Tuesday, 1 April 2014

North-West Tasmania’s top literacy and numeracy students honoured


Tas Gov LogoDepartment of Education Media Release



Colin Pettit
Secretary, Department of Education
 
1 April 2014



North-West Tasmanian students who have excelled in literacy and numeracy have been recognised at a ceremony at the Penguin District School Community Learning Centre today.

Department of Education Secretary, Colin Pettit, today congratulated students who were presented with certificates as the top performing students in the North West in the 2013 NAPLAN tests.

“59 students from Grades 3, 5, 7 and 9 in 48 North-West Tasmanian schools received awards,” Mr Pettit said.

“19 students were awarded certificates for being in the top one per cent in the 2013 literacy and numeracy monitoring tests, and a further 53 students were awarded certificates for being top of their school in NAPLAN testing.

“13 of these students received two awards for being both in the top one per cent state-wide and the top student in their school.

“Strong literacy and numeracy skills are the building blocks for all learning and provide a strong foundation for future success.

“Improving our literacy and numeracy rates is a key priority for the State Government, and the 2013 NAPLAN results showed that Tasmanian students have consolidated their progress in the number of students achieving national minimum standards.

“Over the last two years there has been an enormous effort at a system and school level to improve the literacy and numeracy outcomes of Tasmanian students and results show those efforts are making a difference.

“While there is still work to do in this area, today’s event is a chance to publicly recognise the achievements of students who are already excelling in literacy and numeracy.

“While NAPLAN testing is primarily used as a diagnostic tool for teachers and schools, it is still important we recognise our students that do very well in these tests, just as we recognise students that do well in other areas of the curriculum and school life.

“I’d like to congratulate them all for their outstanding results.

“Teachers and school leaders also deserve credit for these results and I’d like to thank them for their commitment and dedication in helping students to reach their full potential,” Mr Pettit said.

The awards ceremony is now in its second year.

International Students Welcomed to Tasmania


Tas Gov LogoDepartment of Education Media Release



Colin Pettit
Secretary, Department of Education
 1 April 2014


 L-R: Yuko Takai (Japan), Tania Huang (China), Quynh Tran (Vietnam), Wilawan Nonsri (Thailand), Eva Chiu (Taiwan), Vivienne Wang (China), Monica  Li (China), Flora Chan (Hong Kong) and  Steffen Kimmerle (Germany). Photo: Karen Brown from Karen Brown Photography

International students studying in Tasmania were officially welcomed to the state at a community event at the Derwent Sailing Squadron today.

Department of Education Secretary, Colin Pettit, said the event celebrates Tasmania’s vibrant international student community and is an opportunity for students to network with homestay families, friends, teachers, and members of the education community.

“I am delighted to welcome many of the almost 5,000 international students that Tasmania will host across all our education sectors in 2014,” Mr Pettit said.

“Many of these international students would have had a large range of choice in where to study and it reflects well of Tasmania’s education sector that they chose to study here.

“Tasmania is an ideal place for international students to study as our schools provide a world-class education within a safe and welcoming community.

“International students provide many benefits to the state, bringing with them their own cultures and languages to enhance the cultural diversity of our schools and communities.

“They also provide local students with the opportunity to make global connections, giving them an insight into other countries and a better understanding of international issues.”

Mr Pettit also welcomed ten international education agents currently conducting a tour of the Tasmanian school sector who attended the welcome event to talk to students about their experiences studying in Tasmania.

“The importance of international education is increasing being recognised with Study Tasmania promoting Tasmania as a quality study destination for international students,” he said.

Study Tasmania hosted today’s event as part of its support of international students currently studying at Government, private and independent schools, TasTAFE, and the University of Tasmania.

The event included international food, entertainment and activities, and an expo by community organisations including volunteering groups, Medibank, and Sport and Recreation Tasmania.

For more information about Study Tasmania, visit www.studytasmania.tas.gov.au

Friday, 28 March 2014

International Education Agents arrive to tour Tasmania's schools


Tas Gov LogoDepartment of Education Media Release



Colin Pettit
Secretary, Department of Education
 
28 March 2014




Ten international education agents today arrived in the state to tour 16 Tasmanian schools and colleges, and discover more about the opportunities available for international students.

