beginning of ITE courses, not the end
  • that VET teachers need trade qualifications or similar
  • that many excellent candidates come into teaching as a career change
  • that life experiences can be really valuable but candidates still need a strong grounding in classroom practice
  • that pay scales need to recognise prior qualifications, and to recognise the financial requirements of ‘adults’ undertaking ITE
  • that observation visits from ITE providers be reinstated. This seems a particular problem in rural areas.

It is clear that accessing appropriately trained staff is particularly difficult in rural areas.

Speak Up

On 13th September the DET Mail included a reference to the changes to the Speak Up process. This program is a DET response to the IBAC inquiry, and is designed to support corporate and school staff to report suspected fraud, corruption and other serious matters (e.g. conflicts of interest). Speak Up is not designed for all workplace matters and does not replace existing ways to make complaints.

Principals have raised concerns about allegations they believe are frivolous or just about acceptable management decisions. Others have highlighted issues with the way allegations have been put to them.

The Department has responded to these concerns by initiating a new triage process that brings together experts from relevant parts of the Department to conduct an initial assessment of Speak Up matters to ensure only matters requiring further consideration are progressed and to ensure all matters are referred to the appropriate area.

Allegations of misconduct such as unsatisfactory conduct, bullying and harassment are now referred to the Employee Conduct Branch who then provides expert advice to the appropriate manager. 

The investment in the new system by DET is significant. Hopefully recent changes will improve the system.

The data regarding outcomes to date is particularly interesting. It will come as no surprise to principals that 58% of the complaints have been about school leadership. Our concern has always been that the service would bring out many school staff simply aggrieved about management decisions made by principals.

Of the 181 cases that have been received to date 46% were anonymous.

After all the investment in the Speak Up system only two of the 69 cases that have been completed have been substantiated. Sadly the median time to close cases is 83 days. One would hope that the turn-around time could be hastened as there is significant stress for individuals when complaints have been lodged about them.

Bracks Review

Over the last year there has been a great deal of discussion about the likely changes to school funding as a consequence of the Bracks Government Schools Funding Review. The report was completed in December last year, with 70 recommendations. In recent weeks DET has published its response to the Review re. the actions that will flow from the Review. It is difficult to see what will actually change with respect to school funding as a consequence of this lengthy and expensive process.

In its response DET has committed to:

  • Working towards the shared goal of improving outcomes for all students
  • Providing better information for all about school funding, performance and student outcomes
  • Targeting funding and resources to needy students
  • Strengthening the school system by increasing support for schools, encouraging collaboration by enhancing school accountability through stronger oversight.

The DET response states that “what gets measured gets done”. I worry that with this emphasis, all the things that schools do, which are difficult to measure, will be overlooked and we will narrow our focus to what we can easily measure (like VCE and Naplan).

The DET response also confirms the value of ‘Communities of Practice’. It refers to the $82.2m has been provided from 2016 to support the new regional model with an additional 150 staff.

The Review also proposed that schools should adopt alternative governance models, for example, where there is competition for enrolments or where schools are struggling to deliver access to a contemporary curriculum.

In essence, much of the DET response to the Bracks School Funding Review appears to be a commitment to changes that are already in place or concepts that are already well accepted (like needs based funding) rather than a blueprint for a new funding model for schools.

Victorian Curriculum F-10 – Implementation Support for schools

During the last week of term I met with Alan McLean and Sharon Foster from VCAA.

As you will be aware schools are required to use the Victorian Curriculum F-10 from the start of 2017.

The support being provided by VCAA  through the initiative to schools is the provision of funded planning time for all Victorian government school teachers.

60 Specialist Teachers are to be employed to develop and publish on-line resources and provide professional learning support to schools for ten curriculum priority areas.

There is to be funded and targeted professional learning by these Specialist Teachers for teams of teachers from schools in one or more of the ten curriculum priority areas.

Additional support to schools will be provided by regions through the Education Improvement Leaders (EILs). Unfortunately a number of these positions remain unfilled.

In Semester 2, teachers are be provided with planning time (half day per EFT) to prepare for the introduction of the Victorian Curriculum F-10 from 2017.

The Specialist Teachers are writing sample teaching and learning programs and assessment tasks and facilitating targeted professional learning programs focused on the priority areas.  The sample teaching and learning programs and assessment tasks will be published on the VCAA website. Specialist Teachers will provide advisory and professional learning support to teachers to the middle of the 2018 school year.

