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March 4, 2015

2014 school-average NAPLAN results

The average 2014 NAPLAN scores for schools will be updated on the My School website tomorrow. Council urges parents to read these school-level averages with caution. A school's performance is not defined by the results of one test on one day which focuses on parts of the curriculum. We urge parents to discuss with their school any concerns they might have, but not to put too much emphasis on an individual number like a school-averaged NAPLAN score.

NAPLAN league tables

It’s that time of year again! With the release of school NAPLAN results, Council expects The Canberra Times to again publish school league tables based on this one measure. Council strongly opposes this practice as it is misleading and potentially demoralising for some schools. A NAPLAN score only shows where students are now, not how far they have come, so a school's good work with disadvantaged students is hidden.

You can help us end this misleading practice by writing to The Canberra Times to complain. We have compiled a short guide to help you write your letter. There is more detail about the problems with league tables, and why they are invalid, in this article, prepared for our upcoming ParentACTion magazine.

Workshops to help you with your P&C role

Council's annual workshops to help P&C office bearers are on again. Contact our office to RSVP for any of these (More details here on all the workshops).

Effective P&C workshop Thursday March 19 at 6:30pm (Centre for Teaching and Learning, Stirling) and repeated Saturday March 21 at 2pm (100 Maitland St Hackett)
Covering ways to improve how your association works, recruiting volunteers, fundraising and the P&C as an employer, this workshop is for new P&C members and continuing officers alike. The workshop is divided into five 30-minute modules, and you can attend for individual modules if you wish.

Treasurers' workshop Thursday March 26 at 7pm, Centre for Teaching and Learning, Stirling.
Information on P&C finances, record keeping, annual reporting, audits, insurance, handling monies, affiliation fees, taxation, staff employment, fund-raising, reporting by sub-committees and more. 

Insurance workshop Tuesday March 31 at 7pm, Centre for Teaching and Learning, Stirling.
This workshop looks at the insurance package available for P&C associations through Council and how to complete the paperwork. We recommend all treasurers and presidents attend.

Food and drink policy

Last week, the ACT Government released a new Public School Food and Drink Policy which builds on the work already done, especially in canteens, to remove unhealthy food choices from schools. Schools will now need to apply national canteen guidelines (with the red-amber-green considerations) to all events and activities (with two exempt events allowed per term), consider students with food intolerances or religious/cultural food practices and refrain from using food as a reward.

The Directorate has put together an extensive set of information sheets for schools and parents on the topic. Council will be sending a full set of these to all P&Cs in the next week.

School canteen subcommittee

Council's School Canteen Subcommittee will meet on March 17, at 7pm (at 100 Maitland St Hackett) to discuss issues of interest to those running school canteens. This is a great chance to exchange ideas and benefit from the expertise of others. Everyone is welcome to join this group. Contact the office for more information.

Preschool enrolments

Following concerns raised at Council meetings about the preschool enrolment process for schools which have multiple preschool campuses, Council has taken up the issue with the education directorate and Minister. We are pleased to report that the online enrolment form has been reviewed and will be changed for 2016 enrolments to allow families greater opportunity to indicate their preferred preschool campus.

Stay in touch: join us on Facebook and Twitter

Council has now hit 100 followers on both Facebook and Twitter!  Make sure you join us to stay informed about changes in education, our activities, and other matters which affect schools. It is also your chance to have your say, so join us now by using the links at the end of this bulletin.

Light rail young designers competition

The Australian Institute of Architects, in collaboration with the Capital Metro Agency, is running a design competition on April 7 and 8. Students in year 9 and 10 are invited to take part in a team-based design ideas workshop and competition for Canberra’s light rail of the future. There will be prizes for the best light rail stop design, best connection with neighbourhood facilities, and most innovative idea. Registration closes March 16.

Pass it on!

We strive to provide information of interest to all school parents in the Council Communicator. If you think any of the items above are of interest to parents at your school, please pass them on via your school newsletter or whatever other means you wish. We would be grateful if you would share our caution on school NAPLAN results and league tables in particular.

We now have a template document (for you to customise) to make it easier to cut and paste items to submit to your school newsletter under the P&C Council banner if you wish.
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