Department of Education Secretary, Colin Pettit, said the tour of the Tasmanian school sector from 28 March to 5 April followed on from another agent tour of the higher education sector that finished yesterday.

“Tasmania is the perfect place for international students to study as our schools provide a world-class education within a safe and inclusive community,” Mr Pettit said.

“Familiarisation tours are a great opportunity to showcase the educational opportunities the state can offer with this tour attracting agents from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and Germany.”

Study Tasmania has been conducting familiarisation tours for international education agents since it was established in 2010 to grow the international education sector and provide support to international students studying in Tasmania.

Mr Pettit said having international education students in our schools provided many benefits to the school sector beyond international students paying full fees for their education.

“International students help enhance the cultural diversity of our schools as well as giving other students insight into other cultures and a better understanding of international issues,” he said.

For more information about Study Tasmania, visit www.studytasmania.tas.gov.au

Tasmanian Teachers Receive National Teaching Awards


Tas Gov LogoDepartment of Education Media Release



Colin Pettit
Secretary, Department of Education
 
28 March 2014



Two Tasmanian Government school teachers have received national awards in the Australian Scholarships Group’s (ASG) National Excellence in Teaching Awards at a ceremony in Melbourne today.

Jane Brooks from Ogilvie High School and Bobby Pedersen from Taroona Primary School join ten other teachers from across Australia, chosen from over 1550 nominations in 2013.

Department of Education Secretary Colin Pettit today congratulated Jane and Bobby for their outstanding contribution to teaching in Tasmania.

“Both teachers were nominated by their School Association and parents of students at their schools.

“Jane is Ogilvie High School’s Sports Coordinator and a Health and Physical Education teacher, organising around 200 different teams each year across 20 sports involving more than 400 girls. 

“The School Association nominated Jane for giving her students confidence and belief in themselves, and encouraging students to make a lifelong commitment to their own health and physical activity.

“Bobby was nominated by parents at Taroona Primary School, in appreciation of the great results she has achieved with their children, helping to grow their confidence and abilities.

“She is a committed teacher, involved in a wide range of activities across the school community, and has also introduced the latest technology into her classroom, helping to mentor other teachers in these new teaching tools.”

Another Ogilvie High School teacher, Susan Bowler, has also recently been awarded with the Science Teachers’ Association of Tasmania’s Winifred Curtis Medal for Excellence in Science Education.

“This medal is awarded for science educators who demonstrate a longstanding commitment to science education, and Susan is a great example of this, inspiring her students every day in this important area of the curriculum.

“The Department is very proud of the achievements of these wonderful teachers, and their commitment and hard work in their respective school communities.

“We value their contribution to high quality education in Tasmania, along with all of our teachers, and thank them for their hard work.”

For more information on the 12 National Award recipients, including full profiles, go to: www.asg.com.au/2013-National-Award-Recipients 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Fairview Primary School set to benefit from new Kindergarten facilities


Tas Gov LogoDepartment of Education Media Release




 
21 March 2014



Fairview Primary School is set to benefit from brand new kindergarten facilities on site, following the project gaining support from the School Association this week.

Currently the school’s kindergarten facilities are located off-site, and the $800,000 project means that the school community will not only benefit from improved facilities but also the convenience of a kindergarten at their local school.

Fairview Primary School Principal Sonya Plunkett-Smith said that the school was looking forward to being able to have its kindergarten students join the rest of the school on site from 2015.

“Having kindergarten facilities at the school will mean that staff, students and their families will feel much more connected and a part of the school community from the time they start their formal education.

“We are also very fortunate to benefit from brand new facilities, which will of course mean a first-class learning experience for our students.”

The Tasmanian Government’s successful Launching into Learning program, which is run in every Tasmanian Government school, aims to connect children and their families with their local school before they start kindergarten.

“Having kindergarten facilities at the school will also mean that those children attending our LiL program will be able to remain in this familiar school environment as they progress onto kindergarten and through to primary school, with results of this program showing this is of huge benefit to a child’s performance and attendance in later school years.”

The school’s current off-site kindergarten will be closed and the site put on the market as part of the upgrade.