The VCAA surveyed all government schools earlier this year to ascertain their priorities from the ten curriculum priority areas.  Schools were requested to provide information about the focus of the support that they need, and the preferred timing of that support over the period 2016 to 2018. Sadly only about half the 1527 schools replied to this survey.

I am very aware that this year principals have been swamped by various accountability requirements, and the adoption of the new FISO. However the Victorian Curriculum is critical to what actually takes place in classrooms. The adoption of the new curriculum is mandated from 2017 so priority has to be given to ensuring the provision of curriculum planning time for teachers and supporting attendance of designated teachers at the targeted professional learning sessions facilitated by Specialist Teachers.

Information about the Victorian Curriculum F-10

For further information please contact

Sharon Foster, VCAA Victorian Curriculum F-10 Manager
Phone:             9032 1680


Alan McLean, VCAA Senior Technical Specialist (Curriculum)
Phone:             9032 1732

Inquiry into Expulsions

The Victorian Ombudsman is investigating school expulsions quoting figures from DET that show the number of students being expelled from government schools has increased in the past year.

The investigation will examine

  • Whether DET is complying with the Ministerial Order and policies regarding Government school expulsions
  • Whether at-risk students are over-represented in expulsion numbers
  • Whether DET is monitoring and preventing instances of informal expulsions.

Clearly expulsions from private schools are not under scrutiny. There have been numerous media reports of inappropriate behavior from students in these schools over recent months. The media tends to report on these 'expulsions', with no comments about where these students might subsequently complete their education. There are just comments about how these students don’t “measure up” to the “values” of these schools. But our schools are required to take these students, even when the students reside outside the individual school’s catchment zone, and regardless of the circumstances leading up to the expulsions.

It would be gratifying if all schools in receipt of public funding were held to account in the same way.

Parent Complaints Process

There was an election commitment to establish an Independent Panel to deal with complex parent complaints. Russell Monson represented VASSP on a consultative group that provided some advice regarding this initiative. Further information is attached. Click here.

Entrepreneurial Learning

VASSP and the Mitchell Institute instigated a program earlier this year for a group of Victorian schools to work with Yong Zhao to develop students’ capacity to be entrepreneurial. The attached newsletter (Click here) describes the program, and some of the progress to date.

Strategic Financial Management Advisor Positions

Two executive class positions are currently being advertised on Recruitment Online for Strategic Financial Management Advisors (formerly known as Technical Leadership Coaches).
The position IDs are:

  • Job ID - 1058121
  • Job ID - 1058122

The positions are Executive Class in the Teaching Service and are for a 3 year contract. The applications are due on 6th October but if you are interested you might directly contact Rob Craven, Manager, Financial Services Unit ( or phone 9637 3259)

Executive Officer’s Report


Annual General Meeting

We look forward to seeing you at the VASSP Annual General Meeting at Moonee Valley on Friday October 28th. Click here for the registration form (right-click to download). It will be a good program in the morning featuring Shaun Carney who is a journalist and advocate for state schools as well as Chris Bonnor who will give us a more national perspective on Myschool data. This is our final major event for the year. As well as presenting our Annual Report, the results of the recently held VASSP elections will be announced.

Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey

The 2016 Australian Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey is now open for new and existing participants. It is really important that you complete this survey – the longitudinal data has been extremely valuable and high response rates mean governments listen.

Click here for invitation to participate in the survey

What Gonski Really Meant

Click here for a terrific speech by Ken Boston about what Gonski really meant and how that’s been forgotten almost everywhere.

‘Welcome though it has been, the so-called ‘’Gonski funding” has bought us no more than time. It will be temporarily beneficial for as long as it lasts, but it is strategically irrelevant for the longer term. The problem that Gonski was seeking to address not only remains, but is yearly becoming more acute.’

Save our Schools

Click here for another very interesting article from the Save our Schools group – about how Apple and other multinationals are fleecing the disadvantaged.

The article comments on the ground breaking recent decision by the European Commission that has highlighted massive tax evasion by large multinational firms that depletes government revenue to invest in essential services such as health and education. The loss falls most heavily on disadvantaged families who get reduced access to quality health services and education opportunities for their children. The Federal Government claims that funding the $7 billion for the last two years of the Gonski school funding plan is not sustainable given the state of the federal budget. However, tax evasion by large multinational companies is a major drain on government revenue and it needs to be stopped to provide decent health and education for disadvantaged families and children.

