Message from School Council
Wednesday 17 June meeting summary, Justin, School Councilor
On a wintry evening in mid June, the School Councillors met for a couple of hours in the convivial setting of the Royal Mail Hotel to discuss the current challenges and future directions of our School.
In lively discussion between Sally, Staff and the Councillors, three key themes emerged from the two-hour discussion – enrolment pressures, resource constraints and engagement.
The growth in the student enrolments, at 104 for Prep this year, is slowly being accommodated by a number of initiatives. The new two storey portable classrooms the “Com” has alleviated the immediate pressure, but further long term steps need to be taken.
A letter to the Minister for Education from the School Council is seeking to reduce the local neighbourhood zone, or catchment area, by redirecting the families living in Carlton, CBD or Docklands to the Carlton Primary School. There is a precedent with a similar rezoning for Mt Alexander College and University High two years ago. This would decrease student numbers by approximately 65 students. The letter to the Minister will also seek to set an enrolment cut off date at the beginning of the year.
Demand is also expected to decrease with the State Government’s promise of new primary school for Docklands or South Melbourne by 2018 – the year of the State Government’s next election.
A proposed conversion of the library into a flexible learning space ‘The Flex” is seeking to maximise the use of our resources. This will shift the library to the lower level of the “Com” for a more accessible shared work area. The addition of the “The Flex” will provide a learning space for year 3 students. The reconfiguration of these spaces will promote collaboration between classes in “The Flex” and extend library-based learning in a more adaptable library resource in the lower level of the “Com”.
The under-utilisation of parts of the playground, specifically the asphalt surface bounded by the gym and classrooms, is a concern in an increasing crowded playground. The proposed resurfacing of this area with a more child friendly turf will draw students away from the overcrowded areas and disperse students more evenly across the playground.
A stronger culture of engagement with the school community and broader community may provide opportunities to lobby for greater resources and strengthen the sense of pride in our School.
Activities are planned in the coming months for the broader school community. A ‘Super School Rumble Restoration Renovation Day’ is planned for later in the year by the Grounds and Facilities Committee in the year to bring together student families to improve our School’s facilities. An Arts and Music Festival is planned for later in the year by the Parents and Friends Group.
A public forum for the local community was proposed to highlight the enrolment pressures facing our School. The forum may be timed with any upcoming elections to invite local candidates and target pre-school parents in the local area
A new framework was proposed to strengthen parent teacher engagement and improve learning outcomes for our students. This parent teacher partnership model has been trialled in other primary schools and may prove to be of benefit to our School.
Beyond these three themes, the reports from the Principal and the Biz-E-Kids, Buildings and Grounds, Parents and Friends, Education and Finance Committees updated the Council on a range of issues including:
- The unmet demand for the Biz-E-Kids Holiday Program
- The relocation of the cubby to a sunnier area in the playground
- The entry of 180 students into the Australian Maths Competition
- The student led parent teacher conferences conducted in June
- Training opportunities for School Councillors provided by the Department of Education
- The requirement of half of parents voting to confirm any changes to the current school uniform policy
- The purchase of new furniture for the staff room.
The next meeting of the School Council will be held on 19 August at the School.
Parents are welcome to approach any of the School Councillors to discuss any issues and are welcome to attend any of the Committee meetings.