“The School Association whole heartedly supports the move to brand new facilities on site at Fairview Primary, as it will stand to benefit our children and their families in the long term.”

Proceeds from the sale of the vacant kindergarten site will be retained by the Department of Education, and used as the major funding source for the new facilities at Fairview.  Any additional funding required for the project will be funded directly by the Department.

Construction is likely to commence mid-year, and be ready in time for the 2015 school year.

Howrah Primary School set to benefit from new Kindergarten facilities


Tas Gov LogoDepartment of Education Media Release




 
 
21 March 2014



Howrah Primary School is set to benefit from a kindergarten redevelopment following the project gaining support from the School Association this week.

Currently one of the school’s kindergarten facilities is located off-site, and the $1.3 million project means that the school community will not only benefit from improved facilities, but also the convenience and security of having all kindergartens located at their local school.

Howrah Primary School Principal Shelley Thorne said that the school was looking forward to being able to have all its kindergarten students on-site from 2015.

“Having all kindergarten facilities on the one site will mean that staff, students and their families will feel much more connected and a part of the school community from the time they start their formal education.

“We are also very fortunate to benefit from a combination of refurbished and new facilities, which will of course mean a first-class learning experience for our students.”

The Tasmanian Government’s successful Launching into Learning program, which is run in every Tasmanian Government school, aims to connect children and their families with their local school before they start kindergarten.

“Having all kindergarten facilities at the school will also mean that those children attending our LiL program will be able to remain in this familiar school environment as they progress onto kindergarten and through to primary school, with results of this program showing this is of huge benefit to a child’s performance and attendance in later school years.”

The school’s current off-site kindergarten, Beachside Kindergarten at Bellerive, will be closed and the site put on the market as part of the upgrade.

“Although Beachside Kindergarten has been a part of the community for a long time, the facilities are ageing and would soon require significant maintenance investment.

“The School Association whole heartedly supports the project at Howrah Primary, as it will stand to benefit our children and their families in the long term.”

Proceeds from the sale of the vacant kindergarten site will be retained by the Department of Education, and used as the major funding source for the new facilities at Howrah.  Any additional funding required for the project will be funded directly by the Department.

Construction is likely to commence mid-year, and be ready in time for the 2015 school year.

Tasmanian students step up for National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence

Tas Gov LogoDepartment of Education Media Release



Colin Pettit
Secretary, Department of Education
21 March 2014



 
Students from Brooks High School, along with over 900,000 students from across Australia, have taken a stand against bullying as part of the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence.

Department of Education Secretary Colin Pettit has congratulated all Tasmanian schools who took part in the National Day of Action and commended the work being done in all schools to provide a safe and supportive school environment.

“We all need to send a message that bullying and violence, in or outside of school is not okay - at any time.

“The promotion of these important messages shows how critical it can be to take a stand and do something positive, be supportive and communicate that bullying and violent behaviour is not appropriate or acceptable.”

Student leaders from Brooks High School were at the local Mowbray Market Place interacting with community members and having conversations about the school’s focus on deterring bullying and violence.

Brooks High School Principal Shireen Thomas said that the day was a great opportunity to raise community awareness of the impact of bullying.

“It is not just up to schools to tackle bullying, it is up to all of us.

“Our students were really keen to help build an understanding that this is a community issue, as well as raise awareness of our school’s focus and the actions we take every day to support students to take positive action.

“They handed out flyers and wrist bands that promote awareness of the cause, and two of our senior students also took photos of members of the public against a screen with messages about no violence and bullying written on it.

“These photos will be used as part of a public exhibition.  As a school  all students also watched the documentary ‘Bully’, and each student has been given a wrist band displaying the important anti-bullying message.”

Government schools across Tasmania already have excellent strategies in place for addressing bullying and supporting positive behaviour.

“All schools also have in place resources that help teachers and parents tackle bullying and support their work to create safe, respectful school environments,” Mr Pettit said.

As part of the Education Department’s Respectful Schools and Workplaces Framework, schools are supported with resources such as the Respectful Schools Support Team and the Respectful Schools Respectful Behaviour resource.

Mr Pettit also encouraged parents and carers to attend upcoming community forums on aggression and bullying, including cyber bullying, among young people with internationally-renowned health educator, Professor Donna Cross from the School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science at Edith Cowan University.

