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June 25, 2014

Nominate an excellent teacher

Nominations for the 2014 National Excellence in Teachings Awards are now open. The awards are an opportunity to formally thank hard-working, inspirational teachers and principals for the wonderful work they do with their students, in their schools and for their communities. Nominate an excellent teacher today! (Closes July 31.) 

Problem teachers and raising a complaint

Following discussion at our last Council meeting about the difficulties in dealing with the unfortunate situation of a problem teacher, we refer parents to our information on raising issues at school. Solutions are to talk either through the P&C or individually to the Principal. If the matter is not resolved, you can speak with the School Network Leader, or refer it to the Education and Training Directorate via their complaints resolution system or to Council in writing (Council can then pursue the matter with the Directorate or the Union as necessary). Such issues should be raised at the earliest stage. 

Sun protection

Council has had a number of questions about school sunsmart policies. To help clarify, here is the Directorate's Sun Protection Policy. If you believe that your school is not enforcing this policy, please let us know and we will raise it with the Directorate.

School Chaplaincy Program

Last week the High Court ruled that the Commonwealth funding of the National School Chaplaincy program was unconstitutional. Council supports the need for qualified mental health professionals in schools, rather than chaplains (read our press statement). The impact of the decision on ACT schools will depend on what action the Commonwealth Government now takes, but the ACT Education Directorate notes that school chaplains are an addition to other supports already in place in our schools, including access to psychologists, youth workers and health nurses. 

A full brief on this issue is being prepared by Council for the information of all P&Cs.

National Literacy and Numeracy Week: get involved

The Week will be held from August 25 to 31 and is all about celebrating learning with schools, students, parents and teachers. This year there is a focus on encouraging parents to get involved because positive parental engagement influences good student learning outcomes. Check the website for all the information and resources you need to participate in this year’s literacy and numeracy activities.

School bus changes: update

The new ACTION bus 'Network 14' was due to begin at the start of term three, including expected extensive changes to school bus routes. The roll-out of the new network has now been delayed. ACTION still do not have a start date, but they confirmed to Council that schools will be given at least four weeks notice of the changes (not including school holidays) so that school staff, students and parents have time to familiarise themselves with the new routes and times. ACTION have also undertaken to provide to schools detailed information on the specific changes affecting that school.

Children's Week: grants, awards and getting involved 

Children's Week will be celebrated nationally from 18 to 26 October 2014, with the theme being 'you have the right to speak and be heard.' The ACT Children's Week Committee is calling for: 
  • applications for small seeding grants of up to $200 to assist in funding an activity during the week (close August 8)
  • award nominations to recognise individuals, groups and organisations who have 'made a difference' for children and young people (close September 5)
  • activities being run during the week (close August 8). 
Interested? Visit the ACT Children’s Week website.

Help for parents

Council has put together a page of web resources for parents from information about schools and homework, to resources to help keep your kids well and safe, or help in a crisis. 

Learning languages: have your say

The Australian Council for Educational Research would like to know about your experiences with the study of languages in schools and why students study languages. The short survey will help inform recommendations to the Australian Department of Education about language study in Australian schools. The survey closes Sunday, 6 July.

Parent workshop: iPads to support students with learning difficulties

The Education Directorate is running a morning workshop on Wednesday July 2 to provide expert advice to parents of children with learning difficulties on the ways iPads can support them in their early years. The workshop will cover top iPad tips and Apps for literacy, other subjects and for supporting behaviour and organisational and social skills. Contact Julie Ireland by June 26 on 62072331 to attend.

Safe Schools Coalition

This new group was launched last week. Their website has a range of resources for schools, families and young people to help support gender diversity and sexual diversity.

Y20: youth voices

The Y20 Youth summit will be taking place in Sydney from July 12 to 15 as part of Australia's hosting of the G20. The Summit will involve 120 youth delegates from the G20 countries, voicing their concerns and ideas on the most pressing global challenges facing young people. Several debates will be interactive with live web streaming. Find out more here.
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