There is also an article (available here) which looks at a new report the Productivity Commission, which claims that it is “lifting the bonnet on Australia’s schools”. Unfortunately, it failed to lift the bonnet on its own funding figures and see that the funding engine is badly misfiring. The article argues that the Commission has greatly exaggerated the actual increase in funding and it has missed the key point that past funding increases have not been directed at reducing under-performance. Past funding increases have favoured more advantaged schools over disadvantaged schools. As a result, school performance has largely stagnated over the past 10 years.

Pathways in Technology program at Newcomb Secondary College

This P-TECH Program, is the first in the country and is supported by the Federal Government –it is a collaborative education and industry linked model.  The 2017 Year 10 students will have the opportunity to study a Certificate 111 qualification in Information Technology, Health Science or Business whilst at the same time completing their Year 10 studies.  Unique to this program is each student having the opportunity to work with an experienced industry mentor from one of five industry partners.

For further information please contact Newcomb Secondary College on 03-52481400 or

Anti Poverty Week Annual Fundraiser 16-22 October 2016

This year, State Schools’ Relief is promoting Topsy Turvy Day for its annual fundraiser during Anti Poverty Week. This event aims to create an understanding of the difficult circumstances some students face, in a fun and inclusive way. We encourage your school to participate in an event to raise awareness of poverty, and fundraise for the cause.

Children and teachers can join in by wearing either their school uniform or free dress clothes backwards, and donating a gold coin. 100% of donations go directly to helping kids in Victoria.

Promotional material will be mailed directly to each Victorian State School, and is also available on our website

Reminder – please send in donations from past fundraising events. Bank details are available on our website


Year 7 Camps, Sports and Excursion Fund (CSEF) Uniform Subsidised Package

Thanks to those who took the time to provide feedback on the 2017 CSEF Package, it’s much appreciated!

For Year 7 students commencing in 2017, State Schools’ Relief will provide one item from each row of the table below:

BOYS items

GIRLS items

Black leather shoes   Lace up / Skate

Black leather shoes   Lace up / Skate / Tbar

Jumper / Jacket / Bomber / Rugby Top

Jumper / Jacket / Bomber / Rugby Top

Shorts / Trousers

Summer Dress / Winter Skirt + Shirt / Trousers + Shirt / Shorts + Shirt

Long Sleeve / Short Sleeve Shirt

If above is NOT a Summer Dress then select either:

Long Sleeve Shirt / Short Sleeve Shirt


All students will receive one free pair of State Schools’ Relief pair of shoes

A template for an order form and a shoe sizing chart that you can give to parents is available. The order form template can be edited to match the items available with your school uniform requirements and can assist schools to manage the online application process.   These can be downloaded from the State Schools’ Relief website at

What do you need to do?

1.     Ensure your uniform profile is up to date.

2.     Read the information fact sheets for schools and parents available at

3.     Collect completed forms from parents

4.     Lodge online applications with State Schools Relief from 2nd November 2016

As always, if you would like to arrange for Sharon or Filomena to visit your school to discuss the increasing number of ways State Schools’ Relief can assist your school, please contact Sharon or Filly

Sharon 0477 049 708 

Filly 0477 561 656 

Any questions, we’d love to hear from you!   03 8769 8400

State Schools’ Relief is a not for profit charity that supports the needs of disadvantaged government school students by assisting them with new school uniforms and footwear.

State Schools’ Relief

State Schools’ Relief will again host its annual Anti Poverty Week Lecture. This year they are delighted to have Tony Keenan, CEO from Launch Housing, as the key note speaker. This year’s topic is “Homelessness as it relates to schools”.

Click here for an invitation.  Please rsvp by Monday 17thOctober 2016.

Future Problem Solving for gifted and talented kids

PROMOTE giftedness in your school!

Principals are invited to attend a special briefing about the benefits of being enrolled in the international trans-disciplinary critical and creative thinking and problem-solving program FPSP, embraced worldwide. You will also be invited to tour Nossal High School which is a select-entry, high-performing government school.