“Professor Cross is visiting the state from 20–23 May to conduct workshops for principals and teachers in the three Learning Services regions as well as three regional community forums for parents and carers.

“These forums are designed to help parents better understand the research that has been done on aggression and bullying and how they can contribute to safer, more respectful behaviour.

“Parents interested in attending should talk to their child’s school principal.”

For more information and a list of schools participating in today’s National Day of Action, visit http://bullyingnoway.gov.au/national-day/about/participating-schools.html

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

National Ride to School Day

Tas Gov LogoDepartment of Education Media Release



Liz Banks
Deputy Secretary, Department of Education
 
19 March 2014



School students from across Tasmania today participated in active transport activities and events including riding, walking, scooting and skating as part of National Ride2School Day.

Department of Education Deputy Secretary, Liz Banks, said the national day provides an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of students being active as part of their school day transport.

“Even if it isn’t possible to walk or ride the whole way to school, including some regular active transport into those journeys can help support student health and wellbeing,” Ms Banks said.

St Leonards Primary School is one of several schools encouraging students to use active transport as part of their school day.

St Leonards Primary School Principal, Louise Fisher, said the school recently started a ‘cycling bus’ where a group of students ride to and from school together, while being supervised by parents and teachers.

“The group rides every Wednesday and is a fun and enriching way for the students to travel,” she said.

“As well as being active, the students are learning the cycling and traffic skills they need to stay safe on the roads.

“The local community has also been very positive about the cycling group and have commented on how enjoyable it is to see the students riding together.”

For more information about National Ride2School Day, visit www.bv.com.au/general/ride2school/

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Northern Tasmania’s top literacy and numeracy students honoured

Tas Gov LogoDepartment of Education Media Release



Colin Pettit
Secretary, Department of Education
 
25 March 2014



Northern Tasmanian students who have excelled in literacy and numeracy have been recognised at a ceremony in Launceston today.
Department of Education Secretary, Colin Pettit, today congratulated students who were presented with certificates as the top performing Northern students in the 2013 NAPLAN tests. 

“82 students from Grades 3, 5, 7 and 9 in 51 Northern Tasmanian schools received awards,” Mr Pettit said.

“54 students were awarded certificates for being in the top one per cent of students state-wide in the 2013 literacy and numeracy monitoring tests and a further 52 students were awarded certificates for being top of their school in NAPLAN testing.

“27 of these students received two awards for being both in the top one per cent state-wide and the top student in their school.

“Strong literacy and numeracy skills are the building blocks for all learning and provide a strong foundation for future success.

“Improving our literacy and numeracy rates is a key priority for the State Government and the 2013 NAPLAN results showed that Tasmanian students have consolidated their progress in the number of students achieving national minimum standards.

“Over the last two years there has been an enormous effort at a system and school level to improve the literacy and numeracy outcomes of Tasmanian students and results show those efforts are making a difference.

“While there is still work to do in this area, today’s event is a chance to

publicly recognise the achievements of students who are already excelling in literacy and numeracy.

“I’d like to congratulate them all for their outstanding results.

“Teachers and school leaders also deserve credit for these results and I’d like to thank them for their commitment and dedication in helping students to reach their full potential,” Mr Pettit said.
 
The awards ceremony, now in its seventh year, was held at Ravenswood Primary School.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Tasmanian schools moving to nationally consistent disability approach



Department of Education Media Release



Colin Pettit

Secretary, Department of Education
Thursday, 7 November 2013




In December 2012, Tasmania, along with all other states and territories, agreed to implement a nationally consistent approach to identifying and funding students with disability in 2015.

The Secretary of the Department of Education, Colin Pettit, said that as part of the transition, Tasmanian government schools will receive almost $16 million in additional funding in 2014.

“This includes $3 million to help schools support students with disability under the Respectful Schools Model and $12.9 million to support the learning needs of all students under Fairer Funding (Better Schools) model,” Mr Pettit said.

