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


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.

Philip Challis

Friday, 14 June 2013

Parents urged to nominate great teachers

Department of Education Media Release

Colin Pettit

Secretary, Department of Education
Friday, 14 June 2013

Parents have the opportunity to nominate a teacher or principal who they believe has demonstrated excellence in their work as part of a Department of Education awards program. 

Department of Education Secretary, Colin Pettit, said both primary and secondary school educators could be nominated for Teacher and Principal of the Year awards in the 2013 RBF Department of Education Awards Program.

“Parents and other members of the community who volunteer in schools are also eligible for nomination in the Volunteer of the Year category,” Mr Pettit said.

“The awards, sponsored by the Retirement Benefits Fund, aim to recognise and reward staff who are demonstrating excellence in their work.

“I continue to be impressed by the talented and dedicated people who make up the Department - in our schools, in further education and training, in our Library and Information Network Centres (LINCs) and in the corporate services team.

“Recognising excellence is important, not only because it rewards people for their hard work, but also because it provides an opportunity to share information and improve the skills of people in other roles which ultimately leads to improved learning outcomes for students.

“I’d encourage members of the public and staff within the Department to consider nominating someone for an award,” Mr Pettit said.

Award categories include Teacher and Principal of the Year in both primary and secondary school categories, Leader of the Year in Further Education and Training, LINC Staff Member of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. A full list of award categories is available at:

Nominations for the awards are now open and close on Friday July 26.

Nominations are open to all staff who have been an employee of the Department of Education for at least 12 months.

Finalists in all award categories will be invited to attend a state-wide recognition ceremony where award winners will be announced.

For more information about the awards and the nomination process visit the RBF Department of Education Awards page at

Friday, 7 June 2013

Occupancy Rates/Infrastructure

Department of Education Media Release

Andrew Finch

Deputy Secretary, Department of Education
7 June 2013

Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education, Andrew Finch said the department works in partnership with schools to monitor occupancy rates.

“Recognising that schools have the capacity to be flexible in the way they use their facilities, we ensure any occupancy issues are considered before they impact on learning programs.

“For example, Waimea Heights Primary School was one of 3 schools to share in $2.5 million for capital works in the 2013/14 Budget to increase capacity.

“Addressing space in schools is only 1 of 7 criteria considered when seeking funding under the Capital Investment Program.

“As well as the Capital Investment Program, many other schools have recently received capital works funding under the Federal Government’s Building Education Revolution Program, which included projects to address occupancy issues.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

School Farm Audit

Department of Education Media Release

Andrew Finch

Deputy Secretary, Department of Education
       Wednesday 5 June 2013

The Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education, Andrew Finch said the Department was not proposing to change funding arrangements of school farms.
“The Department has recently undertaken an assessment of all school farms through a school farm audit.
“Audits of departmental functions are conducted on a rotational basis as part of normal business,” he said.
Mr Finch said findings of the audit were recently covered at the School Farms and School Land Use Forum held in Launceston on 17 May 2013.
“This forum was the first step in a consultation process with all relevant schools.
“The audit addresses issues such as financial and risk management of farms as well as improving learning opportunities.
“Further consultation will occur with schools during 2013.
“The aim of the exercise is to work towards best practice management arrangements around school farms. This will assist in maximising educational outcomes for students under the framework of school autonomy and school community collaboration,” he said.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Infrastructure Funding

Department of Education Media Release

Andrew Finch

Deputy Secretary, Department of Education
           Friday, 24 May 2013

Mr Finch, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education said under the Building Better Schools Policy, schools were encouraged to work with their school communities to determine priorities for redevelopment projects.
“Schools were invited to submit for funding as part of the Capital Investment Program and the schools announced as part of the 2013-2014 Budget were assessed as high priority projects.

The work that is due to take place includes:

·        $9.3 m - Brooks High School for major redevelopment of general learning areas throughout the entire school.

·        $2.15m – Kings Meadows High School for redevelopment of learning areas.

·        $850,000 - Devonport High School for the provision of toilet, change room and teacher facilities for the gym.

Primary industry careers

Department of Education Media Release

Liz Banks

Deputy Secretary, Department of Education
Friday, 24 May 2013

There are a number of initiatives in schools that promote awareness of careers in primary industries, Department of Education Deputy Secretary, Liz Banks, said today.

 “The Department’s Guaranteeing Futures teams in each region organise activities for secondary students, undertake professional learning and link with outside agencies to promote awareness of careers in a range of areas including the primary industry sector,” Ms Banks said.

 “The Taste of the Polytechnic (TOP) program and Try-a-Skill events, which provide applied vocational taster programs for secondary school students, also include a focus on primary industries.

 “Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses that can lead to career opportunities in primary industries are available to students in Years 11 and 12 (and in some instances to students in Years 9 and 10).

 “These include courses in Horticulture, Rural Operations, Agriculture, Food Processing and Animal Studies,” Ms Banks said.   