The Future Problem Solving Program meets the needs of all schools in extending and enriching student endeavour ….and your school should be part of this. 

Click here for more information.

Mitchell Institute

 The Mitchell Institute is presenting a free screening of the new award-winning documentary Most Likely to Succeed on Wednesday 12 October. The event will bring together schools and stakeholders participating in two of our flagship projects:

This acclaimed film explores compelling new approaches to education that aim to provide opportunities for students to have strong agency in their learning.

Following the film there will be a panel discussion facilitated by Dr Michelle Anderson (Director, Interface2Consulting) that features Professor Bill Lucas (Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester), a principal and a high school student.

Places are limited. Register to secure your place. 
School Council members, parents and students are most welcome to attend.

Read the newsletter "The Paradigm Shifters - Entrepreneurial Learning in Schools initiative" here.

School Law Conference

Click here for information about this year’s School Law Conference which will be held on November 22nd in Melbourne.

Teach to Lead

Teach To Lead  is a program designed to support middle leaders to maximise impact on students and is seeking applicants for its 2017 cohort. The program is delivered in partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Training, through the Bastow Institute.

 Teach to Lead participants in 2016 have said great things about the program - 100% of participants would recommend this professional development to others in a similar role. The two-year program involves 12 days of face-to-face sessions, as well as regular one-on-one coaching. Teachers in formal leadership roles are welcome to apply, in schools serving low socioeconomic communities. Further details on eligibility are at our website. Applications are now open and will close on 31 October. To find out more click here.

Recent PCE appointments

Congratulations to the following people who have recently been appointed to Principal or Assistant Principal positions.



New Position


David Stuchbery

Ballarat Secondary College

Assistant Principal

Mount Clear College


Sarah Foley

Lara Secondary College

Assistant Principal

Lara Secondary College


Thomas Bleicher

Boort District P-12 College

Assistant Principal

Boort District P-12 College


Abby Walklake

Tyrrell College

Assistant Principal

Tyrrell College


Bronwyn Lokan

Noble Park Special Development School

Assistant Principal

Springvale Park Special Development School

Daniel McFerran

Keilor Downs Secondary College

Assistant Principal

Keilor Downs Secondary College

Gerard Fauvrelle

Keilor Downs Secondary College

Assistant Principal

Keilor Downs Secondary College

Kondila Atzarakis

Victoria University Secondary College

Campus Principal

Victoria University Secondary College

Dale Ritchie

Keilor Downs Secondary College

Assistant Principal

Keilor Downs Secondary College

Diamandi Dedes

Taylors Lakes Secondary College


Taylors Lakes Secondary College

Justin Matt

Roxburgh College – The Gateway School

Assistant Principal

Diamond Valley College


Leanne Winfield

Bentleigh Secondary College

Assistant Principal

Bentleigh Secondary College

Leanne Miller

Rushworth P-12 College


Rushworth P-12 College


News from Bank Australia

Carrum Downs Secondary College Student -Run Café

baBank Australia supports student-run café at Carrum Downs Secondary College Bank Australia is proud to be extending our 40 years of support for Australian schools by funding an expansion of Café Salubrius – a student run community restaurant and café at Carrum Downs Secondary College.

The initiative is run by students enrolled in either the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Hospitality or the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL), so the initiative helps equip students with job-ready skills that will help them gain employment in the future. The Bank Australia funding will enable Café Salubrius to expand and offer street-access so the local community can support the café.

One in seven people aged 15-25 are unemployed and seeking work in the local Frankston and Mornington Peninsula area, so offering students practical work experience is vital. According to Beverley Boys, Business Manager at Carrum Downs Secondary College, the project will help students to access real life learning and be work ready. “Hospitality has been identified as one of the major employment areas in our region. The community café will enable our students to interact more with the community and increase their employability in the future,” Beverley said.

Bank Australia, a 100% customer owned institution, invests 4% of after-tax profits in projects that contribute to the mutual prosperity of people, our communities and the planet.

The inaugural Bank Australia Impact Fund Small Investments Round opened in February 2016, offering funding of up to $10 000 for projects addressing one of the following priority areas: environmental sustainability; gender equality; reconciliation; disability and educational disadvantage.

Bank Australia is committed to supporting the Australian education sector through partnerships, funding through the Impact Fund and offering great service and products to schools, teachers and other education professionals. To find out more visit