In 2014, the department will provide:

  • Direct funding support to meet the individual learning needs of students with an IQ score between 55 and 70.
  • Support to all students including those previously assisted through High and Additional Needs (HAN) funding through the Fairer Funding Model. All schools have been notified they will receive a minimum of a 5% increase to their School’s Resource Package (SRP).
  • Extra specialist services in each Learning Service, via a Student with Need Support Team (made up of a School Psychologist specialising in student behaviour, a Behavioural Teacher Specialist and an Inclusive Learning Leader).
  • An extra three school psychologists in Tasmania, taking the number to 59.
  • Schools who do not have an enrolled Severe Disability Register (SDR) student will receive a minimum of 0.2 FTE support teacher allocation. Professional learning will be available to develop skills and knowledge to build expertise in all schools addressing both student need and managing behaviour.

Mr Pettit said information about the nationally consistent collection of data on school students with disability has been made available to parents through every school since July 2013.

“The department also undertook community consultation on the Respectful Schools Model receiving much positive feedback from teachers and parents,” he said.

“Concerns about reallocating High and Additional Needs funding to support students with an IQ between 55 and 70 were addressed by ensuring that every school will receive a minimum five per cent increase in its School Resource Package to meet the needs of all schools and students.

“This is a significant increase in the funding schools receive, helping them to better address all aspects of providing education for students with disability.

“There is much to be gained from moving to a nationally consistent approach to identifying and funding students with disability, and ensuring that Tasmanian students with disability have the opportunity to benefit from that approach.

“Quality education is based on the principles of acceptance and inclusion of all students. The achievement of successful outcomes for every student is supported through high-quality teaching and learning within the Australian Curriculum.”

Friday, 25 October 2013

Internationally-renowned education expert helps maximise leadership for change


logo

Department of Education Media Release

25 October 2013


Colin Pettit
Secretary, Department of Education




On World Teachers Day, the Secretary of the Department of Education, Colin Pettit, acknowledged the leadership being shown by principals, teachers and other staff to make the department a learning organisation that is service-oriented towards students and the Tasmanian community.

Speaking at the Department of Education’s Leadership Symposium Mr Pettit thanked keynote speaker internationally-renowned educator Professor Michael Fullan for his contribution to the work being undertaken to maximise education leadership in the state.

Photo of Professor Michael Fullan with Tasmanian principals. From left to right: Shelley Thorne from Howrah Primary, Cathy Young from Montagu Bay Primary, Professor Michael Fullan and Duncan Groves from Richmond Primary.
“Our leaders are dedicated to ensuring that all Tasmanian learners are successful learners with the right to participate in challenging and engaging learning opportunities.

“We are committed to excellence and equitable access to learning, and achieving this by working collaboratively with learners and their communities.

“The department has been working with Professor Fullan on leadership strategies and key drivers around raising the bar and closing the gap, engaging all schools and jurisdictions, and providing clear strategies that become jointly owned by schools and communities.

“There is much we can learn from Michael’s experience in taking Ontario’s schools from a troubled state to being one of the best school systems in the English-speaking world and the many awarding winning books he has written about education change and leadership,” Mr Pettit said.

Professor Michael Fullan said he had been working with the department to build the capacity of schools and establish the framework for empowering schools.

“During the past two days, I’ve been able to update the department on the latest ideas from the work I’ve been doing in partnership with schools and school systems around the world and hear first-hand how reforms are going on the ground in schools here,” Professor Fullan said.

“Tasmania is now at the point where the direction and basis for reform has been established with the Learners First Strategy 2014-17, the Respectful Schools Program and the department’s Professional Learning Institute.

“My key message to school leaders is you now have all tools you need, it’s time to go for it and make things happen.”

Michael Fullan, OC (Order of Canada) is the former Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. From 2004-2013, Michael Fullan served as Special Adviser in Education to the Premier of Ontario.

Recognised as a worldwide authority on educational reform, Michael advises policymakers and local leaders around the world in helping to achieve the moral purpose of all children learning.  He is a prolific, award-winning author on education change and leadership.


Communications Services Unit on 6233 4665


Monday, 8 July 2013

Public Vocation and Education Training reforms complete



Department of Education Media Release



Colin Pettit

Secretary, Department of Education
5 July 2013




The Steering Committee tasked with implementing the recommendations of the Simmons Report met for the final time last week, ahead of the introduction of TasTAFE on 1 July.

