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.