Department of Education Media Release

Andrew Finch

Deputy Secretary, Department of Education
       Friday, 24 May 2013

Mr Finch, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education said the $83 million announced in the 2013-14 State Budget represents a very strong commitment to the implementation of the Gonski reforms in Tasmania.

The Budget Papers do not contain an allocation of these funds between schools because the final model is still being negotiated and specific allocations are yet to be determined.

School suspension rates

Department of Education Media Release

Liz Banks

Deputy Secretary, Department of Education
               Friday, 24 May 2013

In 2011, the number of recorded suspensions was 3,151 students from a population of approximately 55,500.  This represents 5.7% of all students from F-12 in Tasmania.

School Transition Fund

Department of Education Media Release

Andrew Finch

Deputy Secretary, Department of Education
  Friday, 24 May 2013

Mr Finch, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education said the 2012-13 budget had an allocation of $3.5 million over 2 years for the School Transition Fund.

“In his statement on 20 May, Minister McKim allocated $900,000 for the Future Provisions of Years 11 and 12 in regional Tasmania. 

“As part of this $600,000 was made available from the School Transition Fund for schools to develop years 11 and 12 facilities and infrastructure,” he said.

Consequently the revised allocation for the School Transition Fund is $2.9 million as shown in Table 3.6 in education chapter in budget papers.

Heating in schools

Department of Education Media Release

Andrew Finch

Deputy Secretary, Department of Education
      Friday, 24 May 2013

The level of heating in schools is an individual school decision, Department of Education Deputy Secretary, Andrew Finch, said today.

 Schools are funded to cover their power consumption as part of the funding allocation they receive from the Department for the day to day running of their school, Mr Finch said.
Any new school buildings and redevelopments of schools generally have sustainable heating installed.
Under the State Government’s $1 million Sustainability Initiatives Program, schools and colleges were able to apply for funding to help them become more environmentally sustainable and save on their energy bills.
Projects funded included heating efficiency improvements in schools,Mr Finch said.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

School farms

Department of Education Media Release

Andrew Finch

Deputy Secretary, Department of Education
Thursday, 23 May 2013

Education Deputy Secretary Andrew Finch confirmed today that there had been a meeting with school principals involved with school farms last Friday.
"Discussions centred on best practice management arrangements for school farms and how best to maximise educational outcomes for students," he said.


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Meetings with principals

   Department of Education Media Release

22 May 2013

                                  Deputy Secretary Department of Education


Principal forums will be held next week with senior Department of Education officials, Department of Education Deputy Secretary, Liz Banks, said today.

“This is part of a regular schedule of meetings,” Ms Banks said.

“Included in the agenda for consultation with principals will be school home-area administrative procedures,” she said.


Monday, 20 May 2013

Activities around Tasmania for Library and Information Week

      Department of Education Media Release

20 May 2013

                                                                                                                                                     Director, LINC Tasmania

National Simultaneous Storytime and behind the scenes tours of the Hobart LINC are among the activities being offered as part of Library and Information Week .
LINC Tasmania Director, Jenny Rayner, said a number of events had been organised at local LINCs for the week, which begins today.
“The week is organised by the Australian Library and Information Association and promotes the value of reading and literacy, the importance of Australia’s book industry and the role of libraries,” Ms Rayner said.
“This year’s theme is Share Your Story.
“At 11am on Wednesday May 22, 26 Tasmanian LINCs will participate in National Simultaneous Storytime.

“Staff in libraries, schools and childcare centres across Tasmania will read the same book at the same time to children. In Tasmania guest readers include local author Katherine Scholes, actor John X and adventurer Rob Pennicott,” Ms Rayner said.
As part of the week LINC Tasmania is sharing via Historypin the story of its 91 Murray St building which was recently heritage listed. Historypin, an online interactive tool which is linked with Google Maps, allows people to view and share historical photographs, videos, audio and their personal recollections about places.
“LINCs, libraries and Online Access Centres across the state are offering information and training sessions about Historypin for people to add their photos and stories about their local communities,” Ms Rayner said.
“A range of tours are also being offered at 91 Murray St including behind the scenes tours of the stacks and an insight into how collections are digitised and both original records and convict records are stored.
“There is also a rare opportunity to visit the repository at Berriedale which holds more than 18 kilometres of Tasmanian records.

“LINCs in other selected locations around the State are also offering guided tours of their services. 

“LINC Tasmania offers a broad range of library and information services in over 60 locations across the state.  We are delighted to be offering a diverse range of activities for Library and Information Week and invite all Tasmanians to come and explore what is on offer at their local LINC,” Ms Rayner said.
More information about Library and Information Week is available at:

Friday, 17 May 2013

Facebook site

              Department of Education Media Release

17 May 2013

                                               Deputy Secretary Department of Education


Ms Banks, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education said it was always disappointing when an individual chooses to use social media in such a derogatory way.

“Unfortunately, the Education Department does not control content on such sites, and therefore the best way to discourage such activity is for it to be ignored rather than highlighted.”