Colin Pettit, Secretary of the Department of Education and Chair of the Steering Committee said 12 months ago the Government had received a comprehensive report into the future of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Tasmania.

“Virginia Simmons’ report made 60 recommendations, of which 57 were supported by Government and have now been largely implemented.

“Obviously the most visible of these recommendations was the move to TasTAFE, which I am pleased to say, was implemented very smoothly this week.

“The conclusion of this process has been a major achievement for the VET sector in Tasmania and the many who contributed along the way,” he said.

“The critical contribution of over 150 volunteers, mainly from the VET sector and the extensive consultation process was the driving force to delivering a successful outcome,” he said.

Virginia Simmons, the consultant who delivered the initial report said she was impressed with the smooth way in which the working groups were established and the quality of their outputs.

“The number of staff participating in the transition process on a voluntary basis was impressive and by no short way has helped the Government deliver this project successfully.

Ms Simmons said the speed and clarity of the legislative change also played a large part in seeing this project delivered on time and with no major issues.

Mr Pettit took the opportunity to thank all Chairs and members of the various workgroups for their commitment to the successful establishment of TasTAFE.

“This has been a tremendous effort by all involved, many on a voluntary basis on top of their day to day work,” he said.

Mr Pettit also acknowledged the strength of the report by Virginia Simmons which provided a sound basis for the implementation of the Government’s response to the VET Review.

Divisor Change from 260 to 261



Department of Education Media Release



Andrew Finch

Deputy Secretary, Department of Education
Monday, 8 July 2013


 
Mr Finch, Deputy Secretary, Department of Education said the number of working days in a financial year varies very slightly from year to year, depending on the calendar.

“Despite this, as a direct provision of the Tasmanian State Service Industrial Awards, staff who are paid an annual salary will continue to receive the same annual salary regardless of the number of days worked according to the calendar for that year.

“Specific technical calculations are undertaken each year to ensure that the correct annual salary continues to be paid in accordance with the Award regardless of the specific number of working days,” he said.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Asbestos in Schools



Department of Education Media Release



Andrew Finch

Deputy Secretary, Department of Education
Sunday, 24 June 2013


Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education, Andrew Finch said staff and student safety was the number one priority and at no time was anyone at Port Dalrymple School at risk.

“The area was cordoned off immediately with activities moved to another area of the school.

“Work to remove the asbestos is taking place outside of school hours,” he said.

Mr Finch said that in January 2012, Johnstone McGee and Gandy Pty Ltd were engaged to prepare asbestos registers for all 430 sites under the control of DoE.

“All departmental sites have an Asbestos Register which is supported by detailed site plans identifying the locations of asbestos containing materials.

“A significant aspect of this project was also the removal of all high risk asbestos that has been identified through the audit.

“The Building the Education Revolution (BER) program also saw the removal of significant levels of asbestos from many school buildings, with a total expenditure of approximately $7 million on asbestos removal since 2010,” he said.
______________________________________________________
To all Parents & Carers
11 June 2013
 
Subject: Temporary closure of Prep-1/2 building
As many are aware, late on Friday afternoon we closed the Prep-1/2 building till further notice.  This was due to a safety concern raised by a contractor. It is not related to the classrooms, play areas or any spaces accessed by the students but to the roof space which is believed to contain some asbestos.

 
Following discussions with the Department of Education at the weekend, the 3/4 building roof space has also been checked and it was found to be safe and clear of suspect material.
Children in Prep Brophy, Prep Weeks, 1/2 Menzie and 1/2 Marshall have been asked to remain at home today and tomorrow as a precaution while this work was undertaken. Thank you to all parents and families for your understanding and willing support.

 
The roof space in Prep-1/2 will be cleaned and the building given safety clearance before children return to their classrooms.  Cleanup work will take place after hours and may take up to two weeks.  Classes will be relocated elsewhere in the school.

 
A security fence has been erected around this building so no students will have access to the area where work is being undertaken.

 
On a brighter note, while the roof space is being accessed we will install insulation to make these classrooms warmer and more energy efficient.

 
Again I extend my appreciation to families for your flexibility and support. 
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Sincerely

 
Philip Challis
Principal